Art show uses books as inspiration

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Suzanne Smith explains her inspirations for her artwork. TAYLOR NYMAN

Suzanne Smith explains her inspirations for her artwork.
TAYLOR NYMAN

Reagan Johnson/Winonan

Graphic-design-turned-art student Suzanne Smith presented her senior art show last week. The exhibit, titled “Glimpse,” was on display in the Weber Gallery the entire week for open viewing.

A senior at Winona State University, Smith started as a graphic design major but changed her mind when she found it wasn’t for her.

“It turns out I don’t like computers that much,” Smith said.

She is currently double majoring in studio art and art education with a minor in music.

On Wednesday, Nov. 13, Smith held a talk in the gallery, surrounded by her work. With the room packed with Smith’s family, friends, art students and professors, Smith described the inspiration for her very first art show.

Smith said that after reading the novel “Life of Pi,” she was inspired to write a story that had been in her head for many years.

Her favorite book, “Howl’s Moving Castle,” originally inspired her story. Although she has not finished her story yet, she used excerpts from her writing to inspire her drawings. Each drawing hung next to the quote it was inspired by.

Smith said her story incorporates family, magic and time travel.

“Each drawing and installation was meant to give a feeling of what’s going on in the story. It’s not meant to be a retelling of the story,” Smith said. “It’s like looking through a book to simply see the pictures.”

Several viewers mentioned how cozy and home-like the room felt and they felt like they were really a part of the story.

Art professor Seho Park asked Smith why she didn’t choose to incorporate the text into her drawings. Smith said she didn’t want to take anything away from the images themselves.

Smith said she thought the story was what drove the images instead of the other way around.

The style of Smith’s drawings was inspired by printmaking, Smith said. Prior to working on her art show, Smith said she wasn’t fond of putting backgrounds in her pictures. Despite her dislike for creating them, she said this project pushed her to work on backgrounds in her pictures.

Smith mentioned that her most complex drawing took 15 hours to complete. She said her favorite way to draw is in her bed with a blanket over her legs. It’s just more comfortable that way, Smith said.

Smith’s exhibit displayed her pottery as well.

“It allowed me to show my drawing, ceramics and writing skills all in one exhibit,” Smith said.

Contact Reagan at RJJohnson12@winona.edu

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