Sporting a Portland Trail Blazers jersey, artist and Washington State University Vancouver associate professor of fine arts Avantika Bawa is talking about her new solo show at the Portland Art Museum.
The show, which opens Aug. 18, includes almost two dozen drawings of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum where the Blazers won their most recent championship … in 1977.
The drawings are inspired by Bawa’s fascination—her “obsession,” as she says—with the coliseum. “Some people find it extremely boring, but I chose to take this building and put it on a pedestal and worship it like a mad person.”
Douglas Gast has lived all over the place. But in the Tri-Cities, the acclaimed artist and art professor has found a good fit.
“It’s a great community—the perfect size. It’s experiencing growth, something that means possibility,” he said.
Part of that growth is in the local art scene, which is particularly exciting for Gast, who is an associate professor of fine arts at WSU Tri-Cities and administers the bachelor of fine arts and Digital Technology & Culture programs.
Gast is contributing to the scene by taking part Friday in the latest show at DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland.
His own personal artwork aims to “identify and make use of the elements of the media that are fundamental to its definition” and create “physical and conceptual spaces where thought and communication can occur,” according to his artist statement.
His work is designed to be “thought through, instead of being thought of. It calls into question a variety of controversial socio-political situations.”
WSU fine arts alumnus Iris Scott, 34, makes her living finger painting. That might sound like nice work if someone else is paying your bills, but the Brooklyn artist—known for her impressionistic paintings of the natural world in psychedelic colors—is fully self-supporting. She broke $500,000 in revenue last year and will exceed $1 million this year, she says.
Thanks to her artistic talent, entrepreneurial spirit and creative use of social media to market her work, Scott is among a fast-growing group of self-employed professionals who are building annual revenue in solo businesses and partnerships to $ 1 million or more. The number of nonemployer firms—meaning those staffed only by the owners—that generate $1 million to $2.49 million in revenue rose to 36,161 in 2016, up 1.6 percent from 35,584 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That number is up 35.2% from 26,744 in 2011.
It’s not easy to make a great living off of creative work. So how has Scott managed to make a great living from her art while creating work that has gotten her represented in galleries and covered in publications such as American Art Collector?
She has designed her career on her own terms by putting in the time and effort make the most of her talents on a daily basis, assessing and acting upon the opportunities in front of her in real-time, having the courage to ditch the unwritten rules of the art world and its gatekeepers when they didn’t make sense to her, developing ongoing, two-way communication with her customers—and responding to followers’ suggestions. Here is some detail on the strategies she used, which will be relevant to owners of many types of ultra-lean businesses.
Washington State University Tri-Cities realized an average enrollment growth of 12 percent annually throughout the last four years. As that upward trend continues, so does our expansion of on-campus housing, program development, world-class faculty and specialization in research.
Among the many WSU Tri-Cities faculty accomplishments this year:
Paul Strand, professor of psychology, is one of a team of WSU faculty leading the online implementation of a k-12 truancy prevention program that benefits schools statewide. WSULearning and Performance Research Center houses the online implementation of the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students.
Peter Christenson, assistant professor of fine arts and digital technology and culture, developed a scholar residency program at WSU Tri-Cities that welcomes artists, engineers, urban planners and more to campus, where students and community members learn first-hand from their expertise.
WSU grad student gives insight into her experience as an artist and teacher
June Sanders discovered a passion for art while attending Western Washington University—a fair leap from advertising, her intended major.
Sanders, now a first-year Master of Fine Arts student at Washington State University, said it was her friends in undergrad who introduced her to what it’s like to be an artist.
“I was just so blessed in befriending, right when I came to college, all these wonderful, artistic people,” she said, “that just got to expose me to a lot and mold me in these ways, even if they didn’t realize they were doing it and if I didn’t realize.”
In the WSU MFA program, Sanders’ main focus is photography, but she said all MFA students are encouraged to experiment with other media while in the program. Through this experimentation, the students may end up leaving with a different emphasis than they originally came to the program with.