Freshman named best of show

As the Annual Juried Student Art Show continues its exhibition in the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries in the Liberal Arts building, The Shield spoke with best of show winner Bayley Graham about her piece “Shadow Nest.” As only a freshman, Graham spoke about her surprise win and her artistic process.

The Shield: Can you describe your piece and the background behind it?

Graham: Well, it’s ink. I was taking a drawing class, and we had to do a still life with ink. I decided to do a basket full of flowers because I’d never messed with ink before, and a whole bunch of flowers could help me expand. My teacher said she really liked it, and it kind of had a dark feeling behind it. She was actually the one who told me I should turn it into the art show.

The Shield: Could you ever have expected to get best of show with the piece?

Graham: I didn’t put my hopes up too high. I had a little expectation to get at least one piece in, and it was pretty awesome to actually get in. When I went to the art show, I didn’t think I could get best of show because there were so many amazing pieces in there. It’s amazing to get best of show as a freshman. That kind of helps me know that I’m going in the right step for my career in life. I was surprised. My family was with me, and we weren’t expecting it. When they said my name, some of them were like, “What? They just said your name,” and it was amazing.

The Shield: Since you’ve already achieved the highest honor at the show, what are your goals for the future?

Graham: My original goal was to at least get in the show once. I was joking with a friend, “What should be my next goal?” and she told me to try to get best of show. Then I did. I guess my new goal is to get into the show for the next three years. This definitely set a high bar. I’m very proud, and I feel like I do pretty decent for my age. I know I lack a lot in some areas and mediums, and I just hope I can expand and learn new things to develop my skills more.

The Shield: What does it feel like to you to create an art piece such as “Shadow Nest?”

Graham: In the beginning, it’s like a high. I’m excited to start a new piece and work with whatever medium. Through it, there’ll be frustrations, but I’ll get it done. Once I’m done, I’m so happy and relieved I was able to create the piece. With (Shadow Nest) I was really excited to work with ink. I learned some things about ink, as it’s more of a permanent medium. If I put something down I didn’t like, I had to figure out a way to hide it, but I was really happy with how it turned out.

The Shield: What do you hope to do with an art degree from the university?

Graham: At the moment, I want to be an art therapist. I didn’t necessarily just want to base my whole career on making art pieces and making money. I want to take it to that other level of helping others. Through art therapy, I could help people from small children to older, but also be doing something I enjoy.