Art Student Finishes Year Strong

By: Haley Brooks

The Square in Oxford was packed this weekend for Double Decker with well-known local artists.  One tent in particular attracted the attention of customers for wide variety of art including prints of cactuses, still photos, and Double Decker memorabilia.

A chalk-written message on the street welcomed customers into the booth saying, “Come get some student art!”

The array of art in the booth did not come from a single artist; instead it is the work of the art students at the University of Mississippi who saw Double Decker as a chance to have their art introduced to the public.

“This is just an awesome opportunity to get a sales aspect because being an art student you don’t really sell your work to the public yet,” said Ashley Irvin, a senior art student who is pursuing a B.F.A., Bachelors of Fine Arts, in photography.

Frank Estrada displayed his eye-catching prints of Day of the Dead skulls, double decker buses, and graffiti art.  Estrada is a senior that is double majoring in Sociology and pursuing a B.FA. in printmaking.

“I enjoy art,” Estrada said.  “As a little kid I always enjoyed making art, but I didn’t think I would go into art school. Just a few years ago though I decided to follow my heart.”

Following his heart brought Estrada to the University of Mississippi and the art department at Meek Hall, which is a short drive from his large family in Memphis, Tenn.

Ole Miss is the only art program in Mississippi that offers Bachelors of Fine Art and Masters of Fine Art in studio art said Katherine Fields, who is the instructor in charge of the printmaking program.

Estrada draws inspiration from his Mexican-American culture and heritage and incorporates them into his art like the Day of the Dead skull prints that he displayed at Double Decker.

Estrada credits his teachers for helping him become a better artist and find a new medium to express himself.

“I never knew what printmaking was until I started my art degree.  Since then I’ve been learning a lot of different processes and techniques,” Estrada said.

Printmaking is the process of ink being transferred a single original surface and then transposed to materials like paper, fabric, wood or stone.  The process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, or “print”.

“From my experience, I can say that in order to pursue a life as a printmaker, it takes a dedicated individual to process and implement the techniques,” Fields said.

“I would like to learn all I can and maybe head to graduate school to get my Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking.  At this point, I haven’t decided if I want to stay here at Ole Miss or find another art program at a different school,” Estrada said.

Estrada needs only one or two more classes to finish his emphasis in printmaking.  Because those classes are only offered in the spring semester, he said he would like to experiment in other art mediums and possibly get another art degree.

“Having a B.F.A. does not make one an artist, it just simply allows the student more time to develop and have exposure to a variety of advanced course work,” Fields said.

Estrada said, “I like to make art for the people, and one day I would love to see my art exhibited in galleries.”

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