Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh
While walking around Trinity and its brick-layed campus. You may have noticed a cartoon sticker of a possum with a sunflower. That sticker wasn’t made by some media conglomerate in Cupertino, but by one of our very one own. Sitting down on the worn couches of Coates Library, I learned about the busy life of senior Elyse Andrews, who is a art, communication and Spanish triple major. The trajectory of our conversation took us to topics ranging from manga, childhood and Goya while the life of Trinity rumbled by us.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO ART?
Elyse: Well, I guess starting from the beginning, I watched a lot of anime and read a lot of manga comics growing up, and that was what the girls in my class did. Some of us kept up with it. For a while—my dream—my dream job, was to move to Japan and be an anime artist. Not the most realistic dream, but I just loved drawing in that style. So, after realizing I hated doing labs and STEM wasn’t for me, I began to pursue art in a more serious sense. Whatever I do in my life I want it to be creative and have to do with art.
WAS THERE ONE MANGA OR ANIME THAT INSPIRED YOU THE MOST?
E: Well for anime, I really liked “Ouran Highschool Host Club.” “Kitchen Princess” was a manga that I read and really liked.
DO YOU STILL WATCH A LOT OF ANIME OR READ A LOT OF MANGA?
E: No, I don’t. I wish I did. I just don’t watch a lot of TV anymore. I just don’t have any time.
A BUSY LIFE. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TAKES UP THE LION’S SHARE OF YOUR TIME BETWEEN YOUR THREE MAJORS?
E: Well, the great thing about the art major and what I love about it is that, well, I guess with how my brain works is that I can do my communication and Spanish and my other class homework whenever I can really focus during the day. But with art, art is something I can do any time of the day. So any time I have a studio class, it really helps me to spread my day out a little more, so usually I go to my classes, do my main homework when I still have focus and then I try to go to the studio every night if I can.
SO WHAT KIND OF ART DO YOU DO?
E: So my concentration is technically drawing, but when I took Drawing 3 again—you’re allowed to retake when you’re in the major—my professor Dr. Ward re-introduced me to watercolor. I used to be really into it and I was able to get back into it because I never really thought it was taken seriously, artistically speaking. It’s not an academic paint like oil and acrylic. And drawing is its own thing, so it’s been really fun to incorporate drawing with watercolor more. Those are what I’ve been working in this year.
SO HOW DO YOU WANT TO TRANSITION THIS PASSION INTO A CAREER? WHAT WOULD BE A HOPEFUL PLAN?
E: I hope to combine art and communication and, in a way, Spanish. I would like to do art directing or graphic design, or commercial illustration would be fun for me. Or, I could go ahead and be an artist and try that route out. I haven’t thought that avenue out as much, but I am definitely planning on starting out in advertising.
WHAT IN ART HAS INSPIRED YOU THE MOST? WAS THERE A SPECIFIC ARTIST OR ART PIECE OR STYLE? IS THERE ONE NOW THAT YOU’RE REALLY INTO?
E: As for a thing I love, I love plants. They are are definitely a huge part of my work. I also love drawing people. I also make stickers, I do doodles and illustrations and stuff, so that is a fun style. People have said I have two styles. My colorful, illustrative, watercolor-type pieces, more cartoonish. And then my more serious side I guess is expressed in my charcoal pieces. I do a lot of botanicals in charcoal. For particular artists, right now I really like Katerina Popova and her work. I also like Monika Forsberg. Those are two of my inspirations.
WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE PART OF A CERTAIN STYLE OF ART, LIKE ROMANTICISM OR IMPRESSIONISM?
E: I don’t really know what I would say about that. I don’t like restricting myself to any particular style. I like doing whatever, trying it out. I think its really important to experience a lot of different styles. In my time at Trinity, I’ve been able to work with different mediums and different styles, and I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone, and I really appreciate that I’ve been able to do that.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PIECE YOU’VE MADE?
E: I really like these charcoal drawings that I did my junior year. It’s me in my apartment with my plants. I like how I rendered it. I’m really proud of them.
WOULD YOU SAY YOU HAVE A DISTINCT ARTISTIC PROCESS?
E: For the longest time, before I began considering being an artist as a career, I would just follow assignments from class and just doodle when I had free time. Doodling was how I made a lot of my art and some of the concepts for my art. But over the summer I started a sketchbook and worked to keep up with it and that was important to me. But also I don’t really like planning my art; I like doing it more intuitively. Especially with watercolor, I liked an aspect of spontaneity in it. I’ve been trying to be more experimental and intuitive with my work.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT’S ONE OF YOU FAVORITE PARTS OF ART, THE ABILITY FOR SPONTANEITY?
E: Yeah I would, I really like working fast. I can work a long time on a piece; I just need it be spaced out.
VERY COOL. SO YOU STUDIED ABROAD IN SPAIN THIS SUMMER. DID THAT TRIP HAVE AN AFFECT ON YOUR ART?
E: Well, while I was there I sketched a lot, and that was really good for me. I didn’t bring all of my art supplies, so I really liked using my sketchbook to document my time there. One of the things about my time in Spain that really had an effect on me as an artist was being able to see art that I had studied during my time at Trinity. I got to see pieces like “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso and “Las Meninas” by Diego Velázquez—masterpieces really. I almost cried when I saw them. I had never seen a masterpiece or really believed they were real, but seeing them definitely changed that view … I also got to see some pieces by Goya, and I think he would definitely be an artist that inspires me.
LASTLY, WHAT DOES ART DO FOR YOU?
E: Well, not really what it does for me, but I like making art for others. For example, I did the art design for the Lunar New Year shirts last year, and almost every day I see someone wearing one of my shirts. People have my stickers, people buy my phone cases, and for me, it’s amazing to see people using and appreciating my art. And thats my favorite part; I don’t make art for myself, I make it for others. And that’s why I don’t know if I want to do this big girl artist thing because I always want to make my art for others.