A.P Draw, Paint, Print Senior Spotlight Interview: Lauren McKinney

The AP Drawing Portfolio is an intensive course, requiring students to produce art at the college level. Students compile a portfolio of 15-20 original artworks demonstrating mastery in composition, technique, and concept. They pursue the WHY behind their own artistic process and participate in weekly critiques of classmates’ work, as well as submit completed pieces approximately every two weeks. Be sure to mark your calendar for the Senior AP Art Portfolio Show in the Berg Gallery on the evening of April 24.

“Lauren McKinney’s graphite drawings show mastery of technique and concept, and she has become an integral part of the art Visual Arts Department at Episcopal,” said instructor Rebecca Hoadley. “She spends free periods in the studio as soon as her homework is completed and helps keep things organized and curates the art around campus. Aside from her helpful presence, Lauren’s artwork has brought beauty to every gallery space on campus. Her drawings show the care and love of a true artist!”

What is the central idea of your concentration, Lauren?

My concentration focuses on the beauty of jewelry that captures the eye while maintaining a simple and delicate style. Through the gray scale of my pieces I attempt to properly portray the glitz and glamour of the accessories shown. The contrast between the bright focal points of each piece on the simple forms of the human body is the challenge that drives my work.

How does your work demonstrate the exploration of your idea?

In producing a delicate style, I enjoy creating a smooth and airy background for the jewelry pieces. Along with the contrast between the bright accessories and the simple background, the process of blending out a velvet-textured surrounding and creating a sharp and defined focal point with only the use of graphite pencils is how I convey my concentration to my audience.

How has your idea evolved over the year?

While building my portfolio, I have discovered new talents in myself and have increasingly found joy in the process of making my pieces. In saying this, I have found deeper meaning in why I chose to use extravagant pieces in my art when I first began my concentration. At first I was primarily interested in the jewelry piece itself but I found myself falling in love with creating the surrounding background of the focal points. My original idea was to focus on jewelry pieces specifically but as time went on I found a desire to use accessories other than jewelry, like my works that contain a metallic belt, a pair of shoes, and a tiara. Opening up my concentration has allowed me to show my artistic skills in various ways.

Can you explain your artistic process? Where do you gain inspiration?

I have always been interested in the simple and delicate aesthetic of jewelry that has carried into the way I dress and the accessories I wear daily. Since I appreciate the beauty of jewelry and I have always enjoyed the simplistic aspects of how graphite looks to the eye. I decided to tackle the contrasting ideas. I use my own jewelry and accessories that I find to be aesthetically pleasing and take specifically angled pictures of the pieces on my body. After sketching the image onto mixed media paper, I use graphite pencils to create my piece. In some of my works I have used a slight amount of white acrylic paint to embellish the brightness of the accessories.

What do you hope the viewer will see in your artwork?

My main goal of my concentration is for my audience to notice the contrasting elements of my pieces and appreciate the ways in which they are unified. I hope my viewers come to find interest in the aesthetic I present in my work.

How long have you been making art? And when did you start to feel independent and like you were truly making your own work?

I officially began studying and making art in the 9th grade. While I did not put much effort in my work at that age I quickly began to fully appreciate the beauty of art and the therapeutic values of making art. In the 11th grade, I truly began to work independently and have voice in my artworks. Having tried most mediums of art, 12th grade I found that graphite is my calling.