Amber Coultis named WASA artist of the month

Amber Coultis has been elected the next Artist of the Month by Washburn Art Students Association and will present her work at the Kaw River Rustics gallery in downtown Topeka.

Coultis is currently working toward a bachelor’s in fine arts with an emphasis in graphic design. Her work focuses on the theme of “intimacy.” Her final project for her experimental photography class has been about stripping one’s self bare, artistically covering and not covering pieces of the body.

“I’m into a wide range of things,” Coultis said. “With Washburn’s art department being very generalized so that you get to experience everything, I think I’ve expanded and learned a lot with my photography and playing with it, exploring the medium itself and experimenting and figuring out what can happen.”

Coultis has been experimenting with silkscreen, playing with details and figures. She also is into photography and prints and will be displaying some of these items in the upcoming gallery.

“A lot of my art started with cartoons and anime, and then it got into the actual figure and learning how to create things and make them look nice,” Coultis said. “I’ve done a self portrait where I just practiced my technique. I tried painting on developer and seeing how the image comes out.”

Since then, Coultis has dabbled in photo emulsion more. She uses subtle figures in mainly black. The gallery will feature digital prints of this and some of her printmaking patterns.

Coultis said she had her internship early when she was a sophomore as opposed to a junior or senior.

“I worked at a print shop named Fletcher’s Forms in Belton, Missouri,” Coultis said. “I learned a lot from it and was welcomed back. I’d love to spend a few years there after I get my degree. ”

Coultis mentioned two professors that stuck out to her and helped her through her making art and experimenting.

“Mary Dorsey just retired, but she really helped me with exploring my medium and trying new things,” Coultis said. “A lot of happy accidents came from that. She was very into not worrying about the cost and helping us explore things.”

She also mentioned Michael Hager, who currently teaches both sculpture and printmaking at Washburn, encouraging his students to experiment with their styles and step outside their comfort zones.

“Your professors are there to guide you, but never be afraid to experiment,” Coultis said. “They are not there to shut you down completely. They help you to explore where you want to be and not follow everything uniformly.”