UNC Asheville art and music students share their inspirations and prepare for exhibition – Blue Flag


The art and music department at the University of North Carolina Asheville gets busy this time of year with the upcoming senior exhibition.

“I’m a veteran, so I bought my first digital camera in 2015 while I was stationed in Korea and I’ve been using it ever since,” UNCA photographer, craftsman and senior Madeline Bennett said.

Bennett said she started photography in high school while taking film photography classes. Her mother still has her college camera, and Bennett uses the same camera in class.

“To be honest, I am definitely inspired by nature. My photography tends towards nature and endangered animal species. I really like to find inspiration in the natural world rather than man-made landscapes,” Bennett said.

According to Bennett, she also makes handmade fiber goods and unique jewelry.

“They are crafts with great attention to detail, and each item can still be unique without the pressure of making identical pieces,” Bennett said.

Bennett said she will graduate this December and plans to hold an exhibition for her BA degree.

“My BA exhibition actually combines photography and fiber arts to talk about mental health issues,” Bennett said.

Clara Lampkin is a junior and music student at UNCA who writes, composes and performs her own songs.

“I’ve been playing music since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until I went to college and started meeting these talented people that I started making my own music. It inspired me to create with them,” Lampkin said.

According to Lampkin, there are many artists who have inspired her music, such as Fiona Apple, Madison Cunningham, Samia and Hiatus Kaiyote.

“I consider my music to be indie-folk or rock, but I definitely still constantly question what kind of music I want to make and perform,” Lampkin said.

Lumpkin said she uses major life events to inspire her creative process when writing music.

“Once I find what I’m going to write about, which is the musical backbone and the chord structure, then I write most of the lyrics,” Lampkin said.

UNC senior Hazel Freeman, BFA, said she has been creating art for as long as she can remember and said much of her inspiration comes from her grandmother.

“My grandmother was an artist and taught elementary and middle school students for over 20 years. Every time I visited her, or she visited us, she would have an art project for us to do,” Freeman said.

According to Freeman, her grandmother was her first source of inspiration when it came to creating art, specifically painting. When she began making art at UNCA, her peers and professors also became huge inspirations to her.

“To be honest, I never really wanted to be anything other than a painter,” Freeman said.

Freeman said she describes her artistic style as a playful interpretation of reality.

“When creating a piece, I usually start by gridding multiple images I’ve taken to create a collage-like composition,” says Freeman.

Freeman says much of her current work is inspired by exploring childhood memories and nostalgia, using color to convey messages.

“The subjects and themes I depict are whimsical and vibrant. Likewise, when painting, I often turn up the saturation of colors to further convey a childlike sense of wonder and excitement,” Freeman says.

Freeman said her favorite piece so far is called “Make Yourself at Home.” This work and 10 others will be on display in a senior exhibition at the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery in Owen Hall, Nov. 14-21.

“I spent several months working on it, and it went through a lot of major changes,” Freeman said.

Desmond Killian, a junior at UNCA and a Bachelor of Arts candidate, said his artistic journey began when he was a child, drawn to comics and superheroes Impact.

“It’s just something I’ve always done. Back at my parents’ house, there was a sketchbook from when I was five years old, and I would draw Mario or Iron Man. When I was a kid, my family would take me comic book store, and that’s when I became actively involved in the arts,” Killian said.

Killian said if he hadn’t been exposed to comic books, he might never have gotten into the art field as he did now.

“At home, we had comics everywhere, like Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Even some more obscure ones, like Tintin and Paul Pope’s Battle Boys,” Killian said.

According to Killian, he enjoys portraiture and figure painting the most.

“I insist on starting from life, so I take a lot of self-portraits, unless I can get someone to agree to do it for me. I use Michaels pastels. You can get the full palette for just six bucks,” Killian explain.

According to Killian, his favorite pieces of art are usually the ones he created recently. His favorite piece at the moment is a lavish, colorful portrait he created just a few days ago.

UNC Asheville art and music students share their inspirations and prepare for exhibition “I absolutely love making art. It’s relaxing and I love the sense of accomplishment I get from completing a piece. I work quickly and can work on There’s a lot of art created in a week, so my favorite is usually the last thing I do,” Killian said.



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