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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Inspiration in art: Three students are finding ways to be creative in quarantine

Student artists use quarantine as “an opportunity” to dive into their passions 

Maxine Aiello, Natalie Tate and Sally Ellberg are three UC Davis students that have found comfort in art, utilizing creative outlets in order to present a new narrative of the world. By analyzing their styles, backgrounds and intentions, these artists each provide a unique understanding of how art surpasses pen and paper, as well as how it can become an integral part of every person’s life. 

Aiello, a fourth-year studio art major, makes art focused on the environment and climate change, using recycled materials for sculptures. She is responsible for the mirrored pieces on the trees throughout UC Davis’ campus — creating living designs out of her passion for the environment. 

In her studio art major, she discovered the therapeutic aspects of doodling, finding it to be an easy and effective way to stimulate a creative mind.  

“I doodle a lot for someone that loves art and takes it seriously,” Aiello said. “I would say that doodling is the most fun, freeing and beneficial. It may not turn out as a masterpiece, but it’s a way for you to find out what you like to draw if you can find patterns in the things that you doodle. For me it was aliens, […] so eventually I went with it and started developing the doodles a little more into a particular style with a particular message. I use them as a metaphor for ourselves, often portraying the less beautiful sides of our personalities.”

One of Aiello’s main inspirations is Agnes Martin, an artist who paints with lines or grid patterns, advocating for personal discovery through art.

“[Martin] said she paints with her back to the world, which I think is great advice you need to follow when making art,” Aiello said. “You need to tune into yourself and shut out the rest.”

Tate, a second-year biological science major, also finds solace through her art and has used quarantine to develop her interest in portraits. She works in color as well as black and white, experimenting with different compositions in order to portray feeling and reaction. 

“I saw quarantine as an opportunity to really dive into my passions and hopefully teach myself something new,” Tate said. “I love how experimental art is — there’s so many abstract styles that I’m drawn to, and I’m constantly getting new inspirations and ideas from other artists. At the moment, portrait art is my absolute favorite just because they capture so much emotion and I love to play around with different facial expressions and color schemes.”

Ellberg, a fourth-year biological sciences major, shared the inspiration behind her paintings, which incorporate female power and natural beauty. Her artwork portrays dancing women, angry tigers and orange trees, all of which are composed with vibrant colors.

Ellberg said quarantine has allowed her to continue to craft her art, finding ample free time among the endless days. 

“A lot of my inspiration comes from a compilation of artists I have been following on Instagram for the last few years,” Ellberg said. “Try discovering artists you really like and you might notice a theme — like materials used, content depicted, et cetera — that is similar in all of them. That’s ultimately how I found my style: realizing through all my favorite artists that they were all abstract with elements of nature and women.”

Written by: Athena Aghighi — features@theaggie.org


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