Senior exhibition showcases gratitude

Portrait art: Isaac Bird standing next to his work, Beans. This piece is a portrait of his good friend Brook Harper.

Yue Li

Isaac Bird is a senior art education student holding his senior exhibition, Narrative/Manifesto, at John R. Adams Gallery Nov. 11 to 22.

The show on the first floor is called Narrative, which is about Bird’s story as a Washburn student and people who take important places in his life. The portraits and poetry are about these people. The second-floor show is called Manifesto. It is about gun violence in America.

“I wanted to focus on the gratitude aspect because I wanted to say thank you to people that have been there for me,” said Bird. “Social issues are also important to me. I want to have a chance to portray a different weight of work. Because all of the poems and portraiture in Narrative are very light-hearted and happy. I wanted to make some work that was a little bit more thematic and dense.”

Bird wants to be an art professor in the future who encourages and inspires his students.

“I love teaching, and my legacy is really important to me. I want to be able to guide young artists and give them support the way that my professors are giving to me. I love teaching. I’ve always enjoyed working with stuff like public speaking and education,” said Bird.

As an artist, Bird wants to create work that makes people communicate and feel a reaction.

“I want to draw emotion out of the audience. Being an artist is sort of very selfish and very selfless at the same time. Because you want your art to be popular, you want it to be well-known. You want it to spread and have everybody know you as an artist. But you also want to make art for everyone else. Because it’s always for your audience as much as it is for yourself,” said Bird.

Benjamin Wills, Donald B. and Twila Catron Visiting Professor of Art, has had positive impact on Bird.

“One of my big role models is Ben Wills. He has done a lot of the things that I want to do already. He went through graduate school and became a professor pretty young. And he does a lot of interactive and exploratory artworks which is something very interesting to me,” said Bird.

“Isaac is a really unique student. It is nice to see somebody trying to use so many different materials and different media in one show,” said Wills. “When I think about Isaac, it’s not just one moment but his endless enthusiasm in the classroom for his peers and for the projects.”

After graduating from Washburn, Bird plans to apply to both graduate schools and artist residencies. He wants to develop his body of work and become more involved in the art community not only in the Midwest but also throughout America.

“Talk to everybody. Talk to all the professors about their advice. Talk to students who’ve had their shows and then ask them what worked and what didn’t work… Appreciate your faculty and your friends,” said Bird.

Bird will have his closing reception at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 at the John R. Adams Gallery.

Edited by Bri Smith, Adam White