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SMSU Senior Art Exhibition, Spring 2021

Jesseca King, senior, art major

Jesseca King

Artist Statement:

The Road Moving Forward

I did not truly start delving into the world of art until I was eighteen years old, with graphic design not coming into the picture until I was twenty-three and attending Southwest Minnesota State University. During this time, I have taken many different art classes and classes for graphic design and loved every moment of the path I took. In regard to my artwork, I want to have more experience in realism for both two-dimensional and three-dimensional aspects, though three dimensional will take more time. I want to continue having color or a limited color palette where needed and to be able to express myself clearly through the art I create. For graphic design, I wish to have both complexity and simplicity in my designs, but have them more toward simplicity, and to be able to convey the client’s wishes satisfactorily.


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Derrick Gahitira, senior, art major

Derrick Gahitira

Artist Statement:

My graphic design is driven by the need to find creative ways to communicate visual ideas in relation to a specific brand. I make it my goal to develop a diverse body of design because it improves my ability as a graphic designer. I design logos, brochures, advertisements, newsletters, websites, annual letters and business cards. However, I keep an open mind therefore I remain ever eager to learn and adapt to various forms of design. I generate solutions with a vital consideration for message delivery, execution and presentation. When designing for a brand, I start by doing research on the brand and then I draft design solutions and finally I choose one of the designs for implementation. Drafting several design solutions helps ensure that I choose a good design quality that helps raise brand awareness. Throughout the design process, feedback from the client is what ensures that I deliver a product they are satisfied with. When designing for a brand, colors, typography and imagery are key to designing around the esthetic of the brand. My designs are derived/inspired by various periods in art history including the modern and Victorian period. The invitation to my senior graduation exhibit was designed with a Victorian pattern in the background. In all my designs, I am inspired by the notion that continuous improvement and hard work is the only way I can grow as a graphic designer.



Abbey Baumann

Artist Statement:


The human figure has always been a constant theme throughout my work. Even in elementary into high school, I vividly remember always drawing or painting and doodling humans in some kind of form. My love for the human form really stuck the first time I took Figure Drawing here at SMSU.

Each medium tells a story of its own. The first oil painting, ‘Tragedy of Belief,’ depicts me in a face-off between trauma and health. This sets the tone for the beginning of my story. The symbol being presented represents awareness for sexual assault survivors. The next painting, ‘Outer Body Experience,’ represents how I got myself through the difficult times/situations I have experienced. the symbol is small and, in the corner, as it does not define me anymore. The last painting, ‘Freedom,’ is how I see my life now. Yeah, there is still things that trigger me or set me back; however, I have found peace and have grown into this woman who knows her worth and will not take anything less. I have been through the dirty and it is my time to shine.

The drawings tell a different story. They are completed using my H graphite pencils to create a soft ambience with the human figure. This Trio shows you that no matter what you have been through. How you have been beaten down or burned in the past. That it has nothing to do with the beauty you hold within yourself.

The sculptures are my personal favorites. There are not as many plus size sculptures being showcased these days. I brought it upon myself to create sculptures that people can relate to. Your body is beautiful and should be celebrated.  There is too much body shame and negativity in the world. We owe it to ourselves to Love our body and who we are as people. It took me a long time to learn this through my experiences in life.

Each person has a different method of working through difficult situations in life; especially when it comes to sharing these situations. Some people journal, some people exercise; well, I art. I find it severely hard to express my thoughts through word; however, art has remained a strong contender of how I share my thoughts and experiences.



Ashley Lucas

Artist Statement:

8 Places

(a work in progress)


This body of work is an exploration of my personal trauma, rape, sexual assault, and PTSD. In its creation, I hoped to achieve personal healing, societal awareness, and to create a space for rape survivors to feel validated. Sadly, this story is not just my own. Every single woman in my family, save my four year old, has been sexually assaulted. Almost every friend of mine and friends of my children have been raped, sexually assaulted, and harassed, some as young as five. We carry these experiences around with us like tarnished stains on our souls. We carry the shame, the fear, the rage, and the internalized self-blame. Too often we have spent many afternoons sharing our stories, comforting each other, and trying to make sense as to why this is our world. This body of work is an attempt at sharing with the outside world my inner pain.

Through paint I am telling my story and sharing the places where I have become stuck. These images represent the locations of some of the most traumatic experiences of my life. They have fundamentally shifted the course of my life and I will never be the same. Through the choppy, thick, blurred knife strokes of paint I hope to evoke the sense of memory, fear, emptiness, and sometimes horrific violence. As a coping mechanism developed over the years, I have tried my best to block the faces and actions of my attackers, but the places, the places are where I become stuck. During my PTSD flashbacks and in my nightmares I am suddenly transported back into the spaces where some of the worst moments of my life occurred, reliving the utter heart gripping terror, feelings of helplessness, and disgust.

There are several reasons that I felt compelled to create this body of work and I have been planning its conception for several years. I believe art and the creative process can a powerful form of healing. Over the course of creating this body of work, I faced some of my biggest fears head on. In doing this I took away some of the power these places hold over my life. While painting I allowed myself to feel several decades worth of emotions. I felt emptiness and nauseated. I cried, shook, and yelled. At times I was so anxious I would pace about my home as if trying to run away from something. In painting this body of work, I allowed myself the space to feel, to grieve, to feel outrage, and to feel empowered. By the end of each painting I felt a sense of release, experiencing a cathartic process of letting go.

Furthermore, this artworks exists as an effort at ending the stigma surrounding rape. Unfortunately, my story and those of my loved ones are not unique. Rape, sexual assault, and harassment can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. It is most often with people we know. Rape survivors not only must carry their trauma, but they must also fear the judgement of society. This fear perpetuates survivor’s inner guilt, which can be as damaging as the initial trauma. In creating this body of work I hope to expose the societal issue of rape culture and to create a space for dialogue, validation, and awareness. I also hope to create a space for rape survivors to simply be able to feel their emotions and to know they are not alone.




Animesh Maharjan

Artist Statement:

As an artist I strongly focus on concept of design and development in many different contexts and media. Being an international student, I believe that diversity is also an important aspect for an artist. I also believe that art is about communication and making connections between people. Art moves people, brings them joy, makes people think but most of all art is fun for me.

My designs have the similar focus on communication and attention to detail. When creating a logo for example I will consider how it will appear in the different contexts such as web display, printing and large banner ads. This is essential to create a design that will not only look good in various contexts but be adaptable as well. Also, my graphic designs have a strong focus on subtle design and development which even a non-artist can understand easily.

Graphic Design has the potential to be used in an amazing amount of relevance. That is not to say that traditional form of art is outdated and useless. Quite the contrary, my graphic design ability is only possible due to strong foundation in traditional art forms. As an extension of this I also do photography and photo manipulations which is the first thing I started off with to enter the world of art.


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Amanda Linville

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