Clarksville, Ark. --- A thing of beauty is a joy forever ? and sometimes it wins prizes too!
Ginny Gardner, a sophomore art major at Ozarks, has won third prize at the Collegiate Art Exhibition and Competition at the River Valley Arts Center in Russellville. The art competition was one of less than five annual statewide competitions targeting university fine arts students. Notification and an invitation to participate in the competition and exhibition were sent to all public and private colleges and universities in the state. Gardner’s winning artwork, titled Self Portrait x3, is a mixed media collage.
"I was a little skeptical of winning," said the effervescent native of Little Rock. "You never know in competitions – obviously you’re at the mercy of the judges. But I was really happy because the piece was one I had done for Professor Harrington during my first semester Basic Design class, a three-panel self-portrait done with cut-out shapes."
Ginny said majoring in art at Ozarks has been a great experience. "I’ve taken photography, Art History, print making – print making is really cool, but it’s painstaking work. You have to make the plate first, and then there’s the challenge of trying to get all the copies to come out the same."
She said art in school is all about being creative on deadline. "I erase things so much, and things always turn out differently than you meant them to. Sometimes that’s good." Her advice to unsure artists: "Go for it. Art’s just one of those things, you do it or you don’t. People say, ‘Oh, I can’t even draw a stick figure.’ Well, at one time I couldn’t draw a stick figure either. But if you want to do it, do it."
Asked for her preferences in style, she said, "I’m really into graphic design in my work, and art that uses those techniques. I get a lot of inspiration for my work from nature, and I’m a big fan of recycling old materials into new art."
Ginny said she had known she wanted to be an artist since a watercolor class in second grade, and that in high school at Mount Saint Mary’s in Little Rock, she focused on her work as an artist. She also worked four years in a pottery studio as a teen, painting continuously through those years, and at age 14 worked at a camp for mentally and physically challenged adults, which she described as a "good, positive, but hard" experience.
The future remains wide open for Ginny. "Right now I am planning to pursue teaching certification. Grad school I’m not sure about yet." She added, however, she loves Memphis, and that the Memphis School of Art was a possibility down the road.
Her summer plans include working with pre-schoolers at the Ozark Valley Day School, but also a trip to Ibiza, off the coast of Spain, with her uncles, as well as the WakarusaMusic & Camping Festival at Mulberry Mountain in June. "I love the music festivals," she said with a grin.