The 2020-21 edition of the Dyson Year in Review included two pieces of student art: Touch by Camryn Thayer ’22, a communication studies major, and Sisters by Miracle Bennett ’21, a fine arts major.  We sat down with them to learn more about their process and journey at Pace.

Camryn Thayer ’22

What was your inspiration for Touch?

This piece was inspired by, and based off, a photo I took of Park Güell in Barcelona a few years ago. I was struck by the colors juxtaposing the hand and felt it would be successful if reimagined as a painting. Using acrylic paint, a medium I use often, I tried to make the hand as realistic as possible, while focusing less on detail in the mosaic and more on texture, shape, and color.

What does Touch mean to you?

This piece to me represents a desire to interact with the world and our surroundings through touch, which is of course something we haven’t been able to do or are more hesitant to do because of the pandemic.

Did you always want to be an artist?

Growing up, I was always expressing myself creatively, whether it was scribbling drawings or making something in art class. I think I always wanted to push myself creatively and make art I was proud of. Artists have played an important role in my life and in society as a whole because they evoke questions, inspire critical thinking, and make the world a more colorful and beautiful place.

What other works are you proud of?

While at Pace, I’ve been a part of the People You Know arts collective in which I showed a collection of digital collages. It was one of the first times I felt really secure and proud of my artistic voice, which has been a critical part of my creative journey.

Why did you choose the communication studies major?

As a college freshman I was unsure of what I wanted to major in. Through advisors, friends, and professors, I was led to communication studies. Learning about media has been particularly interesting during the current political climate and digital age. My communication studies major and photography minor continue to inform each other and give a really interesting perspective to what I’m learning.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a few larger scale paintings about self-perception, as well as some collaborative pieces with fellow artist friends.

Miracle Bennett ’21

What was your inspiration for Sisters?

My inspiration for creating this piece was my family. I like to go back and pick old photographs from my childhood and repaint them but make them more tender and lighter than they are photographed. I painted this specific image with water-based oil paint. I have used that medium once before in high school and decided to test the waters to see how it would come out now that I am older. I actually enjoyed the benefits of working with the oil and acrylic paint.

What does Sisters mean to you?

This piece evokes a feeling of home, peace, love, togetherness, and just being still. For me, the piece means being able to push through even during difficult times to complete a task.

Did you always want to be an artist?

I always knew I wanted to be an artist because I had been painting and racing since I was little. I think art plays a bigger role than it is given credit for in society because, as an artist, I think everything we see in our daily lives comes from or is shaped by some form of art, rough sketch, or idea formed and brought to life using creativity.

What other works are you proud of?

I also participated in the student show last semester with my image titled “Rose” for which I received an award from the guest judge Elena Ketelsen González. I was especially proud of that piece because it was my largest piece to date, and it kick-started me to push myself to go bigger and create more with what I have in order to capture the moment photographed in a better light.

Why did you choose Pace and the fine arts major?

I came to Pace simply due to cost and expenses, but upon switching campuses and changing my major from psychology to fine arts, I can say that my experience as an art major bettered my Pace experience. The faculty members that were very instrumental in helping me develop and grow as an artist are Professor Friedman, Professor Abergil, Professor Gottesfeld, and Professor Laramee, all of whom have taught me to better my craft while also expanding my medium horizons to incorporate in my art and portfolio.

What are you currently working?

I am currently working on another 40 in. x 30 in. piece in acrylic. It is a self-portrait that also includes my new addition to the family, my puppy Groovy, on the LIRR. I plan to finish this painting for the summer and then continue to work on a few more larger pieces from my photographs.