Students showcase artwork at COPLAC conference

Seven Johnson State College students were selected to attend the Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity Conference hosted by COPLAC, the Council of Public Liberal Arts on October 21 and 22.

Kali Covell, Forrest Mattern and Lily Johnson, to name a few, were nominated by professors Michael Zebrowski and Sean Clute, who teach media arts and studio arts courses.

Covell and Mattern worked alongside Erik Kirk to direct, film and edit the short film “Orange You Glad,” based off of the 48-hour film challenge hosted by Studio 139B/Motion Graphics. The short film deals with time travel, love, a fork, a mobile device and a clock . . . Strange mix, eh?

Although the above mentioned prop list sounds bizarre, Covell and Mattern wove in all elements quite gracefully. Mattern stars as a college student obsessed with cheese puffs and video games, and Covell as the small, sensitive and soft tennis player who comes knocking at the door. “What is she selling?” you may ask. Orange lollipops, of course.

A terrible tragedy occurs, forcing Mattern to time travel back in time to solve things and find Kali again.
“We created this video for a film contest at CATV in White River Junction, Vermont. It needed to be planned, written, filmed and edited within 48 hours,” said Covell. “We really wanted to make something that people would genuinely ‘feel’ for, and have no words after.”

Johnson has shown her collages in multiple critiques and class presentations, and they have received high praise. “The feedback received from the conference in general was that my artworks were really amazing and creative. Many people haven’t seen works like mine, that being collage works — which are primarily two dimensional — but with my some of my newer pieces I’ve been adding three dimensional elements,” said Johnson.

Since attending an art trip to Cuba last spring, Johnson has been doing 2-D and 3-D mixed media collages with her photos from disposable cameras. Johnson’s work is typically vibrantly colored with small cuts, and includes metals, protruding material and many more exciting features.

Rachel Lemay, a JSC Junior, was also selected by Leslie to attend the conference. Lemay made an artist book after the infamous television show “Game of Thrones.”

“I submitted an artist book that I had made during the fall of my freshman year, titled ‘A Game of Thrones Alphabet: Death Edition.’ I hand illustrated each page, including the front and back covers,” said Lemay. “The interior of the book has a rhyming scheme with a different character dying for each letter of the alphabet, illustrated in pen and ink. The front and back cover are painted with acrylic paint, displaying the title on the front and four family sigils on the back.”

While the content is dark, Lemay received no harsh criticism for her work; rather, many people expressed that if it was an up for sale they would buy it, because the following of Game of Thrones is so widespread.

“Since my junior year of high school I have turned to depicting more dark and macabre elements in my work,” said Lemay, her primary art form being painting and drawing.

All COPLAC hosts had very warm and positive feedback on the artworks presented from JSC, making the first conference held a hit.