OBU graphic design student Hannah Madison of Shawnee, will present her senior art show to the university community and the general public beginning April 8 at 7 p.m. in the Art Building on the OBU campus in Shawnee. A reception honoring Madison and her achievement will serve as the opening. The exhibit will feature various works, including paintings, drawings, glass, posters and a mosaic. The pieces will reflect her theme, “Far Out.”
“I chose it because it is a phrase used to describe things that are cool or awesome – maybe even a little bit weird,” Madison said. “My personality and style are often described by others as quirky or weird. The phrase is also associated with hippies and a lot of people say that I am a flower child, so I thought it was very fitting. I tried to incorporate those elements into my art. I want my pieces to be representations of who I am.”
Madison’s family, friends and fiancée are all sources of inspiration and encouragement.
“They constantly encourage me to be myself, which helps me create art that shows my true personality,” she said. “My parents have taught me to work my hardest and put my best efforts out there. My sister Stefanie is probably my biggest fan and is always excited about what I am working on. My friend and fellow graphic design major, Marissa, is probably one of the biggest helps when it comes to my art. We have struggled through college and classes together and have always been there for one another.”
OBU also played a pivotal role in developing Madison as an artist.
“My classes did a good job of keeping me up pretty late at night – sometimes that allows you to get into the weird part of your brain and create some truly interesting stuff,” she said. “My professors constantly pushed me to work harder and be better. I think that [Associate Professor of Graphic Design] Corey Fuller’s classes really helped to stretch my imagination and think outside the box.”
Her work will remain in the show room in the OBU Art Building through April 14. Several of Madison’s productions will be debuting at the exhibit and all we be available for purchase.
“I encourage everyone to come out and see the show,” Madison said. “There will be some really exciting and very unique pieces.”
One of the works holds an especially personal meaning. It is titled, “May 20, 2013,” and is a tornado pointillism piece she painted her sophomore year. “That piece is meaningful to me because I was actually in Shawnee when the tornado came through and I had to seek shelter in the WMU basement with my sister, her dog, and lots of OBU faculty and staff. We were able to see the tornado when we were on our way to campus.”
However, even more significantly, the path that the tornado took along highway 177 was exactly where she was supposed to be driving that day. “At the time my parents were living in Alexandria, Virginia, and my dad was stationed at the Pentagon. So when I was out of school for breaks I would go live with my grandparents in Harrah. I had stayed one or two nights at my sister Megan's house in Shawnee before heading out to their house which was supposed to happen on the 20th. However, as the weather started to get dicey, my sister told me I should probably stay in Shawnee one more day and luckily I did. So, the painting was to capture a day that could have potentially been very life changing for my family and me. Whenever I look at that painting, it reminds me of how God is constantly in control and constantly holding my life in His protection and His will.”
Two of her other favorites include a print called "Slow Jams," humorously depicting a sloth and a record player, and a charcoal drawing called “Rebel.”
“‘Rebel’ was my very first charcoal drawing and probably the best drawing I have ever done.” She recalled that when she first posted a picture of it online, she received some strong reactions because the subject in the piece was smoking. “That was definitely not the response I was expecting. I just wanted to draw someone with lots of emotion and someone who appeared to be rebellious. I am not trying to be rebellious at all in having this piece in my show. I just think it is a neat piece and one of my better drawings.”
Following her graduation, Madison plans to stay in Shawnee until her wedding in August. After that, the job hunt is on.
“I will have to see where my fiancée’s job moves us, but my plan is to try to work for myself and do freelance design,” she said. “If that doesn’t shake out, I will look into getting a job at a design firm or a marketing agency.”