The art show “Loss of Innocence”, produced by Kody Keller, a professor in BYU-Idaho’s Art Department, had artists getting vulnerable. Stripping back the good memories that tend to cushion childhood, Keller asked his students from his Art 380R Sculpture Medium class to reflect on one specific moment that sparked their paradigm shifts and to convert the events into art.
Each piece is specific to the artist who created it.
Zoie Pfleger, a sophomore studying 3D art, sculpted a stuffed dog titled “Sunshine” made from chicken wire and plaster.
“My piece is about when my little cousin died,” Plfeger shared. “It is his stuffed animal that he had with him when he was going through chemo. And it’s called ‘You Are My Sunshine’ because that was his favorite song. His dog was named Sunshine.”
Plfeger estimates that she spent 20 hours on this piece.
Mady Price, a senior studying 3D design, produced a piece including rubber baby hands, bright colors and a rotating piece representing running to the circus.
“I was always told I was a weirdo and people kind of gawked at me like I was a sideshow attraction because I was talented and did all these things,” Price said. “This piece is about me embracing the weirdness and joining the circus. If people are gonna stare at me because I’m weird, let them.”
Price compared the rotating piece to a carousel representing her constant moving as a child.
“And when you look behind the bars at the lion cage, you see your own reflection as a freak show,” Price said.
Running to the Circus took her three weeks to complete and includes a variety of mediums including broken glass, “My Little Pony” toys and a glass doll mask.
Ting Luo, a junior studying 3D art, created a hanging piece with various canvases representing walls covered in childhood doodles.
“When I was a kid I used to draw on walls a lot,” Luo said. “So I am recreating those walls. When my family lost the house that’s when we realized that I have to stand as the oldest to take responsibility to help my family to find a new house.”
Luo estimated that her project took around 10 to 20 hours as she had to fill each canvas with concrete and paint and draw on each.
Alaina Pringle, a senior studying 3D art, created an upside-down open suitcase full of clothes with blue glass bottles dangling from the top of the suitcase, based on a southern superstition.
“People will hang these blue bottles upside down on branches,” Pringle explained. “As demons try to get into your house while you sleep at night, they catch them and in the morning sun are destroyed. I kinda had some troubles in my childhood, but every time I moved, they got better. So each move acted like a blue bottle for me.”
Pringle said the upside-down piece took her around 40 hours to complete.
Dallon Robbins, a junior studying illustration, created a piece made from cardboard and plaster displaying a drilling mine with a deep, dark pit in the center.
“My family took a trip to Kena Copper,” Robbins said. “You look down into the mines and it’s a big open pit. You see the little dump trucks and you realize that they’re really small in comparison to the hole. You realize this hole, it’s just scratching the surface of the whole earth. Like wow, we are really small.”
Robbins said that this piece easily took 20 hours and this scene helped him realize the world outside of his bubble.
Lexi Van Buskirk, a senior studying 3D art, constructed a mirror covered in book pages, red letters and negative remarks written. She titled it “Twice as Hard as Everybody Else.” Van Buskirk estimates that this piece took about 10 hours to finish.
“Based on all the times when I was growing up, I have dyslexia and so the comments that people said to me that were maybe rude or dismissive that hurt my feelings and affected me in a way that I didn’t realize until I was older,” Van Buskirk said. “I had a shift where I realized not everybody’s nice and the world’s not perfect. Even when you have imperfections, people are going to point them out.”
The vulnerability of these artists made an impact on the community members that attended the show, inspiring some to reflect on their own lives and relate to the artists.
“Very cool,” said Allie Erickson, a sophomore studying music education composite. “Every child loses their innocence and we can see all their life stories behind their pieces.”
The paradigm shift pieces are only some produced by artists like these. For more art, visit the Visual Arts Studio located on the northeast side of campus.