Art and Design student Gabrielle Clark is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art with an emphasis in Metals and Jewelry and a minor in Japanese.
What led you to choosing your field of study?
“I have always been drawn to art because it allows me to convey messages and ideas that I couldn’t express in words. Before college, I attended an engineering charter school where there were no art classes available. Nevertheless, I found every opportunity to turn an assignment into an art project whether it was drawing, costume making, or editing videos. When I started to look at different career options I knew that I just wanted to make art that people could connect to. Freshman year I started off as with an emphasis in graphic design, but switched to metals because I realized just how much I valued physically working with material compared to digital media. I learn more about myself each day and look forward to experimenting with different mediums.”
Why did you come to UW-Whitewater?
“I came to Whitewater because of its well-known BFA program in Art and its diversity of programs that have allowed me to get involved. A few of those program are the Warhawk Marching band, peer mentorship, and Japanese.”
Are you part of any student organizations? If so, which ones and why?
“I have been a part of TIFU Cultural Ensemble, the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) mentor group, First Year Experience (FYE), Advance Alloy Metals Organization, and the Warhawk Marching Band. They allowed me to connect with students outside of my major and blow off some steam when life got stressful.”
Are there artists or mentors you draw inspiration from? If so, who and why?
“Kara Walker is an African-American artist that has inspired me ever since I saw her work at the Chazen art museum in Madison. Her work centers on the generational trauma of slavery and challenges racial and gender stereotypes. She is an amazing storyteller through her silhouetted artworks that confront social issues that most are too afraid to talk about. Seeing her artwork has always inspired me to make work that allows important conversations to take place.”
Share a class project or something you have created with us.
“One project I recently finished was a wire brooch in the shape of a trombone. It was an ode to my marching band career and it took me about a month to finish. I received a lot of guidance from my peers as well as Teresa Faris, the metals professor, to finish it just in time for the band banquet. I learned a lot from the process and it has made me excited to try new metalsmithing techniques.”
What’s your favorite part about being in the Department of Art and Design at UW-Whitewater?
“I have enjoyed getting to know all different types of creative minds from music, theater, and art emphasis backgrounds. Everyone works hard at their craft so it is always inspiring to see people practicing in the atrium and the studios. We all have mutual respect for one another and strive to support others within the department.”
What’s your favorite part about being a Warhawk?
“I didn’t understand what it meant to be a Warhawk until I joined the band. Everyone supports each other and works hard towards a collective goal. It didn’t matter what your background was and people cared about you as an individual. The people that I have met during my time here will always hold a special place in my heart.”
What do you hope to do after graduation?
“After graduation, I want to go to graduate school and continue to build new skills and techniques. Next, I will work at small businesses or studios in a city nearby (Madison, Milwaukee, or Chicago) to gain more experience. My goal is to travel and learn from different artists until I can have my own studio and support myself through my work.”
Favorite class to date and why?
“My favorite class would have to be my Japanese language class. It was probably one of the most difficult courses I had ever taken but I always had so much fun at the end of each semester. It was the people that kept me going back and the pride I would feel after mastering a new word or grammar structure. We all shared the same love for the language and would laugh when we made mistakes but supported each other when things got tough even outside of class. It left a memorable impression on me and we still keep in touch.”
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
“One of my proudest accomplishments was when I had the opportunity to study abroad in Hirakata, Japan, and I created the cover for our class manga. It was right after the pandemic started and we were forced to go back home. At the time I was struggling with my mental health and lost most of my motivation - but somehow, I did it. In a way, it helped me through a really hard time and I’m proud that I was still able to create something beautiful even when I was at my lowest.”
What advice would you give your former self?
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because you can always learn from them! Everything feels scary at first but it gets better over time. It will be difficult in the beginning, and you won’t get it right away but your hard work will pay off in the end.”
What advice would you give your future self?
“From the words of an inspirational artist, ‘It’s about drive, it’s about power, we stay hungry, we devour, put in the work, put in the hours, and take what’s ours.’ -Dwayne Johnson. You can do anything you put your mind to and everything can be used as a learning opportunity.”
What advice would you give to a potential UW-Whitewater student?
“Keep an open mind and try to learn as many things as you can. Especially from people who are different from you. College is a time to experiment and find ways to balance yourself to become more independent. Everything is scary at first but with time you will grow in confidence, so be gentle with yourself.”
Learn more about the Art and Design programs