Nicole Velazquez filling in some digital doodles in her room. Photo taken by Nicole Velazquez on sept 24 | Photo by Nicole Velazquez

HSU art students create their way through quarantine

Artists at HSU are experiencing somewhat smooth sailing this semester
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Artists at HSU are experiencing somewhat smooth sailing this semester

Factoring in all the tools, materials and space art students require to create, they more or less have access to everything they need at HSU.

Studio art major at HSU, Nicole Velazquez, already does online sketching on her own time. With her recent courses, however, she’s been focusing a lot more on class related artwork.

“I mostly do digital art right now, because of my classes,” Velazquez said. “It keeps me a little more occupied.”

So far, Velazquez has experienced somewhat rudimentary quarantine classes, leaving her with more time to improve her artistic abilities and explore new art forms. Lately, this hasn’t involved traditional art.

“I don’t really have time,” Velazquez said. “I’ll sketch like here and there.”

Velazquez hasn’t had many issues with online art courses but she misses in-person instruction. When it comes to art, she often draws her creative inspiration from others.

“I like getting criticism,” Velazquez said. “I just feel like, if I don’t have someone telling me something, I will personally bring my art piece down.”

Brittany Sheldon is an instructor in the Art department whose main course revolves around art history. Sheldon is still adapting to the new normal of teaching.

“It is all based on equity,” Sheldon said. “Just trying to be as equitable as possible and accessible as possible for my students, while also trying to recreate whatever I do in the classroom normally.”

Sheldon’s classes this semester are mostly asynchronous. By allowing students to have more flexibility, Sheldon hopes this will make her classes more accessible for students.

“I have Zoom office hours and I was doing weekly Zoom sessions that were optional,” said Sheldon. “Students didn’t get a grade for that – it was an opportunity for them to come and ask questions or talk to each other.”

At this point, students enrolled in Sheldon’s courses this semester seem to be passing. Sheldon has relaxed deadlines for assignments and is doing her best to be helpful and understanding but it is hard to tell how her students are doing from a screen.

“I field their emails and just respond with empathy,” said Sheldon. “I am just trying to be there for my students.”

Alex Pickrell majors in child development at HSU and minors in studio art. They’re using their excess quarantine time to explore more art forms and experiment with current projects.

“I’ve also started doing collages with my old pieces,” Pickrell said. “Which I’ve never done before.”

Living off campus, Pickrell has more room to explore their creativity as well as different art forms. They have their own space to create and express themselves without distractions.

“I’ve been living off campus for about three years, so I kind of turned my apartment into my own little art studio,” Pickrell said. “It makes it a really nice space to work.”

Pickrell typically creates abstract artwork. They’re currently taking two art classes where they’re exploring entirely new styles.

“I decided to do left hand vs. right-hand painting,” Pickrell said. “Just because I usually only paint with my right hand and I’ve only ever done a set of paintings once.”

The struggles of quarantine are plentiful, but Pickrell figures, we can either wallow in our misfortune or we can rise to the occasion and make the best of a bad situation.

“I’ve just been trying to get out of my comfort zone,” Pickrell said.

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