Senior Art Show series: Changing major in senior year challenging, rewarding

Courtney Searcy
Courtney Searcy
Courtney Searcy, senior art major, draws silhouettes in her studio as a part of her senior art show Mar. 18. | Photo by Amanda Rohde

Courtney Searcy, senior art major with an emphasis in graphic design, did what most art students would never dream of doing — completing all art major requirements in two years.

As a graduating senior, her goal for the senior art show is for her work to reflect on her experiences in college and others’ influence on her.

Searcy was set to graduate in 2013 with a journalism degree but had a drastic change of mind at the beginning of her senior year and decided to switch to majoring in art.

“It was one of those moments where a lot of different people and conversations led up to me realizing that was where I was being called, and where I could both serve people and use skills that I love,” Searcy said. “It has been challenging, and there were plenty of moments between working part-time and trying to pass all of my classes that it felt like I was never going to make it to graduation.”

Like all other senior art majors, Searcy had to go through a process of proposing her idea for senior art show before gaining approval from the art faculty.

First, she submitted a proposal to each of the art professors for approval. Then, she created pieces of completed sample work to present to the faculty again for the final stage of approval before the show.

Steve Halla, supervisor of senior art shows and associate professor of art at Union, said that senior art show is a great opportunity for students to gain real-life experiences and build their own collection of solid and coherent work.

Searcy’s senior art show was recently approved by the faculty, and she is ready to get the work done before the show.

“I feel excited to make the work but, of course, nervous about all the things that come with presenting your work to people,” Searcy said. “You have to kind of put all of those fears and doubts aside and just keep making the work.”

Searcy often incorporates hand-drawn letterings and typography in her art.

For her senior art show pieces, she will be creating a series of 100 hand-drawn silhouettes of people who have influenced her in college. She will be drawing these silhouettes based on photographs that she took of those people.

However, Searcy said there will be an element of surprise in her art.

“Most of the people know I’ve taken photographs of them to use the silhouettes for the show, but I’m keeping what I’ll actually be doing with them as secret as possible so that it will be more of a surprise to them,” Searcy said.

She added that her art is inspired and motivated by people around her and attributes her encouraging peers as her motivation to continue making art.

“I love that I can use the skills I have been given to meet a very practical need in people’s lives,” Searcy said.

Katie Williams, senior art major, said it is a joy and encouragement to see how far Searcy has come in her work over the last two years.

“Her talent came long before her studies, but I think that by learning techniques, solving problems, and involving herself in the discussion of the arts, she has gotten more clarity in her calling and refined her work closer to what she wants it to be,” Williams said.

Williams also said it is evident that Searcy’s drive for her senior art show comes from her desire to serve people intentionally and well.

“She reminds me that beauty serves people in such a unique and personal way,” Williams said.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream