Hannah Michelle Bussa
Exhibitions for 18 graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art (BASA) seniors at UNO open Monday, April 12 and close Friday, May 7.
In the Weber Fine Arts Building, eight BFA candidates will be featured in the UNO Art Gallery: Makayla Clark, Taylor Coons, Morgan Fields, Cheyenne Kavan, Rebecca McDermitt, Jada Messick, Peyton Pearson and Natori Pittman.
In the Criss Library, ten BASA candidates will be featured in the Osborne Family Gallery: Mae Anghay, Anjaana Baraily, Sam Fee, Samantha Hundt, Acacia Jackson, Una Novotny, Katie Pregon, Abigail Ticknor, Pin Vo and Shelby Zivny.
BASA Candidate Nhung (Pin) Vo was born in Vietnam. She began drawing when she was seven years old. She originally was an English Linguistics major at a university in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2015, she moved to Nebraska. She received an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design through Metropolitan Community College before transferring to UNO.
“My mom and dad are very supportive,” she said. “My dad was my first art teacher. Art is always my hobby. My major is art, but my concentration is Graphic Design.”
Pin said her experience at UNO has been good. Her art is a way for her to give her soul a rest. She said drawing is a form of meditation for her as she immerses herself in the brush strokes.
“Looking at my paintings, you might see fairy characters, a dreamy girl, benign flying beasts or a mysterious forest,” Pin said. “Just like the sky, there is no limit to creativity. I want to tell my mind’s stories through arts. When people see my paintings, I hope they will also turn into kids. They can be the protagonists of their mythological stories, allowing their soul to ‘fly.’”
After graduation, Pin plans to work as a graphic designer for a company and paint on the side. She also plans to take some more classes in photography and animation.
BFA candidate Peyton Pearson has also been interested in art since he was young. Until the end of his first year in college, he had always thought of art as a hobby and not a career.
“By then I was debating between a biology, psychology and creative writing major,” he said. “However, whenever I felt ready to commit to a career in research, I just didn’t think I would feel fulfilled in that career. So eventually I made the jump for a degree in art. I figured I would rather be broke and happy with my work than rich and working in a field that my heart isn’t in.”
Pearson started college at UNL but felt that the city of Omaha had more to offer. He said the UNO art program surprised him.
“The best part of being an art student here has easily been the professors,” he said. “I wouldn’t be anywhere near the artist I am now without the help of the professors around me. You have such a strong group of people here invested in your success who truly want to push you to be the best artist possible.”
Pearson’s first art class at UNO was a bookbinding class. He said this is when he thinks he began to fall in love with art.
“While at first, I felt odd about being placed into a bookbinding class, considering I was far more interested in digital work, my professors, peers and my art all made me realize that this art program was a home for me and that I belonged here,” He said.
BFA candidates will also be giving BFA Thesis Talks. Pearson said his show deals with feelings of grief and anxiety and how to be kind to parts of yourself.
“I’ll be talking through my process in making my art and how I have tried to use it to help people process trauma, to find comfort in our seemingly negative emotions and to heal despite feeling hurt,” he said. “I’ll be breaking down all the little components of my work like color, shape and texture and how I use those to make pieces that hopefully help people feel a little better.”
Pearson said those visiting the exhibition can expect lots of colors and a big emphasis on shape. He will have work on the walls, on the floors and in between.
“A big inspiration for me has been fiber artists like Harmony Hammond and Annie Albers,” Pearson said. “Fiber arts have been viewed as nothing more than ‘craft’ or ‘lesser art’ for far too long, and artists like Hammond have made a huge change in that. Artists like these inspire me to use threads, to take up space, to be loud and colorful despite the ways that fibers are looked down upon.”
After graduation, Pearson hopes to keep making art that makes him happy and share it with the rest of the world.
“I first learned how to knit at a public library from two old ladies when I was 17, so I really just hope I make those two proud wherever they are,” He said.
BFA Candidate Jada Messick said she has enjoyed creating art her whole life, but in the last four years, she has really started figuring out her style.
“My style is very abstract and can be overwhelming, but that is kind of the whole point for me is for the viewers to feel how I’m constantly feeling,” Messick said.
Messick said UNO has helped her to develop her painting mediums. Her art allows her to express herself.
“I have had both ups and downs in the art and design program, but I’m very grateful for the professors who have helped me develop my practice and friends who I will cherish forever,” Messick said.
She said her thesis talk is going to be about abstracting through emotions and internal energies. For the artwork on display, she was inspired by her present feelings and her intuitive thought process.
“My show is a little different than my usual intuitive work,” she said. “My thesis is about different experiences, traumas, love and a couple just focus on color and my own current state of feeling. I want viewers to have their own experience and feeling when taking in my art, even if it’s not the true idea behind the painting.”
After graduation, Messick hopes to get an art residency outside of Nebraska to continue creating while gaining new experiences.
Each artist’s gallery location can be found on the Facebook event page as well as the zoom links for the BFA Thesis Talks, which will be on April 21 and April 28.
The exhibitions and online thesis talks are free and open to the public.
Visitors can park in the West Parking Garage, Lot J, by using the Park Omaha App or the kiosks in the parking garage. Galleries are limited to 10 visitors at a time due to social distancing, and face covering are required on campus.