Student artists interpret Common Reader. Lynn Library exhibit features winning competition entries

Don Caviness' first place winning entry

February 8, 2012

By CHAD FEWELL| Ranger Reporter

Winning and finalist entries in Amarillo College’s inaugural Common Reader Visual Arts Competition are on display in a special exhibit on the first floor of Lynn Library.

The student competition was organized by Rene West, a photography instructor, to work hand-in-hand with AC’s 2011-2012 Common Reader selection, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer.

“The rules of the competition were to respond to the book literally, emotionally or through their own experiences, which leaves the book open to interpretation,” West said.

Thirteen finalists and four winners were selected from dozens of entries in the competition.

“We had $500 worth of rewards to distribute among the student winners,” West said.

Don Caviness, a photography student, won first place. He said he worked directly from the book, taking notes as he read and picturing the image he wanted to create in his mind before setting up his photo in PhotoShop.

“There was a lot to draw from in the book,” Caviness said.

He said he is inspired most by learning new things and trying new techniques he learns in class.

“So much art is being mass produced that it is hard to come up with new ideas, but I do what I like to do,” Caviness said. “My art is just for me, and if others happen to enjoy it, then that’s great.”

Second place went to Ashley Bea Miller, third place went to Zachery Metzgar, and Amber Morgan got an honorable mention.

“The number of projects was not as large as I was expecting when I heard about the show,” said Mike Pilkington, a graphic design major. “But I like all of the various ways the artists had to interpret the book.”

Some of the other artists displayed in the show are Jesse Ontiveros, Jaclyn Sellinger, Jessica Alweine, Jason Romero, Ethan Laseter and Lily Eager.

“Several of our competitors were first-semester photography students,” West said.

Jurors for the competition were Victoria Taylor-Gore, visual arts department chairwoman; Alex Gregory, interim curator of the Amarillo Museum of Art; and Jim Jordan, a photographer and art collector.

The exhibit will be open through March 11.

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