Caitlin Corely

One of the main things that people think of when they talk about art is visual arts like painting and drawings on canvases. Lainey Cooley, a junior art major who specializes in the visual arts, talked about why she loves art and what she plans to do with it in her life.

Cooley explained what got her into art.

“I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember. Of course, at first it was just little drawings that most kids do, but I really enjoyed making things and being creative,” Cooley said.                   “My parents and the wonderful teachers in my life must’ve seen something promising in what I was doing because they always encouraged me to keep creating and improving.”

Cooley commented on her parents’ impact on her art.

“I think it was their encouragement and support that inspired me to really start taking art seriously around middle school,” Cooley said.

“At that point, I started seeing art everywhere. Everything was inspiring to me and I just started copying everything around me and trying to create on paper what I couldn’t explain with words. That aspect of art, the nonverbal form of communication that others can understand and resonate with, is something that has always stuck with me and is what really made me fall in love with it.”

Cooley spoke about her start in art and her experiences with it.

“When I first started seriously making art, it was very frustrating compared to just drawing for fun like I did when I was a kid. I never took any art classes before coming to OBU, so it was difficult to navigate my failures on my own throughout middle school and high school and learn to appreciate them. But even then, when I messed up, it just made me want to study the techniques I struggled with more and more and when I made something I liked, it was all the more satisfying to see something I struggled with and overcame.”

Cooley also shared a memory about art that still sticks with her today.

“I remember going to the MET in New York for the first time with a group of OBU students and I had managed to wander off in the museum by myself. I stumbled upon this painting called ‘Tomorrow is Never’ by Kay Sage and I just remember staring at it for an unusually long time,” Cooley said.

“Before I even read the story behind it, or even who the artist was, I was immediately connected with the emotion just flowing through the painting. It was like I knew this artist personally and I was feeling her pain without even knowing who she was or what happened to her.”

Cooley explained how the feelings given to her by the painting aligned with the feelings the artist expressed while creating it.

“As it turns out, that specific painting was created after a five-month hiatus following her husband’s sudden death and was one of her last works before she died. I didn’t know any of this and yet, it was like I was feeling it for myself. The imagery in the painting, although completely imagined by the artist, seemed eerily familiar and it has stuck with me ever since. The way art can connect people to a sort of non-physical part of themselves and to each other without the use of words will never fail to fascinate me.”

Cooley spoke on what she plans to do with her art in her life after college.

“Besides continuing to make and sell my artwork, I am planning on getting my masters degree so that I can teach one day; hopefully at the college level,” Cooley said.

“I absolutely love school and have been so inspired by all of my professors. I would love to use the talent I’ve been given to make a positive impact on the lives of others.”

Cooley talked about what she loves about the fine arts and her favorite thing about it.

“I love the way the fine arts can connect with people in this really interesting, non-verbal, sort of magical way. I think art is so important in its relation to people in general. I love how diverse it is and how it connects us to each other, to other cultures that we have so much to learn from and even to God,” Cooley said.

“One of my favorite quotes that I remember from my time here is from Dante’s Inferno, in which he states that ‘art is the grandchild of God.’ How incredible is it that we can share a quality as divine as creativity with God Himself? This direct connection we have to this sort of non-physical part of life is utterly captivating to me and is probably my favorite thing about art.”

Cooley shared a piece of advice for anyone wanting to go into the fine arts.

“Find something you really love to do in art; something you can pour your passion and emotion into. [Also,] remember while you’re creating things to do it because you love it. Your enthusiasm will show through your work, accelerate your growth and really make it an incredible experience.”

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