Samuel Strong ’12 (Coplay, Pa.) has always been interested in art as a way to express stories or ideas about different worlds and characters.
“I guess you could say that I started out as an illustrator,” says the art major. “I’ve bounced all over the spectrum of visual expression-at one point I was training to be an industrial designer-so I tend to bring diverse influences to my work. In the end, though, I still care most about expressing a story or a character’s personality. I always return eventually to that.”
With Strong’s piece “Lust/Heathaze,” the character he is exploring is himself.
“It was an attempt to show the more devilish, fiery part of my personality,” he says. “I tried to play up the luciferian goatee and hair a bit, and deliberately chose very hot tones to convey that idea.”
“Lust/Heathaze” is on display at American Impressions, a national juried print and book arts show at the Ben Shahn Galleries at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. The exhibition runs Jan. 30-March 4.
“This is quite an accomplishment given that it was national in scope and that he was in competition with professional artists,” says Curlee Holton, Roth Professor of Art and director of Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute.
The exhibition was open to all artists residing in the United States, so Strong was competing against printmakers of all skill levels.
“It is definitely a competition geared towards professional artists,” he adds.
Once he received notice of his acceptance into the show, Strong had to work quickly to prepare the piece for the exhibition.
“I had a very limited time in which I needed to get the piece matted, framed, and shipped to the gallery. This was my first time doing any of that on a professional level, so there were a few days of panicked scrambling and significant help from other artists I know before everything was ready to be shipped out,” he says.
After Lafayette, Strong plans to go on to graduate school with the goal of becoming a professor. “I hope that the inclusion of my work in this show will allow me to stand out from other applicants,” he says.
Strong says studying at Lafayette has helped him grow as an artist.
“At Lafayette I have begun to loosen up and explore more experimental processes and subjects for my art. Working with Professor Holton has been great; he has forced me to challenge myself creatively in his classes,” he says.