Students sculpting

Hillsdale Art Majors

Written by Katie Beemer

Obtaining a degree in Art at Hillsdale is entirely unique, focusing on traditional styles of art work. One thing Art Majors do is make master copies of famous works. Students do their best to recreate the famous piece. When seniors graduate from Hillsdale with a degree in Art, they are required to have a senior art show to showcase their pieces from the last four years. I spoke with some of this year’s seniors to find out a little more about their artwork.

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Name: Michelle McAvoy
Major(s): Art and English
Focus: Graphic Design
Theme of Show:
“It’s just really a compilation of all of our best work. Personally, it will be heavily focused on graphic design I’ve done at Hillsdale”
Favorite Piece:
“My favorite art piece from my show is a master copy by Sargent and it’s ‘A Portrait of a Lady.’ It’s just a simple, charcoal sketch, but it’s one of my only drawings that I’m going to put in.”
What Makes Hillsdale Different?
“At other schools, if you’re going to be an art major, you major in a specific area of art. I think it’s really nice that here we have the classical background, so we take sculpture, we take basic drawing, basic design. So, we get elements of it all and then we can specialize in a different area”

Name: Valerie Copan
Theme of Show:
“It is a very eclectic mix of everything. I’m doing the show with my two housemates, so that can be part of the theme. We’re the Waffle House Girls, and this is our show together.”
Favorite Piece:
“I really enjoy master copies. I love exploring different artist’s styles through doing master copies. My master copy of Rembrandt’s engraving of ‘Christ’s Emmaus’ is very near and dear to my heart.”
What Makes Hillsdale Different?
“I think the fact that we are trained in a traditional manner where there is objectivity, there are objective standards to what is good art. We’re trained in a classical manner.”

Name: Maggy Smith
Major(s): Art
Focus: 2-D, mostly digital work, but really loves everything
Theme of Show:
“There were quite a few pieces that I showcased there. I showed a quilt that I did over one summer. I had a map of the edge of the world. I also had a couple of sculptures. I think one of things that was really the theme was that it didn’t have a theme. It was anything and everything.”
Favorite Piece:
“Well, this year, I did a master copy for Baroque Art History that was a copy of Bernini’s bust of Thomas Baker. He was an English gentleman, little bit of a flop with a big lace collar and insanely wild hair. I did a miniature sculpture instead of a sketch, but it was very fun to work on, and an interesting challenge because this was my first time making a 3-D sculpture off of a drawing instead of a 3-D model.”
What Makes Hillsdale Different?
“One of the things that I have appreciated the most about the art major at Hillsdale is the focus on the traditional style. So, we don’t have the sort of professors who will throw you into an empty room with a blank canvas and charcoals and say ‘Express yourselves, have fun.’ They’re the sort of people who work alongside you and take you from the fundamentals of art. I came in and the first thing I did as an art major was draw a box. We start from the very basics and work up from there, making sure that the foundation is steady, so that you’re able to better understand and branch out when you get to your own independent work.”

Katie Beemer is a #fantasticfreshman from #puremichigan in pursuit of a degree in #politics, which should say a lot about the state of her mind. She is an #extremeextrovert, uses hashtags excessively/inappropriately, and is the proud owner of a pet reindeer named Edgar John Cervantes III #itsalongstory. When she’s not wandering around the library looking for people to talk to, she occasionally does homework #cantstopwontstop.