By Sean Callahan
When the SVC class of 2021 walks the stage on May 22, four senior studio art and art education students will be among them. Angelo Celani, Hannah Devine, Connie DiFrancesco, and Madison Starliper all received a spotlight from April 8 to May 14 at the Verostko Center for the Arts.
The exhibition displayed a variety of art from all four students, with different themes, styles, and art mediums. Paintings, drawings and pottery are only a few of the ways in which the students completed their work.
Celani, a studio art major, wrote in his artist statement that he largely prefers to use a variety of fine point markers and pens. He enjoys many subjects, but recently has been exploring the natural world and subjects that are often overlooked. Many of his pieces on display were drawings, including a pink octopus and a 3D ram skull. He said much of his inspiration comes from today’s world.
“I like pop culture and do a lot of fanart, so my inspiration develops a little more every time something new comes out, so long as I like it,” Celani said.
Celani’s art journey at SVC actually began with engineering. But he realized he didn’t want math to dictate how he drew blueprints and schematics, leading him to change his major the following year.
Despite his wide range of interests, Celani thinks he knows what job he may pursue after SVC.
“Lately I’ve developed an interest in anatomy and wouldn’t mind pursuing a medical illustration career somewhere down the line,” he said.
DiFrancesco, also a studio art major, centers her work around nature, human anatomy, and surreal subject matter like subconscious thoughts. She feels human anatomy has dominated her recent work, and she finds inspiration in her natural surroundings or faces she sees on social media. Much of DiFrancesco’s work in the gallery was done on oil canvas.
DiFrancesco spent her first two years at SVC as an art education major, but switched to studio art—with a minor in psychology—when she realized education was not her comfort zone.
“My new major gave me more flexibility in terms of career and higher education possibilities,” DiFrancesco said. “Having that base of education still proves to be handy so I wouldn’t consider it a waste, just a step in the right direction!”
DiFrancesco currently has a marketing management job that she is confident will allow her to continue to pursue her creative and design skills outside SVC.
“Making art will always be something I will continue as a personal business, but I am excited to explore and advance my skills in this field,” she said.
Devine, a studio art and graphic design major with a marketing minor, followed a similar path as DiFrancesco, since she also began her freshman year as an art education major. She specializes in watercolor and acrylic painting, and she used photographs of places she wanted to remember as her exhibit theme. According to Devine, much of her work was commission-based and not theme-related before the gallery.
“Most work I made depicts places I have been to only because of my time at Saint Vincent. I would’ve never experienced those places had I not come to school here,” Devine said.
She finds much of her artwork is inspired by people around her, and the positive reactions of those who enjoy her work.
“Art is so much more than an object or a service,” Devine said. “It’s an expression of love and thoughtfulness that is portrayed differently through everyone you meet, which makes it that much more special.”
Once Devine graduates, she will work full-time at Finish Thompson Inc. as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator, while doing commission artwork in her free time.
Starliper, an art education major since her freshman year, considers her general artwork and the work displayed in the gallery a reflection of her childhood daydreams and nightmares. Her art is also influenced by the fantasy books and movies she used as a form of escapism, especially in her early life, when she was in the middle of a split custody arrangement between divorced parents. She still considers high fantasy a consistent source of inspiration for her work.
“Anything with spells, heroes and quests to save the world are big inspirations for me, as they often have stories that I grow attached to,” Starliper said.
Starliper originally struggled between wanting to become a teacher or an artist, but in high school, she realized she could fulfill both desires by being an art teacher. She has accepted a full-time job in the Washington County Public Schools system in Maryland, where she plans to work after graduating from SVC.
“I will be splitting my time between Hickory Elementary and Fountain Rock Elementary, and I am extremely excited to get started,” Starliper said.