Caught in the Act

posted in: Art | 0

Student artists found late at night, hard at work


Photo Essay | Robyn Smith

Intrigued by how late some student artists stay in the studio, one of our writers wandered around Duke Hall with a camera to see what our fellow students are actually doing in there all night. From sculptures to paintings, the artists were working on a variety of creative projects. Here are a few we caught in the act.


Brittany Sink, senior, fine arts major with a printmaking concentration works on a design in the printmaking studio while her assistant John Harvey, a fifth year studio art major with a graphic design concentration looks on.



What are you making?

Just this leaf print, and I’ve been working on it forever.

How long is forever?

Two months. Pretty much since the beginning of the semester. It’s taken a really long time to carve and then the stuff that I was using it was a different material so it fell apart and it’s been difficult.

What’s your inspiration?

i was just inspired by like fall really and I usually do stuff with animals… I want to be a childrens book illustrator so I have a kiddish style. It’s cute.

What’s your inspiration as an artist?

I like to make things that I like. I just want to make the world a cuter place I guess.

What is the media?

Um, it’s just a relief on sintra and litho ink.


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Nic Boshart, a junior studio art major with a concentration in painting and drawing, occupied a painting studio on the top floor of Duke.



What are you working on?

Um, just some paintings for class I guess. It’s for intro painting so 252, and um, yeah. They’re pretty different but I’m working on a couple.

What’s your inspiration?

Oh gosh. I think a lot about science and about religion and philosophy and things like that, so a lot of my work pulls from those pools of thought. The one on the left is a map of cognition in a way so its … kind of the stuff i like to do.

What’s your inspiration as artist?

That’s a toughie.


No it’s okay. i don’t know. I guess I’m really interested in both the natural world and the world of thought. So I’m really inspired by like, the thinkers of philosophy. I like to read Plato and that kind of stuff. I guess just sort of how we take in the world around us and what we do with it. I don’t know if that makes sense. I don’t think it does. My inspiration as an artist is human interaction with the world I suppose. Whatever’s inspiring to most people, I guess.

How long have you been working on these?

It’s probably the fifth hour. Something like that.

What medium are you using?

Oil paint. That one has some sharpie in it.The rest is oil paint.




Upstairs, we found Alex Foster, a senior studio art major with a fibers concentration, in a computer lab working on a new sculpture using scrap metal.

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What are you working on?

I’m just free weaving on these scrap metal pieces. I’m not exactly … I’m just kind of experimenting and so we’ll see what ends up happening. I’m a little excited.

How long have you been working on it?

Well, I’ve been working on it for probably like a week or two. But I’ve had the stuff for a long time.

Where did the stuff come from?

A car shop. I just went in and was like ‘Do you have any scrap metal?’ and they just gave me some.

What was your inspiration for this piece?

Um, I was kind of thinking about bodies — like these remind me of torsos and bodies falling apart and just sitting around. Yeah, I don’t know. I’m mostly interested in the form and what I can do with it.

What’s your inspiration as an artist?

Probably the world around me and things that I come in contact with and see and just things that are happening all the time, so emotion and color and form.


Behind a closed door, we heard music and decided to knock. Robert Mertens, a visiting assistant fibers professor, opened the door. Mertens attaches bone transducers which create sound from his interactive sculptures.



How long have you been working on it?

I’ve been working with these for years. Um, but this one’s brand new. They’re not a new technology by any standard. They were really popular in the 70s. You would get them and mount them to your wall; for some reason people wanted to turn their houses into speakers.

You’re just playing with it right now?

Right now I’m just playing with it. I mount them to my sculptures. So eventually what they do is start to shake and shimmer. A base shaker is what they’d be called. Um, when they’re at a large scale and they focus just on the base frequencies. So I use them more for activating my sculpture to give it life.

How long did it take you to make that?

Um, not that long. About a month. I haven’t been working on it as much as I should be.

What was your inspiration behind it?

This piece, I’m looking at some of Felix Gonzalez Torres’ light pieces, as well as looking at Sheila Hicks’ fabric spills, kind of creating these hybrids.

What’s the media you used?

This is largely LED light rope, um VHS tape and electrical cord and I’m coiling it. It’s a basketry technique and I’m not using it the way it would be intended.