Category: Art

Passion for art

Staff Writer

Have you met Rachael Mays? She is a junior at VWC who loves chocolate, cheesy romantic comedies, long walks on the beach and she has a serious passion for all things artistic.
Psychology is Mays’ major, but her passion drove her to take up art as a minor. Mays pursued art all throughout high school, but she did not decide to choose art as a minor until her second semester at Virginia Wesleyan College.
When she enrolled in a painting course, she realized something was missing; it was like “an athlete getting back into their game,” said Mays. It seems that her passion had been woken up from its long dormant slumber, and she could not turn away from it.
While studying at VWC, Mays has taken courses in painting, ceramics, digital art and is currently enrolled in sculpture. Ceramics and painting stand out as her favorite forms of artwork, but acrylic painting is what captivates her most.
“With ceramics, once your piece is fired, it’s done,” said Mays. “You can almost always add something to your painting later on.”
The painters who most inspire Mays are Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Johannes Vermeer. She admires the stories that are behind their artwork, as well as their pieces’ unique and realistic qualities.
Mays prefers to learn about art by getting hands on experience rather than listening to someone simply talk about the procedures. Mays said that one of the most valuable lessons that she has learned through her art courses at Wesleyan is that “not everyone will like your work, so you have to accept that and stand behind your piece.”
Although art is her passion, Mays does not plan on taking it up as a career. Instead, she plans to continue expressing herself through art in her spare time after graduation and to really take pleasure in it.

Create something beautiful

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Virginia Wesleyan has an art magazine, and it needs you!

Is your brain currently moving at two hundred miles per hour or faster, churning out ideas about short stories, poetry and photographs at a ridiculously fast pace and forcing you to feel the seemingly insatiable need for some type of outlet to get all of those wonderful ideas down?
If so, grab a pen or laptop and start furiously writing or typing, or maybe reach for that Nikon and start snapping away. The Virginia Wesleyan Outlet is back and preparing for another wonderful, art filled issue later this year, and they want you to submit your work.
Once a year every year, students from our very own community unleash their creative sides and create masterful works of short fiction, poetry, photography, visual art and other forms of various creative processes and allow the fruits of their labor to be seen by the entire campus.
The system is almost entirely student run and very confidential. If those of you writing about touchy subjects or taking questionable pictures want to use a pen name of sorts, the editors openly welcome it, but regardless of the content the Outlet wants your submission, even if you are new to the art form you chose or if you are a veteran of your field.
Your entry could be a poem about feeling fresh before a festive night of fun-filled parties, or a short story about the time you think you saw a unicorn running across the quad in front of the café.
Your photographs can be of a flower that has a small bee with bright yellow pollen sticking to its furry little bee-legs or it can be of a group of children running down Mount Trashmore laughing and screaming.
The paintings submitted can be of a bowl of fruit sitting silently on a satin cloth, or of your nude grandmother. Whatever the subject matter, however serious, the Outlet wants to see what the students of our wonderful college are capable of creating with their beautiful minds.
Everyone has a creative streak somewhere in their bodies and it only takes a little nudge to wake it up. The Outlet wants to be more of a tackle than a nudge in hopes that nearly every student will branch out and try to apply their skills to some new form of expression.
No matter what it may be, the outcome will be beautiful, and it deserves to be published in its splendor admist other works of art.
Get those pens moving, those shutters snapping and those paintbrushes swiping and send your submissions to, or contact The Outlet’s editor, Tori Macoul at Submissions will be reviewed after Christmas break.
Additionally, any questions about deadlines, submission types, art forms or content can be directed to Tori at the above email.
The Outlet values and loves the students at Virginia Wesleyan, so even if you do not submit anything, tell your friends and keep an eye out for this gem later in the year.

The fruits of their labor on display

Arts & Entertainment Editor

Virginia Wesleyan art faculty members display what they have been working on for students and friends

The faculty/staff art show held on Wednesday, Sept. 5 was a great success. The show allowed for faculty and staff from VWC to display their artistic ability in the Neil Britton Gallery in the Hofheimer Library on campus.
The art show included pieces from many different artistic disciplines including glasswork, ceramics, digital art and painting.
Robin Rogers, glass studio technician at the Chrysler Museum of Art, submitted multiple pieces of glasswork that were created in collaboration with his wife, Julia Rogers, as well as a small team. Rogers called his display “Animalia Fanastica” and described it as an autobiographical work, which illustrated the balance and treatment of food sources in nature. Rogers joined forces with his wife and a crew of glass workers to make a set of glass statuettes that comment on the environment and how humans and animals interact. For example, one piece featured an eagle that seemed to cherish a fish it had caught, which differs from the position of how mankind constantly over fishes and does not cherish their food as an eagle would. The pieces of art were striking and displayed the fragile relationship we as humans have with our food sources and the way that we treat them.
Another piece presented at the show was Cellular Reliquary 2013 by Charlotte Potter, glass studio manager at the Chrysler Museum of Art. Potter describes her work as “a celebration and memorial honoring the relationship of dog and owner.” The display was made as an exploration of cellular structures and incorporated the cremated remains of Potter’s deceased canine.
“This examination of material and form allowed me to continue to actively engage with my lost companion, even in the afterlife,” said Potter. The work was beautiful, and the sentimentality behind it added a depth and meaning that transcends words.
For teachers and faculty members to put their work on display at the college was a little window into the hands behind the faces. Their students are taught by them every class period, but may rarely get to see their personal work. Art shows like this could possibly spring up for different disciplines within the community. Each professor is required to stay active within the field that they represent and teach, and therefore have material that can be shared or put on exhibit, if they so please. To see the work of the teachers students here at Virginia Wesleyan look up to and are taught by would be an interesting experience.
The show had a great turn out and promised good things for the Nomadic Glass glass blowing demonstration that will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during homecoming. The demonstration will include artwork produced by the creative minds at the Chrysler Museum of Art and will act as an advertisement for the Museum as well as for the glass blowing classes now held at Virginia Wesleyan College.
The talent of the teachers is reflected by the students that they mentor and pass their skills and traits on to here at Virginia Wesleyan College.

Artist spotlight: Ashley Hill

Tim Pepper
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Junior Ashley Hill has always loved art. Her parents were always supportive of her creativity and she often remembers her mother having craft projects for her to do on rainy days. As a child she would receive art books from her aunt and uncle every Christmas, each specializing in a different type of art project.
Hill also recalls taking art classes at the Dover Art League, a non-profit organization based in Dover, DE that is dedicated to creating opportunities to grow in artistic ability for artists of all ages and skill sets. Although classes at this institution were expensive, making it so Hill could only take a few of them, they fueled her passion for art. This allowed her to not only create art, but to profit from it.
The number of artistic options provided at Virginia Wesleyan College surprised Hill when she first arrived here. She found that the art professors here are great and that the programs offered here, such as glassblowing, are experiences that she would rarely be able to find at any other school.
“We are actually working with real artists,” said Hill. “I never would have been able to have experiences like glassblowing anywhere else.”
Outside of the academics, Hill is also involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) and The Outlet. As a junior senator in SGA, Hill is working hard to speak up for the student body at VWC. The Outlet is a publication on campus that dedicates itself to recognizing the untapped creative talent stored on campus.
Hill is passionate about the publication and hopes to see more art sent in in the future.
“We really want more people to start submitting their art,” said Hill. “It would really help to recognize the artists we have here on campus.”
Hill’s dream is to use her art and business double major to become a small business owner. She plans to create a shop that allows local artists to promote and sell their art. Hill hopes that by doing this she will be able to help unknown artists to make a name in the art world. Hill believes that more artists should take the art and business route because it allows artists to learn the skills it takes to prosper in the real world as an artist.
“It is a good combination because it uses both sides of your brain,” says Hill. “The business side is important because as an artist you need marketing to get yourself out there and the skills you learn in business will allow you know what to expect when promoting and selling your art and you can do a majority of the business side yourself.”
Hill has recently received a job at Gardens of Virginia Beach retirement facility where she teaches teaching the elderly drawing and art history. She teaches two classes a week, one on the fundamentals of drawing, and the other is a course in which they learn about a new artist every week.
“So far they have learned shading and the color wheel along with depth and three dimensional shapes,” said Hill.
Hill loves quilting and drawing and hopes to help the community when she graduates by joining non-profit organizations that create art around cities.
“Don’t forget to go to the Spring Art Show in the fish bowl right after spring break,” said Hill. “It’s nice when the school recognizes the art students by putting their art up around campus, I think they should do more of that.”
Hill is one of many talented artist on campus, and has high aspirations for her artistic future on campus, and beyond.

Marlin artist spotlight

Maria Marinelli
Staff Writer

Shawn Riley takes his woodturning abilities to amazing heights with each piece.

At 52, Shawn Riley neither looks like a “typical” Virginia Wesleyan student, nor the stereotype of an “artist.” An unassuming man with a kind face, Riley possesses a quiet confidence that is unlike the brash boldness that many college students embody and the frantic energy of many would imagine an artist to have. Riley sat down to talk about his art, his inspirations and the journey that led him to our campus.
Growing up in “dairy country,” New York, Riley had an early appreciation for the beauty of nature, and began pursuing art in the 70s as a way to “channel his energy” in school. In 2006, after serving for 21 years in the military, he sold the majority of his possessions, bought a small RV and “went for a drive”. He ended up spending six years traveling the country. Although he says “there are still some places I have to go,” his favorite part of the country was the valleys of Montana. But that wasn’t the only place that left an impact on him. Riley eventually ended up in Alaska, and he and a friend taught themselves how to turn wood.
Turning wood is a process wherein a person mounts a block of wood on a lathe, a piece of woodworking machinery, and then shapes it to the desired appearance. When he makes bowls, he rounds the outsides before hollowing out the inside, and then sands and polishes the bowl. Finishing the piece, he says, is the hardest and longest part of the process, but the pieces that he makes are extraordinary. Some look ordinary, like plain wooden bowls, but others are amazing displays of skill, with finely sharpened lids and intricate carvings.
One of his favorite things about woodcarving and woodturning as an art medium is the level of craftsmanship that goes into the art, and that dedication is clear in his work.
Riley also paints, and he sees the Impressionist painters as a major source of inspiration.
“There’s something about representing a scene in a fashion that nobody else has done before that those guys captured…they developed a school for seeing things from a different point of view,” said Riley. He likes painting for the stress relief that it offers him, especially in winter when he has to deal with the demands of work and school.
He is currently working towards a B.A. in Visual Arts and wants to be able to teach or facilitate art in the future. Virginia Wesleyan appealed to him because of the “welcoming and encouraging” nature of the faculty and the small size of the college. Although he does admit that the small size and age of the art facilities are drawbacks.
When asked about advice for budding artists and art students, Riley said, “Be brave. Express yourself and don’t worry about what other people think of your work.” He lamented the fact that many artists doubt their abilities and don’t finish what they start, so he wants people to “do what you’re going to do” and “follow your vision all the way to the end”.
The advice has certainly worked for him. In addition to participating in art shows across the country, Riley, out of over 1,000 other designers, won the 2012 New Designer Search hosted by The Foundary, a furniture and home décor online store. As a reward, his work was sold during a 48-hour flash sale on their members-only website. Within 24 hours, he had sold over 28 of his pieces. If you’re looking to buy, you can contact him through his email,
What makes Shawn Riley truly stand out from the crowd is his dedication to his craft. He cares deeply about honing his skills and perfecting his work, and it shows in the level of technique and talent exhibited in his art. We, as a community, are truly lucky to have such an artist walk among us.