Art style

Highlighting Student Art – The Western Carolinian

West Carolina’s student body is diverse in hobbies ranging from mountain biking and hiking to reading and collecting. Our student body is creative, active and waiting to be recognized. Three students from three different concentrations have agreed to meet with me to show our readers what it is to do art as a student and their responses help others understand that art is alive and for everyone.

Brandon Rice, violinist

Brandon Rice

Q: What kind of art do you create?

A: I make art every time I play/play on my violin! From performing at weddings on my acoustic violin to performing in the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band with my electric violin, the kind of art I present is meant to be shared with anyone!

Q: How did you get started in your profession?

A: It all started when I was 10 and first learned the violin. It obviously took some getting used to holding the instrument and reading the musical notes. However, over the years my performance and confidence level started to increase and eventually led me to where I am today!

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: In terms of music, there are many violinists that I admire and have drawn inspiration from over the years. For example, an extremely talented violinist named Lindsey Stirling is someone I’ve looked up to since I was 10 years old. She is a non-traditional violinist who also dances while playing the violin. I was lucky enough to be able to meet and talk to her in person last December while she was on holiday tour! Other violinists such as Black Violin, Brian King Joseph and Nuttin’ But Stringz are also people I have drawn inspiration from. Being part of one of the best marching bands in the country, this accomplishment drives me to perform at my best and be better with every performance we do!

Q: What difficulties do you encounter as a student and artist?

A: As a black violinist, it’s rare to find someone like me to do what I do. I mentioned Black Violin, Brian King Joseph and Nuttin’ But Stringz as being inspirational to me. All are black men playing the fiddle and striving to be different. It’s my aim. While it’s nice to be compared to other talented people, I want to be the first Brandon Rice that’s different in my own way. This way people can refer to my name in the future.

Q: What do you want people to know about your work?

A: Honestly, I just want people to know that I’m proud of what I produce. It’s not easy to come up with creative ideas when playing the violin, but putting the work and effort into them can exceed your own expectations. I believe in moving people through music. If I can move and inspire people with my violin, then I’ve done my job well.

Timo Cashman, photographer

Timo Cashman

Q: What kind of art do you create?

A: I am a photographer specializing in film photography.

Q: How did you get started in your profession?

A: I got interested in photography because I went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York in 2019. I thought it would be cool to take a camera to New York and take pictures of the city and of my friends. I rented a camera from WCU Tech Commons. It was so much fun taking pictures that I wanted to keep doing it. That summer I took my mom’s camera and started taking pictures of my friends around town and doing experiments, watching videos, etc. One thing led to the next, and eventually people started asking me to take their photos, so I saved up for my own camera, a Sony A7ii. After shooting digital for a few years, I realized that I had more creative potential in film, so I slowly started to ditch the digital format and shoot 35mm. Now all I shoot is film, and I love it.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: I draw my inspiration from cinema, music and especially history. I always think, “how do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?” Ernst Haas is my biggest inspiration. Haas is an Austrian photographer born in 1921 and a pioneer of color film. He was particularly notable for bridging the gap between photojournalism and creative work, starting as a photographer for the Red Cross during World War II, then becoming a creative photographer for MAGNUM alongside Cartier-Bresson, Capa, Bischof and Rodger. Haas was the first to have a color photo exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Haas is such a big inspiration to me. He believed that there were no rules in photography. He also believed that a black and white photograph is not a photograph without color, and a color photograph is not just a black and white photograph with color.

The work of Timo Cashman

Q: What difficulties do you encounter as a student and artist?

A: Being a student photographer has its challenges. No one really understands that photography is a real job. It’s not “just taking pictures”. A lot of time is spent on education, editing, publishing, film development, printing, scheduling, making contacts and working behind the scenes that people don’t know about or they don’t pay much attention. It’s always more than just a push of a button.

Q: What do you want people to know about your work?

A: Photography is a time capsule. It is the capture of light, space, time, humanity and creation in the composition of a frame that you can look back on and can never be recreated again. Don’t shoot for other people and never try to force emotions or find a style. Shoot for yourself and make your art both a reflection and an extension of yourself.

Jenna Cary, oil painter

Jenna Cary

Q: What kind of art do you create?

A: My favorite media are painting and drawing.

Q: How did you get started in your profession?

A: I started very young. In my house, art was always encouraged because my grandmother was also an artist.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: My inspiration comes from all around me. I use memories, friendships and experiences I’ve had to create new works.

Jenna Cary’s work

Q: What difficulties do you encounter as a student and artist?

A: Something I’ve struggled with as an artist and student is coming up with new ideas and supporting myself financially. Being an artist can sometimes be a very expensive hobby/career, but it’s worth it in the end because it’s how I express myself and communicate my experiences to the world.

Q: What do you want people to know about your work?
A: I want others to know that I look forward to sharing my experiences as an Arts Education major with my future students!