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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

UNC Asheville art and music students share their inspirations and prepare for exhibitions

UNC Asheville’s art and music department becomes lively at this time of year with senior exhibitions coming around the corner. 

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

Bennett said she began photography in high school while taking a film photography course. Her mother still had her camera from college, and Bennett used the same one for the class. 

“I’m really inspired by nature honestly. My photography leans toward nature and endangered animal species. I really enjoy finding inspiration from the natural world rather than human-made landscapes,” Bennett said. 

According to Bennett, she also creates hand-crafted fiberwork and unique jewelry pieces.

“They’re both very detail-oriented crafts that can still be unique for each item without the stress of having to make identical pieces,” Bennett said. 

Bennett said she will be graduating in December this year and has her Bachelor of Arts exhibit planned out. 

“My BA exhibit will actually be a mixture of both photography and fiber art in a discussion on mental health,” Bennett said. 

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

“I had been playing music since I was little, but I didn’t start writing my own music until I got to college and started meeting these insanely talented people. It just made me so inspired to create with them,” Lampkin said. 

According to Lampkin, there are many artists that heavily inspire her music like Fiona Apple, Madison Cunningham, Samia and Hiatus Kaiyote. 

“I think my music falls into indie folk or rock, but I’m definitely still constantly questioning what kind of music I want to be making and performing,” Lampkin said. 

Lampkin said she uses big life events to spark her creative process when writing her music. 

“Once I’ve found the thing to write about, it’s the musical backbone and chord structure, then I’ll write most of my lyrics,” Lampkin said.  

Hazel Freeman, a senior at UNCA and a BFA student said she has been creating art for as long as she can remember, and said she gets most of her inspiration from her grandmother. 

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

According to Freeman, her grandmother is her number one inspiration when making art, specifically painting. Once she began making art at UNCA, her peers and professors have become a great inspiration as well. 

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

Freeman said she would describe her art style as a playful take on reality. 

“When creating a piece, I often start by meshing multiple images I have taken together to create a collage-type composition,” Freeman said. 

Her current pieces are mostly inspired by exploring childhood memories and nostalgia, using color to convey the message, according to Freeman. 

“The subject matter and motifs I am depicting are whimsical and energetic. Similarly, while painting I often turn up the saturation of colors in order to further convey that sense of childlike wonder and excitement,” Freeman said. 

Freeman said her current favorite piece she has created is entitled “Make Yourself at Home”. This piece and 10 others will be displayed for her senior exhibition from Nov 14 through Nov 21 in Owen Hall’s S. Tucker Cooke Gallery. 

“I spent several months working on it and it went through so many major changes,” Freeman said. 

Desmond Killian, a Junior at UNCA and BFA candidate, said he was strongly influenced by comics and superheroes when beginning his art journey as a child. 

“It’s just something I’ve always done. Back at my parents’ place, there were sketchbooks from when I was like five and I’d be drawing Mario or Iron Man. My folks would take me to the comic book store when I was a kid and that was when I started actively engaging with art,” Killian said. 

Killian said if he were not introduced to comic books, he probably would have never gotten into art like he did. 

“At home, we’d have comics lying around everywhere like Spider-Man, Iron Man and Hulk. Even some were more obscure like ‘Tintin’ and ‘Paul Pope’s Battling Boy’,” Killian said. 

According to Killian, he enjoys portraits and drawing figures the most. 

“I insist on working from life, so I do a lot of self-portraits unless I can get someone to agree to sit for me. I use soft pastels from Michaels. You can get a full palette of colors for only six bucks,” Killian said. 

According to Killian his favorite piece of art is normally what he creates most recently. His current favorite piece is an extravagant, colorful portrait he created several days ago. 

UNC Asheville art and music students share their inspirations and prepare for exhibitions “I love making art so much. It’s relaxing and I love the sense of accomplishment I get from finishing a piece. I work quickly and can put out a lot of artwork in a week, so my favorite is usually whatever I did last,” Killian said. 

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