Art students get 'weird' at senior exhibition Tuesday

For art students, weirdness is celebrated through expression and honed through passion. “I Feel Weird” is an upcoming Bachelor of Fine Arts art show exhibiting the works of art students who explore themes of “subconsciousness, reflection, identity, insecurities and dreams,” according to a press release.

The show features art seniors Christine Beatty, Valerie Bullock, Ellie Craze, Nik Crawford, Molly Bridget Dean, Tovah Goldfine and Billy Rose. 

Drawing senior Ellie Craze said the seven art students were unfamiliar with one another prior to the show, but felt like they were connected through their art.

“The title of the show is ‘I Feel Weird,’ and when we formed the group we were kind of the outliers of everything,” she said. “We realized we were kind of the outsiders, but all of our art corresponded to each other.”

A photo posted by Ellie Craze (@smellycraze) on

The exhibit focuses on individual weirdness and how that is translated into art. 

“The point of the show is to explore how you embrace your weirdness and how you express it and make it your own,” Craze said.

Printmaking student Tovah Goldfine said she uses her art as a means of personal communication. 

“My art personally is more about self-portraiture and expressing things about myself that I wouldn’t be able to just say to somebody,” she said.

Goldfine said she draws her inspiration from the masks people wear in everyday situations. 

“A lot of my inspiration comes from ideas of emotions and how people on the surface aren’t exactly the same as they are inwardly toward themselves,” she said. “I think about how other people feel toward things such as love and death and relationships and joy, and I just feel like the difference between what is on the surface and what’s underneath is where I get a lot of my inspiration.”

Art senior Nik Crawford said he gathers inspiration from his family and his relationship with his stepson. 

"My work has been focusing around the strangeness I’m worried might be (between my stepson and I), and the strangeness that I don’t want to be there.”

His artwork revolves on communicating with his stepson, and he said he relays messages through his pieces as forms of fatherly advice. 

“I’ve set it up almost like advice, like these fatherly moments like, ‘Sit down son, and let me tell you about how things are,’” Crawford said. “And that’s kind of how I treated each piece, I tried focusing on each specific characteristic or trait or thing to avoid or life moment.”

Photography senior Christine Beatty said she is captivated by memories of youth and what nostalgia entails. 

“I focus on the concept of memory and nostalgia, and the way that traces back and kind of how it’s this kind of existence, in a way, that you keep within yourself,” she said. “It’s about looking back and recalling something that happened and how it changes and becomes something new.”

Beatty said she focuses on expressing her memories, but also has a greater message in her work. 

“They’re self-portraits, and they all take place in my childhood room at my parent’s house and so I have photographs of that,” she said. “I’m also doing a couple of installation pieces and include things I did to the pieces, to make them more jewel-like and relic, and to emphasize the sacredness of memory but also how it decays.”

Fibers senior Valerie Bullock said her pieces focus on the concept of in-between states. 

“My work focuses on liminal spaces and what kind of imagery exists there and what imagery I can create to evoke that sort of feeling,” she said. “Everyone’s experienced a liminal space, like that feeling between your wakefulness and sleep dreams, it’s an in-between sort of state.”

A photo posted by Valerie Bullock (@churroro) on

Bullock said that in her process she draws upon spirituality and the supernatural. 

“Usually I’ll do some kind of meditation, or I have tarot cards and I’ll consult them, or I’ll just let ideas sink into me from my surroundings, and I’ll develop images that go with it, and I’ll figure out what goes together,” she said. 

Printmaking senior Billy Rose said he wants to show the art-making process that is often hidden to the casual art viewer. 

“I’m attracted to the idea of multiples, like things that are available in more than one exclusive form,” he said. “I realized the process is also hidden to the viewers, so a lot of what I make breaks down and shows the artwork as a piece of work that still might seem like it’s in progress to break the illusion of what you’re viewing, so that a viewer can kind of see the work and know that it comes from a specific point of view.”

Rose said he hopes each audience member to have their own meaning when looking at his art. 

“I think it’s good for people to think about what they’re viewing as something that’s been constructed for display,” he said. “To not necessarily find a two-dimensional message that an artist is presenting, but to hopefully use the art as a mode for different avenues for thinking.

Drawing senior Molly Bridget Dean said she finds inspiration for her artwork in nature and dreams.

“I’m really interested in our relationship with nature, and how dependent we are on nature,” she said. “I’m also really interested in reincarnation and memories that you shouldn’t have, and so I try to incorporate that into my art.”

Dean said her work focuses on animals that exist in an ambiguous space. 

“It’s animals in an abstract space and they’re isolated and looking at you, and in a kind of weird world,” she said. “I use a lot of ink washes for the background to give an idea that an animal that is kind of in nature but has ambiguous borders to it, and it looks like a cloud or a tunnel that’s in the back of your mind.”

We just finished making all these buttons to give away to you. Come to our senior exhibition and leave with more than just a headache!https://www.facebook.com/events/818074578297351/

Posted by Billy Rose on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dean said she wants her message to focus on being more in-tune with oneself and with the universe. 

“I think a lot of people, including myself, tend to be more material, and tend to cling onto material, and it affects us in negative ways and nature in negative ways,” she said. “I think it’s important to just be less material and focus more on your connection with nature and the universe.”

Related links:

Art students to explore sincerity of human experience in 'Sonder' exhibition

ASU students display work at exhibition, Phantasmagoria


Reach the reporter at ekong2@asu.edu or follow @ERINKONG1 on Twitter.

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