Lakeland College will spotlight the work of three senior art students when the first of three Lakeland Senior Art Student Portfolio Exhibitions opens on Friday, Nov. 7.
Becca Elliot, Renjie Zhou and Katie LaPlaunt will discuss their work during an opening reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Bradley Gallery, located in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on Lakeland's campus.
The exhibit, which will feature works created by these students during their time at Lakeland, will run through Dec. 10. The Bradley Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, when the college is in session. Attendance at the reception and admittance to the Bradley Gallery are both free and open to the public.
The senior art show is a requirement for all Lakeland art majors. Students gain the experience of having their own exhibit, and are responsible for planning the show, putting the public relations together, hanging their work and any other details.
Elliot is a double major in art (graphic arts emphasis) and communication (professional emphasis). She has been working as a freelance graphic artist since the spring of 2012 and has created work for several on- and off-campus organizations. She won an honorable mention award at the 2012 Lakeland College Student Art Exhibitions.
She served a graphic art and communication internship in the first half of 2014 with Fond du Lac Festivals, Inc. She planned and organized a Walleye Weekend 2014 logo re-launch party and created a number of works for Walleye Weekend, including 20 digital billboards. She also served as a graphic art intern with Lakeland's Career Development office in 2013.
Elliot said her work for this show features a few different mediums. "In my digital art I tend to add layers at different opacities to give the final product a feel of depth or texture," she said. "While a lot of my work has these characteristics, I do have pieces that are more flat, although I try to still add a few drop shadows or textures to the majority of my pieces. Nature, space, depth and texture are my favorite aspects to find and put into my work."
LaPlaunt is majoring in art with a graphic arts emphasis. She is in her second year working as a graphic design intern with Lakeland's marketing department, and she spent two years working as a student assistant in the college's art department.
She won honorable mention awards at the 2013 and 2014 Lakeland College Student Art Exhibitions. She is the recipient of several scholarships, and she has been on the Dean's List for academic achievement.
"One of my favorite things about art is beginning a new project," LaPlaunt said. "I set high expectations for myself and look forward to the finished piece. Usually mid-project I will come to a point where I don't like it and I need to push myself to finish it. One of the worst parts of creating artwork is trying to figure out where to end. It's hard to spend a lot of time and effort on something, and then finally say it's finished when it's not quite perfect yet. Perfection cannot be achieved, so eventually I stop before I mess it up."
Zhou, an international student from China, is majoring in art with both a graphic arts and studio arts emphasis. His work has been featured in a number of previous exhibits at both the college and in the Alive in the Arts exhibit at the Plymouth Arts Center. In 2014, he won a second-place and honorable mention award at Lakeland's Student Art exhibit.
Since the fall of 2012 he has worked as a studio assistant and gallery receptionist for Lakeland's art department. He designed and painted a mural for the college's IT Center and teaches painting classes in his native China.
"What keeps artists spending time on making art? Not just having a passion for art, but also always giving yourself challenges," Zhou said. "Inspiration is very important, but not feeling inspired is not an excuse to stop making art. There is no way that anyone will have inspiration for art in every single day of life. But, if you keep painting and drawing you will sustain yourself with many good art ideas."