God put everyone on Earth with a countdown, said Mark Palomino, a graphic design major from Asunción, Paraguay, and "it's up to us to make the most of it." A senior at OBU, Palomino will present his artwork in a show titled "Why Are You Dying?" on May 4 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Geiger Center on OBU's campus.
Palomino said he chose the theme of his show because he believes life is fragile, that life "doesn't just happen," and that each person must create something of life. His show is inspired by two questions every human asks during his or her time on Earth: "What now?" and "What next?" Recognizing the things of this world as temporary and trivial, Palomino said he believes the primary purpose of a Christian life is to bring honor and praise to God, and the secondary purpose should be "to make the most of what we have while we can."
The process of taking original subjects and viewing them from different perspectives motivates Palomino. He said he draws inspiration from the whimsical bliss of his childhood and his thankfulness that he was raised in a "God-fearing house" where he never endured abuse or mistreatment. He recalled vivid childhood memories of make-believe worlds, superhuman qualities and secret codes created with his older brother in their "command center" -- the family garden. Memories such as these create a deeper connection between Palomino and his work.
"I've been to the drawing board several times and deleted several personal projects that I didn't connect with," he said. "If the artist is bored, the audience is bored."
One of Palomino's favorite pieces in his show was originally designed for a client. A friend referred him to a youth group who wanted a flyer to announce their latest campaign. Palomino grasped the opportunity to collaborate with his brother on the project and found the experience exciting and helpful.
In his education preparing him for the future, Palomino believes OBU has been "paramount" to his development as an artist and as an individual. The university, he said, presented itself as a positive catalyst for his future. He credited much of his growth as an artist to Julie Blackstone, assistant professor of art; Corey Fuller, assistant professor of graphic design; Steven Hicks, professor of art; and Chris Owens, adjunct professor of art.
"I will never forget my time with Julie Blackstone in Color Theory and Ceramics," Palomino said. "She has always encouraged me to be as creative as possible. I'll always remember her kindness and willingness to help me with my scheduling conflicts due to athletics."
Palomino is a member of the Bison soccer team and the Bison swimming and diving team.
"Mr. Fuller has always helped me by providing constructive criticism that has enabled my continual growth," he said. "Mr. Hicks and Mr. Owens have also been incredible assets to me. They have trained me to be more patient with certain techniques and to appreciate simple stroke and information in pieces."
In addition to his professors, Palomino said his friends have consistently provided both critique and inspiration. During a challenging year, he said they helped him feel alive, gave him love, and carried him through the highest and lowest moments he has ever had.
Following graduation, Palomino will begin a job as a marketing manager for Elle Comm, a public relations company in Oklahoma City. He plans to work for a year and then attend UCO to earn a master's degree in design. Having grown up with both parents as educators, his eventual hope is to become a professor, believing education to be the noblest profession.