Senior Art Show: Ashley Tharpe

By Jessica Pitts

Staff Writer

When Ashley Tharpe first came to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as a freshman, she was close-minded in her approach to art. She thought there was only one way to draw, to paint or to design, she said.

But her work on display in her senior show demonstrates she’s a little more open-minded now. Artwork by the Art & Design and Advertising major is on display through Dec. 7 in SMWC’s Hulman Hall Art Gallery.

In an interview during her show’s opening reception Nov. 14, Tharpe commented on her inspirations, aspirations, and the difficulties it took to pull off an art show.

Q. Is there a particular theme to your work presented in the art show?

A. “No, there’s not really much of a theme. Basically it’s combined with studio art pieces and my graphic design pieces.  There’s everything from class projects I’ve done to free-lance work I’ve done to internship work I’ve done and then somethings I’ve done on the side for fun.”

Q. What is your inspiration in these pieces?

A. “A lot of times its based of off whether I have to do it for a client, a lot of times obviously the client has a say in that. Through class projects sometimes you only have a certain option; you only have so much you can do. A lot of times with the freedom I do a lot of comic book and Disney feel to it. I like the fantasy one I did with Photoshop where I had zombies and dinosaur and giant bug, I like a lot of the fantasy art. I just like the creativity and I use my imagination.”

Q. Was it difficult to pull the show together?

A. “Yea, I had a lot of pieces and kept forgetting pieces. So then I would have to scoot things down to try and find room, and then I would forget another piece and go have to buy a frame because I forgot about that piece. Other than that, knowing what I was wanting to put in there, that was easy but then my computer broke and lost the whole list of all that. So me having to go back through there last minute was hard, but after I got everything where I needed it was pretty easy to set up.”

Q. How do you select which pieces will be presented?

A. “Basically, I had a lot of pieces placed out and I had Rebecca [Andrews] and Elaine [Yaw] help me choose my best pieces, I pick my best piece that I thought and then they helped with what they thought was the best.”

Q. How have you evolved as an artist in your four years at SMWC?

A. “I say my knowledge and imagination has grown a lot. When I first got here, I was very closed-minded; I thought that certain things were done a certain way. You could only draw a certain way, you can paint a certain way, you could only use illustrator, Photoshop a certain way. Now I realize I can mix all those medias. One of my pieces I did on illustrator and decided I didn’t like it on illustrator and decided to paint that image.”

Q. What is your favorite piece and why?

A. “I have two favorite pieces; my first one would be my Spiderman painting. I believe that one is really my favorite piece because it is my third painting ever. So much detail went into it; I didn’t expect it to look to the way it did. My second one is my Disney poster that I did. I was really new to illustrator and I did that for the final. I spent so much time doing that; each one of those characters took over ten hours. The pieces that took the longest and took so much time and dedication are my favorite and I feel like that’s just because I put so much into it.”

Q. What is your specific medium?

A. “Specifically it’s digital, I have a lot more digital artwork in [the gallery], probably because I’m a graphic designer. I’m trying to broaden my horizon with studio art, I’m trying to do more paintings and do more sculptures, because I want to be able to do both. I feel that altogether that makes me a better artist and more well-rounded.”

Q. What are your plans for after graduation?

A. “I will be leaving the school in December; I’m not graduating, I have two classes left. I will be trying to find a job. I’m actually looking at one of my internships. I’ve looked at printing places; I’ve even done it for radio stations. I’m hoping to get a job before I graduate, so when I do graduate then I don’t have to worry about it.”

Tharpe plans to finish her coursework via the Woods Online program.

The Hulman Hall Gallery, located in room , is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about the gallery, contact Rebecca Andrews, chair of the Text & Image Department,

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