BFA students host ‘Ironically Untitled’ art exhibit

GVL / Courtesy -

GVL / Courtesy –

Taylor Crowley

After spending endless hours trying to create the perfect masterpiece, four Grand Valley State University students will finally showcase their talent in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Senior Exhibition “Ironically Untitled.” Students who specialize in illustration and jewelry and metalsmithing will show GVSU community members the pieces they have spent months creating.

The exhibition will take place Thursday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The artists will be in attendance, and there will be a reception held between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. It will be hosted at the Haas Center for Performing Arts in the Art Gallery. Snacks and drinks will be provided. 

For GVSU students Miles Felsenfeld, Katelyn Johnson, Katrina McVay and Jennifer Ochoa, this is the final “hurrah.” These students have applied the knowledge they have learned, skills they have been taught and passion they have developed to the pieces that will appear in a senior showcase for all GVSU students to see. 

Felsenfeld and McVay are unmasking their stories through the art of illustration, and Johnson and Ochoa will present their work and artistic development through jewelry making and metalsmithing. 

“Everything has been leading to this,” McVay said. “We have been working on this all semester. It’s really terrifying, but I’m a little more unconventional; this is kind of the milestone that says, ‘I made it.’”  

The four students’ art ranges in different styles that will all be highlighted at their exhibit. From personal journeys, medical history and feelings of nostalgia, this exhibit was created with many forms of inspiration. 

The students got paired together, by choice and by chance, and ended up creating stories through their art that serendipitously related to each other.

For McVay, finding her style was a task. She struggled with finding a topic that would hold her interest entirely until she was assigned a “weird” assignment during the summer of 2017. 

“We were doing (recreating) music album covers, and I chose an album cover by Anamanaguchi, which is a band that plays retro, video-game-like music,” McVay said. “My mentor really pushed me to go with what I like doing, this really weird style, and it finally clicked after two years. That project made everything make sense to me.”

As for another artist being featured in the exhibit, Ochoa has always had a passion for jewelry and metalsmithing. For Ochoa, this exhibit will be the first time she has shown her work to an extended audience. 

“For me personally, and all artists, it’s scary because that’s something of you,” she said. “That’s a piece of you that you made, and you’re saying, ‘Hey, I did this. This is me.’” 

Ochoa said she expresses her feelings through her art. She explained that, as a person, she is not an open book, but her art contains her emotion and history about her life. 

From seeing each others’ personal experiences unveiled through art, the artists have nothing but supportive and confidence-boosting adjectives to describe each others’ work. The students understand the time, patience and courage it had to take to create such craftsmanship.