Loose Change exhibit showcases senior student artistic talents

Allison Mueller

Ana Alexander/ Winonan

On March 18, nine seniors gathered in the Science Laboratory Center to speak about their pieces for their final exhibit in Watkins Gallery before they graduate, “Loose Change.” Each student discussed their piece, what inspired them to create it and their artistic process.

Two students collaborated on their piece. Jose Dominguez and Sibat Tazwar used their friendship and inclination to artistically work together to join forces and create “Café Flamingo,” an interactive piece where gallery attendees had the opportunity to drink coffee and draw with Dominguez and Tazwar.

Dominguez commented on part of the appeal for the duo to work together.

“It’s an element of unpredictability that will happen, which is exciting for the both of us,” said Dominguez.

Dominguez and Tazwar spent the exhibit’s opening week working together to create various illustrations with participating gallery attendants.

Another piece involved the interaction of attendees. Andrew Massat created a piece titled “Think Before You #SELFIE.” Attendees simply had to seat themselves in front of the camera Massat set up and press a pedal that triggered the camera and took a photo. Once an attendee took a photo, it uploaded to Twitter; some of the photos taken were shown on a feed displayed on a monitor next to the camera. A sign next to the piece included the steps to taking a picture, and included a small message at the bottom: “Warning: Your picture is final and on Twitter. Enjoy!”

Massat commented on how he wanted his piece to influence the gallery and its visitors.

“I want to liven it up, and make the gallery not as somber,” Massat said.

Massat’s piece also included a message about the permanency of anything posted on the Internet.

“Once it’s on the Internet, you have to deal with it. You can’t just click delete,” Massat said.

Alex Lakin’s piece, “Suicide Notes,” commented on societal perceptions of depression. Three pieces, which included whimsical flowers and designs around excerpts from real suicide notes, were installed in the gallery. The juxtaposition of the light floral patterns with notes such as, “like I told my counselor today, I don’t want to live anymore,” created a staggering emotional impact.

Lakin’s inspiration for the piece stemmed from her own experiences with depression.

“My process began with wanting to make a statement about depression and being in a society that makes you want to cover that part of yourself up and blend in,” Lakin said.

Each piece in the shower brought something different to the table — whether political messages, interaction with gallery visitors or social commentary. This diversity led the group of artists to choose the exhibit’s title, “Loose Change,” together.

One of the artists, Cam Neely, commented on his view of the title.

“Each and every one of our pieces reflects some kind of change within us or some kind of change we want to see in the world,” Neely said.

Another artist, Carly Nixon, also offered her perception of the exhibit’s title.

“The phrase loose change implies this eclectic mix coming together,” Nixon said.

The group meshed well together as they installed their pieces in the gallery. During their presentation of their work, they discussed how the process of installing their pieces ran smoothly, especially in comparison to past installations.

“I think we all think the installation went pretty well compared to what we’ve seen in the last four years,” Rick Hatfield said.

The rest of the group agreed with Hatfield.

“A lot of us were willing to compromise,” Hannah Sung said.

“We were all pretty loose,” Hatfield said, as the audience laughed.