February 23, 2024

Visual art comes in many different and distinct forms. Whether it is graphic design, photography, painting or even stickers, every piece of art has a story behind it.

However, when that art is purchased from a store, the creative source behind it remains a mystery. When supporting a student artist, that mystery is solved: The purchaser knows exactly where their money is going and the experience is much more intimate and individualized.

Kate Fuller, junior graphic design major, said she designs to inspire.

“I want people to see that freelance is a really cool way to produce something that in- spires,” Fuller said. “I feel like big companies miss that.”

Fuller said she is an advocate of using small companies for design purposes, such as logos and product design.

“It is cheaper to go to a large firm where you can have your project being tossed between hundreds of people,” Fuller said, “but having a few focused solely on you is much more valuable because you as the consumer have a lot more con- trol over what happens.”

Kaitlyn Merced, sophomore communication studies major, runs an Etsy page selling stickers she designs herself. She said the experience buyers have when purchasing art from her is very different than the experience they would have at a store.

“When you buy art from places like Target and Ross, it’s a lot less personal than buying directly from an artist,” Merced said. “It may be less expen- sive to grab that print o the shelf, but you’re not supporting the person who created that in the first place whatsoever.”

Merced said she likes to focus on the little things many do not think about, such as packaging and business cards. She said she believes those things can make a big di erence in the experience for both the seller and buyer.

“When you buy something from a small business, you’re creating a relationship with them. You’re supporting their cause,” Merced said.

Natalie Codding, sophomore graphic design major, began working on commission to raise money for her International Service Project last summer. The self-proclaimed “newbie” to the art scene offered to create paintings for friends and family in return for financial support.

“ISP ended and people were still asking for paintings,” Cod- ding said. “They said, ‘I still want to support you. You’re doing art and that’s awesome.’ I had no idea how willing people were to support me.”

Codding said support like this encouraged her to continue doing comissioned work.

However, creativity is not without its challenges. Codding called some commissions an awkward process but said she also found it rewarding be- cause it helped her develop her own trademark artistic style.

“There are some commissions that I don’t really want to do, (but) with every commissioned painting, I get to figure out more about what I like to paint,” Codding said.

When people support student artists, the creators get to expand their clientele, have their work seen, get their talents recognized and have the opportunity to work on their personal technique.

Whether people find themselves redecorating their room and wanting a nice painting, starting a small business and needing a cool logo or giving a gift for Christmas and simply have no idea where to start, supporting student artists is an excellent option.

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