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Of bread tabs, vodka bottles, old cars and emotion

POULSBO — Paper clips, matches, bread tabs and diaper pins.

All are objects that don’t garner much attention — that is, until Northwest College of Art senior Johanna Chambers got her hands on them.

Especially the bread tabs.

“They’re a common object that’s overlooked,” Chambers said. “In art, you can find something simple like them — and you can glorify them.”

Chambers, who describes her works of art as often “whimsical” and “political,” can arrange the common household objects on her palate, indeed distinguishing them as noble objects — and ones worthy of attention. But she’s also out to get a reaction to her art.

“I want to make people laugh and I want to make people angry — I want to make people see ideas in different angles,” said Chambers, who said she wants to be a portrait artist, model designer or an illustrator after she graduates.

The NCA senior, who culminates her work at the college with a senior art show at 6 p.m. next Tuesday will also be offering visitors those views plus an added bonus: a “bread tab” dress she made. And at her show, absolutely no twist tabs — the antithesis of bread tabs, of course — will be allowed.

“Twist ties are evil,” she said.

On another side of the art media realm is Kristi Burke, whose primary tool as an artist is her camera. Burke’s specialty is finding emotion in the human figure, utilizing light and different angles to bring out her subject.

“I’m a photographer that likes to find the personality of a person in a picture,” Burke said.

Becoming a professional photographer has been a dream of hers since she was 12 years old, recalled Burke, who is now 21.

“I just went off with my girlfriends one day, dressed up and goofed off with a camera,” she said.

On the side, she also enjoys using arcrylics for painting and thus is versed in both realms of art. She prides herself on being a naturalist when it comes to developing her photos.

“No Photoshop or any of that stuff,” said Burke, who added that she would like to open her own photography business.

Senior Mary Thomas also uses photographs for her art, but instead of taking pictures, she uses existing shots to create her own work. Her passion lies in painting vintage cars.

“They all have a unique style — and lots of chrome,” Thomas said. “They’re a part of the past.”

Thomas’ story is a little different than her fellow students at the college. At 41, she went back to school after working for both state and national parks services.

“I decided to turn my hobbies and talents into a business,” Thomas said.

The last of the four artists on display Tuesday, Christopher Tipton, can’t really be placed in any one category of art — primarily because he’s started his own.

“The only common threat in my work is endless experimentation,” he said. “I have no idea what will come out. But they totally end up very different (from one another).”

One such work displays the words “A night to remember,” across the top, with various objects in the piece such as a bottle of Gordon’s Deluxe Vodka, a banana bunch’s rotting, connected ends, a plastic bag and a blurred woman in lingerie.

“I just wanted something to grab people’s attention,” Tipton said of the piece. “I want people to wonder, ‘Is he the good guy or the bad guy,’ but in actuality, it was just a fun night with friends — and no drinking was involved.”

Using unique combinations in his art is one his passions, he said.

“If you have an odd juxtaposition, it will take you out of your own realm and into another,” Tipton commented. “An art project can be a gateway into another world.”

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