Art Speaks at the Learning Commons
Learning Hub Ambassador Ven Talley tells us about how the Learning Hub has incorporated student art throughout the buildingDec 5, 2022
Did you know the Learning Hub has curated art weaved throughout the Learning Commons building? With the campus’ recent trend of exhibiting colorful works of art on our CU buildings, the Learning Commons boasts its own collective works by some of our university’s best and brightest art students. The Learning Hub’s very own Writing Center Assistant Director, Drew Bixby, has partnered with CU Denver Studio Art Practices and Illustration Visual Arts BFA students, Professor Melissa Furness, and FINE 3300 to display work on each floor.
Every year, the Learning Hub hosts a showcase event where FINE 3300 students get the space to unveil their artwork and explain the creative processes and influences that inspired their work. This lets guests in on the inner worlds of each piece and the personal stories attached, as well as grants these upcoming students/artists a chance to build confidence in presenting their work and finding their audiences. All on top of making the building an even more welcoming and artful space!
The showcase reception is held in the Learning Commons and attendees are some of the first to tour the new displays around the building. As the Learning Hub readies to unveil the most current works, visitors can attend the preview event “Menagerie of Meaning” on Thursday, December 8th at 10:00am in the Learning Commons first floor.
Some of these pieces range from a powerful collage with themes of decay and destructive desire as seen in Kat Dent’s Cold Blooded, to tender and amusing anthropomorphic chili peppers as depicted by Jack Trujillo in Pep in Your Step. Current work like Anneliese Anthamatten’s Happy Bunny involves dedicated linework and a sense of sharp attention to color placement and theory, and her piece “Cornered” is both witty and thoughtful. Both pieces deal with imagery of rabbits while taking on interesting methods of line weight when depicting the same material.
Each print is unique to the artist and their own learning practice; a practice which reveals a sense of individual personality and growth. Those who have more than one work displayed at a time have interesting throughlines or repeating motifs such as lobsters, animalistic form, clowns, so on and so forth. For example, in contrast to his more light-hearted Pep in Your Step, Trujillo’s Peppers is more grounded and bolder in its color palette while still exploring the same subject matter with a different tone. Jack is an involved student who has worked with the Visual Arts Department, the CU Denver Art Practices Club leadership, and the Emmanuel Gallery. He is very dedicated to his craft.
Jack’s Artist Statement:
“Art that dares to be fun is important to me. It allows me to share happiness in a stressful world. My screen-printed artwork featured in the Learning Resources Center is an exploration of both joy and heritage. I chose the chili pepper as a focus for these art pieces because of the connection it has with my childhood. As a Chicano, chili peppers are a common ingredient in the Mexican dishes I grew up eating.
In Peppers, I show the likeness between the shape of peppers and knives by pairing them together. This comparison connects the pain of eating spicy food with the uncomfortable red knife pattern. It’s a cheeky way to say, “eating peppers can hurt.”
Pep in Your Step borrows from vintage advertisement imagery to explore my interest in Americana. This piece playfully compares the “hot” temperature of peppers to the “cool” freshness of cucumbers. The tongue in cheek presentation of this work aligns with my passions as an artist while also referencing the history of American cartoons. These chili pepper prints share my heritage and sense of humor to the world around me.”
You can support Jack and students like him by scanning the QR codes listed underneath each print; these will link to an online gallery where you can find price, purchasing, and artist contact information. The front desk of the Learning Resources Center also offers a succinct “Self-Guided Art Tour” Flyer that maps out where in the building to find these pieces. These works cycle out frequently and from artist to artist, so be sure to visit and catch your favorites before they are gone. While touring the art throughout the building, go ahead and take the opportunity to explore the different offices available to all CU Students. The Learning Commons building is home to not just student art, but several student service departments including the LRC, Math and Stats Support, First Year Experiences, Writing Center and more!Check out current displayed artwork!