The Barn Light East was humming with excitement during the Jan. 8 First Friday Art Walk as Lane student Liza Burns displayed a gallery of her mixed-media paintings that now reside in the local bar.
“This mixed media process that I’ve been working on is new for me and so I’ve got to explore art through all these pieces and I am really in love with it,” Burns said.
What started out as a school project turned into a passion for creating new pieces of artwork. Burns has been fascinated by American celebrities and decided to focus her work around her favorites, portraying them as saints.
“I just liked the concept of treating American classic figures as saints or as deities so I am giving them sort of this elevated illustrative status,” Burns said. “So I just started making a list [of stars] I felt were important and then kind of went from there.”
Burns has put on art shows before and is familiar with the challenges artists face when trying to prepare for these events.
“A challenge is staying and keeping myself on track. I think it’s easy to put all your energy into one [piece] and then it’s tough to emotionally de-invest.”
The crowd grew and became more enthusiastic as the night went along. Amongst the crowd were students from the area and around the country.
Jasmine Keuter, a student at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, describes herself as an “art fanatic.” She was attending the First Friday Art Walk and wanted to see a young and aspiring student’s artwork on display.
“I love the art here at The Barn Light,” Keuter said. “I love that they chose a local artist who is of a younger age and somebody who is just trying to get their work out there. I think her art is very interesting. I think it’s very unique and personal.”
Zulema Iboa, a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, was invited by a friend to attend the show. She describes herself as “not much of an artsy person,” but was intrigued by the work that was put on display.
“I was definitely very impressed by the artwork,” Iboa said. “All the colors were very vibrant. I enjoyed different techniques she used and how she used mainstream celebrities to portray in her different artwork and I thought that was really cool.”
Burns plans on continuing work to add to her series of famous Americans while finishing her graphic design degree. She plans to put on another art show this summer.