My name is Karin Plante and I am currently a junior biochemistry major here at WPI. I ended up in Light Art after exploring different mediums via Essentials of Art, Digital Imaging and Computer Art, Graphic Design and Glassblowing I. Although this list might suggest I am a digital artist, I actually consider myself heavily a traditional artist: I like to draw, to paint … to create physically with my hands. I believe this quality stems from my beginnings in a Montessori school, which taught wholly with a hands-on based curriculum. The first time when I actually considered myself somewhat artistic, however, was when I decided to take up art lessons outside of school in 9th grade. I had always had art classes previously in school, however with the move to high school and my decision to pursue music with the one free elective I had (I play alto saxophone), there was no longer any room in my class schedule. It was in these art lessons that I learned to slow down and enjoy the process whereas previously in school art classes, everyone rushed to finish and move on. I explored many new mediums in this setting, too, such as gouache, printmaking (of many types), oil painting, metalworking as well as others. I have to say I enjoyed printmaking the most, as it’s very methodical and calming, in addition to the fact that one piece’s influence could be spread a lot more.
.Creatively, I am inspired by other artists, as well as nature. While I don’t find myself creating landscapes, I do tend to focus on animal subject matter quite often, a subject that appears across many different mediums I’ve worked with. Included are a few examples: firstly, an owl print, created via etching into acrylic plastic with modified printmaking tools. I really like this technique, as both the presence and intensity of the ink can be altered by how deep the etching is in each particular area. This is perhaps my favorite print (possibly tied with the gorilla print), as the work was very detailed, even requiring me to use a jeweler’s magnifying glass set-up to etch individual hairs and/or feathers.
I say I am inspired by other artists because I find I need something to reference when creating art. Many artists in the World are incredibly creative and I take inspiration and learn from that creativity in my own way for my pieces. It really is about looking up to and learning from those I consider to be incredible at their craft. Below, left, is a piece I actually created with an intended deeper meaning (most of my artwork I create is out of an interest in depicting a subject as it is rather than to make a comment on some deep philosophical and/or political thing). This artwork, however, was different in that I was trying to comment on and represent all the untold stories behind the news. Many, many things are never mentioned, which I tried to represent as a ghostly figure sort of “trapped” behind the wall of text shown on the front page. I’ve also included a picture of the first time I tried digital painting (I took a digital painting humanities class at WPI in 2014!). I am very proud of this work in particular because I don’t consider myself a digital artist. At the bottom, I’ve included a watercolor still life I completed in my art class outside of school in 2012. I am not a big fan of water color, however I do like how this piece turned out.
Although I have no experience with programming and electronics (beyond simple fiddling), I look to combine what I am comfortable with in other traditional forms in light art. In the future, I’d like to continue with art. I think that, not only is it relaxing, but the principles of creativity and expression the arts promote can also be applied to STEM and the field(s) which I chose to pursue.