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Graduate art exhibit features piece inspired by music

Becky Robinson

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Since high school, Micah Craft knew he wanted to be an artist. Now, after receiving his bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama in 2012, Craft is exhibiting his work, called “Tension and Release,” in the Ferguson Art Gallery.

“Tension and Release” is a collection of abstract pieces Craft made during his time at the University. Craft said his work begins as improvisations that gradually become a cohesive work. Music plays a very important role in the production of his art, as well. As a musician, he draws from both his imagination and music.

“Music can remain completely abstract, but still have an impact on people,” Craft said. He derived the title of his exhibition from a musical term. “The phrase “Tension and Release” is a musical concept, and I use it to describe aspects of painting and drawing. It is a concept common to both visual art and music.”

Sky Shineman, an assistant art professor, said she enjoyed watching Craft develop as an artist. Shineman taught Craft for three years and developed a friendship with him.

“His work is visually sophisticated, emotionally compelling and extremely personal,” Shineman said. “I believe this is a result of his commitment to a studio practice and his ability to allow other creative activities, such as music, to influence his visual vocabulary.”

During his undergraduate.career at the University, Craft was the recipient of many scholarship awards. He received the Alvin C. and Joseph Sella Endowed Scholarship in 2009 and 2011, the Julie Peake Holaday Memorial Scholarship in 2011 and the Farley Moody Galbraith Endowed Art Scholarship in 2012.

In addition to music, Craft said he also gained inspiration from Alvin Sella, a retired art professor who worked in the UA art department for over 50 years.

“He is a funny character, and his way of teaching can be very straightforward,” he said. “It’s not for some people, but I got a lot from him, including an endowment for one full semester.”

Craft said his experience at the University was a valuable learning experience, allowing him to work with artists from a variety of backgrounds. He urges current art students to learn all they can from the UA professors and to take advantage of the resources provided.

“If you are passionate about your own art, your art degree is not a waste of time,” Craft said. “The creativity that you develop can be used everywhere and in any context.”

Craft created “Tension and Release” as part of his requirement for his professional BFA degree. He now holds an internship as a junior graphic designer in Atlanta, Ga., and recently sold three pieces of work at the 2012 Fourth Annual Emerging Artists Exhibit at the Orange Beach Art Center.

With all of his accomplishments thus far, Shineman said she believes Craft has a very bright future ahead of him.

“Tension and Release: Paintings and Drawings by Micah Craft” will be in the Ferguson Center Art Gallery until Sept. 30. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 

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Graduate art exhibit features piece inspired by music