A.P Draw, Paint, Print Senior Spotlight Interview: Sally Barksdale ’21

A.P Draw, Paint, Print Senior Spotlight Interview: Sally Barksdale

 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. 

What is the central idea of your concentration?

My concentration is a personal reflection of the role of technology in our lives. Especially after quarantine, and finding the majority of my days focused on a screen, I wanted to highlight the large role it plays in my own life. While there are numerous benefits, it can become addicting. I chose to explore that feeling with my concentration.

How does your work demonstrate the exploration of your idea?
I am using a central motif of glasses (specifically blue-light glasses, which I bought during quarantine to dull the headaches of hours spent staring at my computer) as a symbol of technology and addiction. In many pieces, they reflect something in white- often code, a screen, or a matrix- to demonstrate a focus on technology, which contrasts the black charcoal of the background. The borders of each piece mimic computer screens, and the cropped compositions are meant to show a limited perspective.

How has the idea evolved over the year?

It has changed quite a lot! I began with a plan to focus on various scientific fields, but after my first piece, I realized that topic was too broad. I really enjoyed capturing the contrast and reflections in the clear glasses I used because it provided a challenge, so I repeated that image in later pieces and narrowed my topic down to computer science.

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

I have been very focused on light reflection, unique compositions, and the contrast between black and white charcoal. My process starts with taking an original reference photo that incorporates these elements. I often do this at night so that I can control the reflections onto the glasses, and use photo editing apps to add contrast, overlaid images, or other tools to make each photo unique. I found a lot of inspiration in the way blue-light glasses clearly reflect screens but nothing else, so I often display an image on my computer and then position the glasses so it is reflected on the lens. From there, I grab some neutral-colored paper (so the white charcoal can really stand out), tape the edges for a clean border, and get to work. 

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

I hope the viewer will see the development of the idea throughout and the shared theme between pieces.

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 started in ninth grade with Draw, Paint, & Print 1. I enjoyed art as an underclassman, but really began to feel independent during my junior year. I had a breakthrough at the beginning of senior year as well when I did my first concentration piece; I loved the medium and was inspired by the topic. It has been rewarding to continue through the concentration and watch my ideas and creativity grow.