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ASU alumna brings her glowing artwork to Polytechnic Library

Brenda Edwards' art decorates the walls of the Polytechnic library until Jan. 1

Polytechnic library student

An ASU student studies under artwork by Brenda Edwards at the Polytechnic Library in Mesa, Arizona on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. 

Brenda Edwards, an ASU fine arts alumna, has been invited to show her art at the Polytechnic campus library.

The exhibition, entitled Magical Realism, will be shown until Jan. 1. 

Edwards uses her camera to capture images that she then paints using "extreme" colors. In other words, her inspiration comes through her lens.

“Much of my work is inspired by what I see walking by and the idea that the world is a work of art,” Edwards said. 

Most of her art is inspired by scenery all around her, she said, though some of her art takes a political stance. For example, Edwards’ painting of Bruce Springsteen, “I Believe in the Promise Land,” is a political statement aimed toward celebrities who have a platform to advocate and haven’t been using it.

Katherine Sullivan, the library information specialist for the Polytechnic campus, discovered Edwards’ artwork and invited her back to ASU after seeing her work at a Cave Creek Pita Jungle. 

Sullivan is responsible for choosing artwork to display in the library. She changes the art out three to four times a year and relies on local artists. Whether at local coffee shops, restaurants or the newspaper, Sullivan said she is always on the lookout for artwork to decorate the walls of the library. 

“Usually I try anyone local, and some people will give me leads,” Sullivan said. 

Edwards said going to art school at ASU was "inspirational."

“One of the biggest benefits of going to art school was being surrounded by people who were making art,” Edwards said. "You’re just exchanging ideas and enthusiasm and you don’t feel alone.”

After graduating in 1981, Edwards switched mediums and became active in the theater community. She said this was due to how lonely being an artist was at that time. Unlike today, she couldn’t share and talk about her art on social media.

“Artists are very versatile, and usually very multitalented too, so they find a way to survive, and the art will survive,” Edwards said. “I think the best thing that ASU did for me was to connect me with a lot of other artists."

Laura Dragon, the owner of {9} The Gallery, which has shown Edwards' work, said she believes everyone deserves the chance to explore their art, as well as present it to a public audience. She has collaborated with Edwards for four years.

"My entire business model has been to support, encourage and enrich local artist life," Dragon said. "Edwards' work is a very loose modern interpretation of the desert landscape. She goes a step beyond, and that's what makes her so important to me as a part of the community."

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