Graduate art students use superhero theme for studios

Each student had his or her own trading card listing nicknames and superpowers.

by Brian Kushida

Wolverine, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk Ö Graduate Art Student?

They weren’t dressed in capes and tights, but graduate art students transformed into comic book characters Friday night as part of the superhero-themed Second Annual Open Studio at the Regis Center for Art.

Students opened their studio doors to show the public what kept them inside throughout the semester – their varying types of artwork.

The sounds of a performing “instrumental surf rock” band reverberated through the building as about 250 attendees walked from studio to studio to check out the students’ artwork.

Attendees collected superhero trading cards based on the 41 students along the way.

The cards listed the students’ superhero nicknames and “superpowers,” while the students explained how they harnessed their “powers” to create their paintings, sculptures and other forms of artwork.

The annual event helps University students, art fans and the outside community see inside the program and department of art student projects, said College of Liberal Arts External Relations Development Officer Ann Ulring, who helped coordinate the event.

“We feel like we’re the best-kept secret in town,” Ulring said.

Graduate sculpture student Stacey Holloway said she drew and designed the trading cards based on information submitted by the graduate students.

“Everybody was really happy to have their own card,” said Holloway, known as “Stitchy Stacey” on her trading card.

She said she plans to expand the set by creating cards for the entire art department, including the custodian working in the building.

Graduate ceramics student Lauren Herzak-Bauman said she likes to share her art with the public and talk about the meaning behind the work.

“A lot of people never get a chance to see what we do here,” said Herzak-Bauman, whose superhero counterpart, “Sili Kill,” is said to “shoot clay daggers from her eyes.”

She displayed clay art pieces sculpted to resemble books and paper.

Department of Art Director of Undergraduate Studies Diane Katsiaficas said art fans benefited not only by seeing the artwork, but also by seeing the place where the artists’ ideas come together.

“To see the environment in which they create their work provides insight into the work itself,” said Katsiaficas, who attended the event.

Some students thought the theme made the event more alluring to the public.

English and sociology sophomore Karina Briski said although she is not a big fan of modern art, she liked how the theme made the event, referred to as an “art crawl,” more casual for attendees.

“Normally, when you think of art crawls, you think of stuffy events,” Briski said. “Art events seem hoity-toity to me, but this was casual and fun.”

Electrical engineering junior Steve Swamy said the superhero theme attracted him to the event, but was disappointed because he thought all of the students’ artwork would include superhero characters.