Laura Marshall’s Intellectual Profile

1. I am currently studying Studio Art with an emphasis in Drawing and Painting, and also French. I love that now my hobbies have become something that may turn into a career someday. After I graduate next December, I plan to move to France for at least a year, perhaps longer. Eventually, I’d like to open a gallery while still having time to concentrate on my own work. Art is an essential ingredient in every aspect of society, and I love that when I create art I can touch a different part of the world I had not experienced before.

2. While contemporary art exhibitions are exciting and always fantastic, when I read this question I immediately thought of the permanent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, the European and American Art collection on the sixth floor. I grew up in Lakewood, CO and would visit the art museum as a kid frequently. My favorite floor has always been the European art because I find it inspiring the dedication and constant repetition it took Renaissance artists and beyond to make such extraordinary oil paintings. Oil paint is my absolute favorite medium to work, and the mastery it takes to use it well is difficult to attain. Watching the art transition from century to century is also very fascinating for me, as an artist the evolution of the painted canvas is certainly one of the most educational experiences one can benefit from.

3. I’m currently reading a few books, mostly trying to work my way through Ulysses while reading other, less intense books on the side. The one I liked the most recently is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. His writing style provokes imagery unlike any other book I have read. The story follows a young boy, Oscar, whose father was killed in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centers. Oscar is convinced his father left him a sort of quest before he died, to find the object that a certain key unlocks. What follows is beautiful writing that so heartfelt it is hard to ignore it. I absolutely loved this book, I am skeptical of how well it will fare in the movie version that was recently released. The writing so perfectly describes the events and feelings in the novel that I honestly do not believe a film could do it better.

4. As I said before, I am lucky in that what I’m most interested are the fields of study I am pursuing. I have been taking French classes since elementary school, and because of this, I am firmly convinced of the importance of being bilingual, especially in this time of global connectivity. On the side, I also love snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, more or less anything outdoorsy, especially winter sports. I enjoy reading and finding excellent recipes to try at home in my spare time. Cooking is a way for me to relax, so I always find time to make a good meal.

5. I do not read any blogs — pretty new to the blogosphere experience!

6. One place I can always find inspiration, no matter what season, is the Denver Botanic Gardens. I recently went to Blossoms of Light, where they go all out and deck the trees with amazing multicolored light displays for the holiday season. I try to go to this light show or to Zoo Lights, every year, just because of how fantastic the lights are, especially while snow is falling — it’s truly magical. Blossoms of Light always impresses me because of how many people see it every year, including me, even though the layout of the lights hardly ever changes. Something about the tradition of seeing an art event every year makes me think about my main goal as an artist — to reach many people with my work.

7. Last semester, I was in a French Literature class that dealt with 20th century French authors, which bridge the gap between traditional and experimental writing. During the process of reading a French novel a week, my professor also assigned reading on the technicalities of literary analysis — which sounds dreadful I know, but it was really interesting. I could not find a link online, but suffice it to say that it raised questions of how fragile a fictional world really is, and how current writers (who are artists in their own right) trick the reader, or even not even write to the reader specifically, instead using narrative styles such as writing entirely in second person, or inserting fake quotations. It also spoke about the possibility of interacting with the written world through the way the narrator tells the story. I found this especially pertinent to the way I approach the art-making process, making my own world, and inviting the viewer into it.

8. I have recently become fascinated with the act of meditation. I believe that introspection is an essential part of being human, our ability to be self-aware is what makes us so unique. I was reading on meditation and I found it incredible that there are monks that can meditate so deeply that they can enter a new state of consciousness, and do such feats like standing under a roaring waterfall for hours at a time. The idea that thinking about nothing is actually good for your mental being is a bit strange to me as well.

9. I have visited BMoCA, the DAM, and the MCA multiple times. What I love most about the MCA is not only the art that they feature there but also their lecture series, Mixed Taste. It’s not technically an exhbition, but I suppose one could call it an exhibition of intellectual pursuits. The way the lectures work is there are two speakers each night, and each gets half an hour to talk about their intended subject. Here’s the best part though, the topics are required to be unrelated in every way, shape and form. It’s a hilarious and awesome way to learn about subjects you would never even dream of being interested in. A few I have attended are: Karl Marx and Kittens, Kittens, Kittens; India Pale Ale and German Expressionism; and last but definitely my favorite so far: Time Travel and the French Situationists. These lectures are absolutely fantastic, I would highly recommend them to anyone.

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