Students share “spooky” art


GVL / Bri Conway

Allison Bair, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University is hosting the 2022 season of the Visual and Media Arts (VMA) Spooktacular. Included in the Spooktacular event is the “Urban Legends!: Tales to Tell in the Dark” art gallery at the Padnos Student Gallery in the Calder Art Center.

This exhibit features pieces created by students, staff and faculty. The event gives individuals the chance to have their fall-themed art displayed for all to view during the VMA’s Spooktacular.  

The event is headed by Durwin Talon and student organizer Briana Skerpan. They said the event is meant to bring the entire department together and create a space for people to share their art and celebrate it. 

“This was the time we merged film and video so we thought this was a creative and wonderful way to get together,” Talon said.

There are over 100 pieces submitted in a wide range of mediums such as jewelry, digital art, animation and sculptures. 

In addition to running the event, Talon submitted his own pieces inspired by General Mills’ seasonal monster cereal including “Boo Berry,” “Frank Berry” and “Count Chocula.” He developed this idea in the style of 1950s movie posters.

“I love putting odd things together so there was this fun little synthesis of these two worlds coming together in one piece,” Talon said.

Although most of Skerpan’s free time has gone to setting up and running the event among the other board members, she submitted her own piece as well.  Her piece entitled “Backstage” features a creepy clown peeking behind a curtain.

Isabella Good, a participating artist and senior at GVSU, submitted a total of three pieces – two large digital prints and a sculpture. Her works are called “Cannibal Soup,” “Revelation” and “Separation,” all reflect the media she consumed when she was growing up in rural West Michigan. 

I think it’s important to try to stay informed and reflect on your environmental and societal connection within the world you interact with,” Good said.

“Cannibal Soup” reflects the “man-eat-man” world in a visual of various human organs submerged in a dark viscous liquid.

“(‘Cannibal Soup’ represents) breaking down each other to get to our own goals – to sustain ourselves,” Good said.

Her other piece “Separation” consists of a polymer clay pig hanging in a glass jar surrounded by crimson ink.

“‘Separation’ is about the meat industry, more specifically how we as humans are able to dissociate beings from their flesh for consumption,” Good said. “I thought it correlated to the undertones of the myth of Piggy Man, the butcher who wore a pig mask while he slaughtered pigs and was later avenged by getting torn apart by the same animal.”

Her final piece is named “Revelation.” This piece is a digital collage of various neon elements from which she drew inspiration from the film “The Ring” (2002).

“‘Revelation’ is about examining the impact television has on children and how one could accidentally be exposed to something that would affect them irreversibly,” said Good. 

Good praised the event, mentioning that the spirit of the event alone raised spirits and created inspiration. She also said that the event is a stress-free, low-stakes way to familiarize students with the art submission process.

“A majority of the work is just because the students love the show at this point,” Talon said.

The Padnos Student Gallery in Calder Art Center is free and open to the public to view these pieces through Oct. 28. 

The other 2022 VMA Spooktacular events will be held on Oct. 27 from 5-10 p.m. and will feature a costume contest and a movie screening. The first 31 attendees will receive free jewelry on behalf of the jewelry department.