Young artists find beauty in everyday life

POULSBO — Every day moments fascinate 22-year-old Northwest College of Art Senior Malia Macheel.

Macheel deeply examines commonplace human movements, from the motion an arm makes while walking to the varying expressions displayed on people’s faces.

“I’m fascinated with gestures,” said Macheel, who is from Park City, Utah. “I love to watch people move, even how their shirt folds in a different way.”

On the surface, these moments pass quickly, yet Macheel has taken many and preserved them in her sketchbook — or by whatever means she can. From sitting in airports to outdoor cafes, she has examined how emotion is displayed through human movement.

Her work, as well as the work of four other senior artists at the Northwest College of Art, will be on display from 6-9 p.m. July 27. The group of artists, like Macheel, is not afraid to look at things a little differently.

“This is the kind of group we are always looking for,” said Northwest College of Art founder and president Craig Freeman. “It’s an extremely talented group that’s bright and energetic, and not afraid to be original.”

Also looking to bring a new perspective into the world of art is fellow senior Kendal Tull-Esterbrook, 21, who, when drawing a self-portrait, doesn’t always see the physical reflection.

“I do a lot of self-portraits that don’t involve my face,” said Tull-Esterbrook, who is from Leavenworth.

One of her works — a long white dress hanging on a purple wall — is one of the manifestations of her introspective drawings of herself.

“It’s exploring how I’m coming to terms with my own femininity,” she said of the picture.

Senior Elizabeth Andrade, 22, also searches inside herself to draw paintings of reflection. But ultimately, Andrade said she believes what comes off in her work is a message with which anyone can relate.

“I try to make my art so that it can be for anyone to understand,” said Andrade, who is from Chico, Calif. “It’s everyday person kind of art.”

Rather than take one moment, Andrade tells a longer story in her works of art, she said, using her paints and acrylics.

“I do a lot of narratives — telling stories through characters,” she said. “They’re all stories that people can relate to.”

Senior Leah Walker’s approach uses a self-proclaimed “assemblage style,” taking elements and combining them to create one piece.

“I find objects and combine them together,” said Walker, who is from Yelm.

Walker also said she often finds her works are guided by her own life’s emotions. Given that she’s in the hustle and bustle of graduating, her art reflects the pressure she’s under.

“I just want to communicate what I’m feeling,” Walker said, “Right now, there’s a lot of stress (in my work).”

Continuing the seniors’ unintended theme of taking ordinary events and making them extraordinary through art, Cody Bayne Bednar, 21, is out to create art that ends the “anarchy of aesthetics,” he said.

“The main thing is for people to step out of their normal assumptions and expectations of what designs should be,” said Bednar, who grew up around Washington. “To open up and see human flaws and how beautiful they can be.”

What you see isn’t always what you get, Bednar added.

“I want to take things to the next level of perception, take it to the next level of individualities,” Bednar said. “Seeing the details of life that can be appreciated but aren’t on a normal basis.”

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