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Ink, tractors and lawn rollers make artwork

Art class creates prints inspired by foreign cultures

Each enormous print is inspired by a foreign culture of the artist’s choosing (Photograph by Ben Williams)

Each enormous print is inspired by a foreign culture of the artist’s choosing
(Photograph by Ben Williams)

By Emily Pawlowski | Echo

Lawn rollers and art are not known to have much in common. But this semester, the relief and serigraphy class found a way to make the two overlap.

Scattered throughout the student center and its surrounding lawn, art students spread ink and rolled over cardboard with large lawn rollers. They chatted with bystanders and directed volunteers on how to lift up the pieces, revealing intricate pictures stamped out on paper and fabric.

This was the colossal print project, the largest art piece students have done yet in the class.

“To do something kind of on that scale has a different type of magnitude than something that is on a smaller scale of a print,” said Laura Stevenson, assistant professor of art. “They took a lot of time and a lot of effort but I think the results were well worth it.”

Each piece was inspired by a country or culture students chose to study for the semester. Themes ranged from food to politics to foreign films.

Throughout the semester, students spent time learning about the history and background of their chosen topics. Depending on their themes, students read books, listened to speeches and watched movies.

Junior Ben Kiers, an illustration major, chose to focus on Russian culture, specifically its history of filmmaking. His piece was inspired by the Russian movie, “Man with a Movie Camera,” by Dziga Vertov.

“It was a really large print, 2 by 3 feet, so it was challenging because it took quite a bit of time,” Kiers said. “But it was enjoyable and I think I really enjoyed the movie, so I enjoyed sort of revisiting that while I worked on it.”

Junior Kelley Hershberger, a studio art major, focused on interracial adoption for the semester. Her piece depicted a black couple lying on a bed, holding a white baby aloft.

Hershberger wanted to challenge the controversy surrounding interracial adoption. She hoped her reversal of mainstream media’s idea of adoption would challenge viewers.

“If people thought it was weird, then I wanted them to be able to ask why,” Hershberger said. “Why is it weird? Shouldn’t it be normal; shouldn’t it be okay if it’s okay for adoptions to go the other way?”

This is the first year Stevenson has taught this class. She was inspired to base it around cultural studies after her own experiences travelling to China and creating art about the experience.

The prints can be viewed at the library’s galleria. A video of the printmaking process is available on the Taylor University Facebook page.

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