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BFA 2022 Artist Highlight

Exhibitions will be revealed at an opening ceremony on April 8th

Lake Erie College will host their BFA exhibit to showcase the artwork from its BFA students. This year’s BFA exhibit features three students – Mikayla Habina, Jordan Mantz, and Carlie Grabowski.

Habina and Mantz’s exhibition focuses on their respective communities while blending both cultures and art mediums. Habina based their art around how they found their place in the LGBTQIA+ the community, while Mantz’s focuses on her Hawaiian heritage.

“I wanted to include a part of my life that I think has impacted me the most in developing a sense of identity,” Habina said.

Habina is a 22-year-old student who identifies as nonbinary and pansexual. As a nonbinary individual, Habina uses she/her/they/them pronouns. They dive into their journey of self-discovery, explaining that they didn’t get a lot of exposure to queer concepts and identities until they were able to travel abroad.

Habina’s journey of self-discovery over the last year was a huge source of inspiration for their art exhibition.

“This exhibition focuses on queer experiences throughout the realm of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Habina explained. “My work pinpoints queer experiences, both good and bad. I have chosen to relay my memories of my study abroad experience to these queer experiences.”

Their exhibition partner, Jordyn Mantz, draws from her experience growing up as a native Hawaiian.

“Although I am Hawaiian, I grew up without being very enthusiastic about my culture,” Mantz said. “It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized I had nothing to show when it came to culture when people asked me about it.”

That’s what inspired Mantz to base her BFA presentation around Hawaiian culture, as a way to both showcase the culture she’s proud of and feel more connected to it herself. A lot of Mantz’ art focuses on Hawaiian Mythology or historical figures presented as superheroes.

“The concept of Hawaiian-based superheroes from mythology came to me originally as an inside joke I made with high school friends in 2020,” Mantz explained. “There’s always amazing heroes or stories from Greek mythology, or Japanese culture… but what if we made something from Hawaiian culture? Hawai’i has such amazing stories of gods and deities yet no mainstream recognition for it.”

Mantz and Habina both used a mix of art forms, including digital, mixed media, and traditional paint. Mantz alternated between digital art and paint on canvas for her art, while Habina leaned heavily into acrylic paintings with bold, bright colors.

“My style of painting is somewhat Post-Modern and, also at times, more Abstract or similar to Pop-art,” Habina said. “I chose bright and bold colors that remind me of the queer community using acrylic paints and acrylic paint pens.”

“The software I used was a Medibang Paint and a Wacom Intuos Pro 5 tablet I’ve had since I was 13. When I get tired of staring at a screen, I switch over to some traditional paint on canvas, as well as including concept sketches in my sketchbook.”

Carlie Grabowski is the third BFA student and a Visual Communication in Graphic Design major. For their exhibition titled, Horizons, they chose to focus on the struggle designers face keeping up with the fast-paced world of tech and culture.

“One of the main reasons I decided to be a designer is because you never stop learning,” Grabowski said. “As everything progresses around us, I believe it’s essential to keep up with the changes in technology, trends, and people.”

Lake Erie College will be hosting its 2022 BFA Opening Reception & Student Art Exhibition on April 8th from 5pm-7pm at the Royce Hall for the Fine & Performing Arts. See the full event here.