Oct. 23, 2017Vol. 48, Issue 2

Art for Art’s Sake

Chico State Faculty and Staff Show off Their Artistic Talents

This fall, the Faculty and Staff Art Exhibit included surprising submissions, such as art made with soil, staples, and fabric. A reception and auction will be held Thursday, October 26.

Anything goes in the annual Faculty and Staff Art Exhibit, which has decorated the first floor of Kendall Hall with a collection of traditional and nontraditional medias since September 26. The fall exhibit showcases the artistic talents of faculty and staff across Chico State’s campus, whose interests range from “just a hobby” to “a real passion.”

The exhibit will last until Thursday, October 26, concluding with a reception in the Kendall Hall rotunda from 4:30–5:30 p.m. to honor the participating artists, announce the award recipient for favorite piece of artwork (voted by exhibit visitors), and hold a silent auction that raises money for the Staff Council Service Projects committee. In this issue of Inside Chico State, three artists share the inspirations for their creative works:

Diana Shepherd, Child Development

Professor Diana Shepherd has been quilting for more than 25 years.

She’s had many creative hobbies comes and go, such as jewelry and doll making, but she’s never let quilting become another forgotten pastime. Working with a myriad of fabrics, threads, patterns, and her sewing machine has given her a lasting sense of enjoyment and excitement.

With an eye for contemporary details and structures, Shepard often replicates or adapts designs she’s drawn to without using a specific pattern. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, she said.

One of her intricately designed submissions, “Love Letters,” was actually a mistake that happened while attempting to replicate a pillow from a design she had seen but for which she didn’t have a pattern.

“I’m like, ‘I think I can make that,’” she said. “I started creating my own letters and pretty soon it was [too] big. I thought, ‘I guess this is a wall hanging.’”

Her other wall hanging submission, “Spring Blossoms,” depicts the beautiful Chico spring seasons—she drew inspiration from all the magnolias and the different colors of green that are seen in the parks and neighborhoods, she said.

This was the first year Shepard submitted art for the exhibit. And while she doesn’t market or typically showcase her quilts, she said she’s “always excited” to create commissioned pieces and donate her work for a good cause. She’s previously donated to the Torres Community Shelter and the Esplanade House, hoping her quilts will help keep someone warm during those cold nights.

Interested in owning a one-of-a-kind quilt? Contact Diana Shepard at dianashepard21@gmail.com


Quilted wallhangings by Diana Shepard: "Spring Blossoms" and "Love letters."

Terry Kiser, Mathematics and Statistics

You wouldn’t know by the caliber of his work, but faculty member Terry Kiser starting photographing what he calls “nightscapes” a mere four years ago and claims that he’s “not very artistically inclined.”

Photography started as a hobby he enjoyed with his wife, Renda—but Kiser ran with it. At first, he studied astronomy, astrophotography, and landscape photography, and said that even though it was hard work, it made the transition to nightscapes feel natural and “very rewarding.”  His love of travelling and the outdoors often inspires him, but it was a postcard of “beautiful terrain and a wonderful Milky Way in the sky” that piqued his interest in capturing the night sky.

“‘How do they do that?’” he asked himself. “I knew from astrophotography that you’d have to do a long exposure to bring out the Milky Way, but how were they doing a stars trail? And the terrain wasn’t blurred, so I had to learn how to do it because I was already carrying camera equipment around with me. I started trying things out.”

His three submissions are nightscapes; two with rock formations (his wife’s favorites), “Owachomo Bridge Nightscape—Natural Bridges National Monument” and “Chimney Rock Nightscape—Capitol Reef North Pacific,” and a third, “Celestial Date Night,” which captured a sweet moment between two people—a moment that didn’t come to light until Kiser began to edit it.

“I chose my favorite . . . a lake just outside of Truckee,” he said. “[My wife and I] didn’t even know it, but a couple had been sitting out at the end of the dock. I went to process my pictures and we saw this couple sitting there and I said, ‘I love this photo.’ It looked like the sort of thing my wife and I would do on a beautiful night like that, sit out there and look at the stars.”

Coming up on 30 years of teaching for Chico State, Kiser is making the most out of his Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) status as he approaches retirement, spending his newfound free time behind his lens. He plans on taking many more photos that he hopes “encourage people to get outside and enjoy the night skies.”

Kiser donated all three submissions for the auction. To purcahse one of Kiser's nightscapes, email him at tkiser@csuchico.edu.

Three photos by Terry Kiser.

Photographs by Terry Kiser: “Celestial Date Night," “Chimney Rock Nightscape—Capitol Reef North Pacific,” 

and "Owachomo Bridge Nightscape—Natural Bridges National Monument.”

Lori Stevens, School of Education

Lori Stevens (MA, Education, ’10) calls herself a “jack-of-all-trades” artist.

Silversmithing, jewelry making, drawing, painting, writing—you name it, the secondary single subject program supervisor has probably done it.

With an extensive background in art—both in her education, minoring in art at Cal Poly, and professionally, teaching art and English at varying grade levels for over 10 years—Stevens always finds opportunities to sharpen her artistic eye.

“[Teaching art], I made a lot of art, took a lot of workshops, and I’m pretty immersed in the arts,” she said.

Her creative process is unique in that she doesn’t have one. When inspiration hits, she lets it take over and never has a sense of where she’s going until she gets there, she said.

“I’m probably pretty manic when I make art,” she said. “I start with something, then I ruin it, then I build it, then I ruin it. It’s kind of a chaotic thing until I just go, ‘that works, it’s done.’”

Stevens submitted two mixed media collages in the exhibit this year: her favorite piece of all time, “East and West,” and “Dearest Jeanne Hebuterne.” They were born out of two separate workshops she attended; one where collage and painting lessons were combined into one, and another where she just drew circles to soothe her unease—which gave her an unexpected burst of encouragement.

“I’m a little anxious, so I love repetition. And I love circles because they’re forever and ever,” she said. “I just started drawing circles and it felt so good. Then I just built on the circles.”

Stevens donated both submissions for the auction and sells her eclectic artwork on her website: http://www.loristevens.net

Mixed media by Lori Stevens: “Dearest Jeanne Hebuterne.”

Mixed media collage by Lori Stevens: “Dearest Jeanne Hebuterne.”



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CalFresh Day, a half-ton of fresh produce was given to students and a large canned food donation was made to the Wildcat Pantry.

CalFresh Day

During CalFresh Day, a half-ton of fresh produce was given to students along with an enormous canned food donation to the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry!      Watch video