Monday, February 22, 2016

Student Spotlight: Molly McVey

As part of our new "Student Spotlight" series, the Pittsburg State University Department of Art blog will be periodically highlighting the work of one of our students. This week, we're featuring the work of Molly McVey, a senior 2D Studio Art major and Photography minor who comes to us from Overland Park, KS. As part of her educational program here at Pitt State, Molly participated in an internship at Kelly Jackson Photography. Recently, Molly's work was accepted into the exhibition for the annual PhotoSpiva competition at the Spiva Center for the Arts. 

Department of Art: What was your path to pursuing an art degree at Pitt State? What got you interested in art?

Molly McVey: The reason that I choose Pittsburg State to study art is because I liked the size of the department and how small the classes are and that you really get to know your professors and other students.

What got me interested in art was being involved in 4-H when I was younger.  Instead of showing cows, goats, or sheep, I entered into the art categories such as photography, painting, drawing, and ceramics. That is where my interests started with art and it grew from there. I took as many art classes as I could in high school and that is where I started to consider a career in art. My high school photography teacher and my drawing/painting teacher inspired me to pursue art in college, and I couldn’t be happier that I am studying it at Pitt.

DA: Tell us about your work. What type of work do you most enjoy creating? How would you define your artistic style?

MM: My photography recently has been in black and white. I have switched back and forth between color and black and white through the years, but I always seem to come back to black and white. I feel that it tells more of a story and there is more emotion within the photographs. I really enjoy combining and merging photos together to make something new. I will also place textures into my photos where they normally wouldn’t belong. I would define my artistic style to be somewhere between abstract and straight photography. 

DA: What class at Pitt State has had the biggest affect on the way you approach your work?

MM: The class that has impacted my work the most would be the studio critique classes. It has taught me to look at my work from different points of view. I appreciate getting feed back from the all the professors in the department. It is interesting to hear what they have to say about my work and the different ways that I can improve it.

DA: Tell us about a project you completed recently that you were really proud of. Where did you get your initial idea or inspiration, and how did the project develop over time? Describe your process. 

MM: A project that I have recently completed that I am extremely proud of would be my final project for my Portrait Photography class that I took at the tech center this past fall. We were able to do any creative shot that we wanted and I decided to take cubism as my inspiration. I researched many different ways to create a cubist style in photography and I ended up putting my own spin on it. I used one image as my base and then built onto it with different images from different perspectives of the same person. This project has opened a whole new set of doors for me. I am planning on working with this style throughout this semester, and I can’t wait to see where it goes!

DA: Who are some artists that inspire you? What is it about their work that you find compelling?

MM: A couple artists that have recently inspired me are Jerry Uelsmann and Sean Kernan. Uelsmann is known for merging images together and I find it interesting that he is able to combine images together, but still make them seem effortless and simple. This goes for Kernan also, his images are very simple, but can convey a strong story with a few images combined together. 

DA: What is an experience you've had at Pitt State that has changed the way you think about art?

MM: An experience that I’ve had that has changed the way I think about art is going to the artists’ lectures of those who have shown in the galleries. Being able to hear how professional artists have created their work and their experiences in the art world has really changed the way I view and think and about art. 

DA: Tell us about your experience participating in the internship program. Where and when did your internship take place, and how did it come about?

MM: I enjoyed doing the internship program a lot. It has helped me prepare for life after graduation. There are a lot of responsibilities that come along with the program, like the weekly blog posts and the paper work that has to be filled out by your employer, professor, and yourself.

I did my internship with Kelly Jackson Photography. Kelly Jackson took my older sisters high school senior portraits and she took mine as well. I decided to e-mail her and see if she did any type of internship or shadowing program and thankfully she did! She also agreed to do the program so that I could get college credit for it. I worked with her for half of the summer and then into the Fall 2015 semester to receive all three credit hours for the course.

DA: What was the most challenging aspect of your internship? What was the most fun?

MM: The most challenging aspect of my internship was getting used to the long days and early start times, but Kelly was so much fun to work with. She was always showing me knew ways to edit photos and how to take certain shots during photo shoots. I can’t wait to work with her again this summer!

Barn Cat
DA: Tell us about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

MM: After graduation I am planning on moving back to the Kansas City/Overland Park area and finding a job in the photography field. I would like to be a photo retoucher for a company or a photographer’s assistant. 

DA: What projects are you working on right now that is outside of coursework?

MM: I am currently working on my portfolio by refining it and making it stronger as a whole. I want to have a strong piece to show future employers when I start to look and interview for jobs in the coming semesters.

DA: Where's the best place to see more of your work online?

MM: The best place to see more of my work would be my website,