Editor’s note: This is an ongoing series meant to highlight student artists in art, music and theater on Union’s campus.
Andrew Graham, sophomore art major with a graphic design emphasis, has been drawing most of his life but entered Union as a digital media studies major.
He made the switch to art at the beginning of his sophomore year.
“I was talking to one of my friends who was an art major, and I asked her to sort of sell it to me — why should I be an art major,” Graham said. “But without blinking and without even thinking, she was like, ‘It’s because you’re compassionate.’”
This statement led Graham to reexamine his art for “what God was using my artwork to portray and how he could use me through that,” he said. “That really intrigued me.”
His favorite art form is creating digital content, such as digital paintings, sketches and posters.
“There’s something very rewarding to me to open Photoshop or Illustrator and just create something on the computer,” Graham said.
The biggest challenge of an art major’s life can be knowing when to stop working on a project, Graham said.
While each student wants his or her project to be its best, “figuring out when it’s okay to stay up all night working on something, and when you need to just let a project go and go to sleep and take care of yourself” is the key.
Most rewarding for Graham is seeing diverse responses to his art — “Seeing people interact with your work and getting that input, that reaction from people, that sometimes you don’t always expect.”
Abby Williams, senior English and music double major, said she adores classical music but often struggles to find pieces compatible with her instrument of choice: a tenor saxophone.
“Most literature written for tenor saxophone is going to all be jazz and contemporary,” Williams said, but added she has played transcriptions of classical pieces for trumpet and clarinet.
Williams said she loves the music of the Romantic period because it has “lots of dynamic changes and pretty chords. It kind of merges what I like best about [classical and contemporary].”
Williams, who has played piano since age 3, began learning clarinet in fourth grade and moved on to alto saxophone a year later.
Tenor saxophone was her primary instrument from eighth grade onward. By her senior year of high school, Williams said she knew she wanted to major in music.
Finding the recommended hours to practice can be difficult — Williams is involved with J-Crib Urban Ministries and Union’s debate team on top of the work for her double major.
The stress is worth it, however, for the feeling of finally mastering a piece or “nailing it to the wall,” Williams said, quoting a music professor.
Williams said she loves seeing people moved by the music she plays.
“I think you can see that with any art,” she said. “Any time you feel like you’ve made a difference or seen somebody enjoy what you’ve done, it’s really rewarding.”
Allison Hearn, senior theater major, started out studying business.
She said people had told her “you’ll never make any money, you’ll be a poor starving artist; you’ll have to compromise your values.”
“But it was made clear to me pretty quick that business is not my thing, and everything I love and do is theater and just not to be ashamed that that’s my calling,” she said.
Hearn said she sees theater as a ministry field and has learned “to see the ways that God has called me to that and that it’s really OK.”
She starred in her first play at age 10 but became heavily involved in high school, participating in community theater and touring performances.
Hearn estimates she has been involved in eight shows since coming to Union.
While Hearn loves all aspects of theater and would like to teach drama to high school students, her ultimate goal is to become a “stitcher,” a person who designs and creates costumes for theater.
Hearn is the costume coordinator for Union’s theater department, putting together outfits from the costume closet and Goodwill stores.
She has sewn many of her own and other students’ costumes for Union shows.
Her favorite shows at Union have included “Barrel Full of Pennies” and “Magic,” she said.
Hearn loves working with each new cast and seeing how they “become a family,” she said, adding that her favorite part of being an actor is “exploring new parts of myself. I think in every character you play there’s a piece of you.”