Washburn BFA major to showcase ‘Gingerly Genuine’ senior exhibition

Adam Vlach

The Washburn bachelor of fine arts program has produced another artist, and she will be showing off her work that she says expresses her genuine self, though she offers this work to the public “gingerly.”

In an exhibit titled “Gingerly Genuine,” Chelsea Howe, a bachelor of fine arts major with an emphasis in graphic design and electronic arts, will be showcasing her work which expresses both what is currently important to her and what reflects her journey to becoming a college graduate, which will come to realization this May.

Howe’s path to her BFA destination started long ago and took detours along the way.

“I’ve always drawn plenty of things when I was little,” Howe said. “I remember watching Looney Tunes at a very early age and just copying the characters, and while the cartoons were very interesting, I was more interested in the characteristics of what made characters characters – what made Bugs Bunny Bugs Bunny; what made Daffy Duck Daffy Duck.”

After elementary school, Howe cut back on drawing pre-existing cartoons and began designing her own characters. In middle school, she created over 20 original characters. But these characters were not meaningless drawings; they meant something.

“Throughout middle school I created a whole bunch of characters, and it turns out a lot of it just ended up representing parts of my personality,” Howe said.

But as she grew older, her love for art and expression was doused by the pressures to make a lot money.

For the first year and a half at Washburn, Howe majored in biology, planning to be a physician assistant. She said she was under a lot of pressure by those around her to pick a career that would give her a big paycheck. Half way through her sophomore year, however, something changed.

“But I wasn’t happy,” Howe said. “And I thought, well everybody I know has always said ‘you should become an art major.”

Howe said she had always laughed at people who told her that in the past, but then she began to take that idea seriously.

Howe let the focus on money go and finally pursued what she loved.

“I just decided to jump in,” Howe said. “I decided I should go into the BFA program, but being a bachelor in fine arts major isn’t exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to do graphic design. It wasn’t until Emmy Rice, a graphic design professor who used to teach here, actually helped create the graphic design and electronic arts program when I decided to immediately jump on board. That was the defining point of ‘this is awesome.’”

Howe’s exhibit will show off her comics, graphic designs, fine art pieces and even her mistakes, which “will be on the floor.”

The “Gingerly Genuine” exhibition will be downstairs in the John R. Adams art building for two weeks, starting Feb. 23. The building is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

After graduation, Howe hopes to work for a graphic design firm or department, naming Hallmark and Disney as two companies she would like to work for.