Looking for a way to have your photos viewed, your poems and short stories read or your illustrations eyed? Campus Canvas, a new outlet for creatively inclined Broncos, is seeking submissions in the categories of poetry, photography, illustration and more. Prefer to think outside the box; Send us a photo of your non-traditional art including sculpture, graffiti, fashion design or anything artistic.
Art and writing submissions will be reviewed by the editorial staff and if your piece is chosen, your work will be featured in the print edition of The Arbiter along with an artist bio. Please send submissions or questions/comments about Campus Canvas to email@example.com.
Featured Artist: Mike Pennington
In his own home, after a party in January of 2012, Mike Pennington was assaulted and beaten by two men. Just over a year later, Pennington has undergone facial reconstructive surgery, a six-month recovery process and a year’s worth of court proceedings to prosecute his attackers.
“There is still beauty in pain,” said Pennington, senior communication major. “I have had so many experiences in my life, negative and positive. I have never looked at the negative as something that’s actually been bad for me. It’s really easy to get sad in the moment and live the situation and let it play out and have that depression. As soon as that is settled and cleared, I have always looked back at everything as a growing positive experience.”
Beauty in pain is a theme which Pennington said reflects within his art, uniting not only his self-exploratory paintings but also his clothing design and urban artwork. Pennington’s painting heavily involves elements of abstraction, challenging preconceived notions of perspective and exploring the boundaries of landscape.
His painting “Phaedrus” delves into the surreal and depicts a trip Pennington took to Montana.
“I tried to blend a lot of the things I saw and give it a different perspective to where you’re not actually sitting in a landscape and things are just a little bit more chaotic,” Pennington said. “Kind of like the feelings you get when you’re on a whirlwind trip, when you are flooded with so many really fun sites and images and experiences.”
Pennington’s 36×36 canvas painting, “Waterfalls,” was featured in an up-and-coming literary arts magazine published by the Boise School District, doubling as cover art. This piece, while still incorporating elements of landscape and abstraction, also delves into emotive subject matter as it was born from a time in Pennington’s life when a person close to him was dying.
“It was one of those struggles where you can’t do anything to stop what is going to happen and all you can do is try to express yourself because there is that certain amount of frustration,” Pennington said. “You can see that with how chaotic it (“Waterfalls”) is, the colors, the way nothing is really uniform. It is really emotionally fueled.”
“A New Dawn” cumulated from Pennington’s friend’s passing, and is the only piece of work which he has re-visited, deciding to add to what he had originally coined finished. After this painting sat untouched for eight years, Pennington covered his signature, breaking his own conventions and allowing himself to begin re-working and re-visioning this piece.
“It was something I was drawn to, sort of like when you walk down the road and you see the ‘wet cement’ sign where somebody has been repairing the sidewalk. You know your not supposed to touch it, but you have to,” Pennington said. “I don’t think I will resign this painting for a quite a long time because I want it to be one of those constant works in progress.”
Pennington currently utilizes his artistic sensibilities in a more utilitarian sense, working it into his work in public relations as well as clothing creation. A few years ago, he began his own clothing company and currently works in screen-printing amongst other mediums.
“I’ve been able to take something I’m really passionate about and develop that into a life skill that I take into my job,” Pennington said.
While Pennington has certainly turned his passion for art into a well-rounded set of personal and professional skills, there is one thing which he said tops his artistic bucket list: roman sculpture. And true to form, Pennington said this is a dream he plans to not only attempt, but also attain.
“All the struggles in life give you a perspective of how to look inside yourself and overcome them, and that is all I use them for,” Pennington said.