A Tale of Two Artists: Graduating Students Showcase their Work

  Story and Photos by Emily Hughes

The senior art showcase that happens at the end of every semester displays the work of  graduating Central Michigan University artists.

Among the graduates are Josh Elston and Cara Lazare, two vastly different artists. One student enjoys the education of art and the other, the experience.

Using Art to Convey a Message
Josh Elston is graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2D visual art and art history. He will show four capstone pieces, which include “three wrapped canvases which are canvases wrapped in canvas and then painted over and has a 3D aspect.”

Elston’s fourth piece is a more interactive piece that explored the “social personal function of a table.” His piece is constructed of a table with the top removed and replaced by a woodwork maze. Gallery-goers can then roll marbles down the paths of the maze.

Elston explains that the piece symbolizes “the communication between different people, and the marble rolling down the tracks and ending up in a different places shows how a conversation starts and ends in different places.”

Elston, although not from an artistic family, was propelled into an art degree after attending Mid-Michigan Community College. Since then, he has developed passion for painting and studying art history, particularly art after 1945.

For Elston, the best part about the art program at CMU is that it allows students to deeply study the subject. The art history classes has allowed him to take art history classes that “further my creativity and background that I can draw from in my own work.”

A Past, Present and Future Involving Art
Cara Lazare, who is studying visual art and art history agreed that the CMU program is thorough, although she commented that it is a lot of reading for the history degree.

For Lazare, having artistic parents that involved art in her everyday life meant that she knew what her future was going to a university.

“I knew I was going to go into art no matter what,” she said.

Once starting the program, she found that the professors not only support their students, but push them to create the best art they can.

“The professors have been absolutely amazing, some who have become great mentors. It’s a really tight knit department, so everyone knows one another or has classes together. We all connect really well.”

With this supportive community, Lazare created her capstone pieces which will include her paintings and 30 prints that showcase her feelings on art and graduating. Her pieces, which will be displayed in the west wing of the campus gallery, are experimental and different from her previous work.

Appreciating Their Artistic Ability
Like both their capstone projects, the artists had extremely different view on what art and creativity is, but their definitions are truly reflected in their work.

With his intricate canvases and table study, Elston recognizes the complexity of art, and with his deep study of art history, he had a well-rounded definition of art.

“We all have ideas of what art should be, but it’s different for everyone. Art is just something that is just made for itself. It’s just made for the sake of art,” Elston said.

Lazare explained throughout her time as an artist that art has a universal quality about it.

“The way I use art is in a therapeutic way. It’s a meditative practice and it’s a positive thing in my life,” she said.

When asked how CMU students could be creative, she said, “Art is for everyone. Even if you don’t have the skills, art will be there for you.”

Both Elston’s and Lazare’s work along with other  graduating art majors will be on display in CMU’s Art Gallery next to the Bovee University Center beginning Dec. 2.