Nataley Johnson was not always an art major. Her first two years at OBU were spent studying biology before she realized God was pointing her in another direction.
After changing her path and heading for the Art Building, she said she thanks God every day for revealing his plan for her life. The culmination of her creative success will be displayed in her senior art show, "N. Laura's Art," debuting in OBU's Art Building gallery on Friday, May 4, from 6-9 p.m.
Johnson's show is a collaboration of different mediums, displaying a collection of patterns she loves, shapes that attract her and a variety of colors and textures. Her motivation is simple: to get better. She said she is driven "by the ideas in my head playing over and over until I do something about them." Her ultimate desire is to reach a point where her personal style enhances her talent as an artist and designer.
As a result of experimenting with so many mediums, Johnson found it difficult to single out a favorite piece. Her fiber pillows, pallet table, large ceramic pot and abstract self-portrait stand out and are special to her in unique ways.
"I discovered new things about myself along with the materials I was using when creating these pieces," she explained. "Pushing myself in these pieces led to a rewarding outcome."
Johnson's experience at OBU has taught her many things, including the importance of hard work and experimentation. She said her lessons learned go far beyond art mediums and principles.
"I've grown up," Johnson said. "Now, I'm confident my education at OBU has me ready for the next step."
Her art professors played a large part in her growth and success as an artist, she said, particularly Julie Blackstone, assistant professor of art; Chris Owens, adjunct professor of art; and Corey Fuller, assistant professor of graphic design.
"[These professors] have taught me more than just how to work with different mediums," Johnson said. "They inspired me to be better, work harder and explore anything I'm interested in. They didn't give me a formula on how to make art; instead they guided me but let me make some mistakes so I could learn how to be better the next time. This is a never-ending process, but I now know that each time I push myself, whether it's a mistake or not, I learn something new."
In addition to her OBU professors, Johnson credited her parents and her fiancé, Kyle, for encouraging her, accepting her, setting a good example for her and keeping her "mentally sane" through the years.
After graduating, Johnson plans to work with Kara Paslay Designs in her hometown of Tulsa and strengthen her skills as an artist and designer. Her desire is to inspire others not to be afraid to be creative and to gain confidence in their artistic ability.