Hard work pays off for artists


mark lanning:Graduate student Mark Lanning won an Art Award for photographs he took with his large format film camera.:Yana Yaroshevich

Timothy Sandoval

One theme resonated among the winners of the 2010 Student Art Awards: none of them thought they would win.

The Student Art Award gallery was displayed throughout the month of February, and the reception was held on the Feb. 19. Of the 44 pieces that made it into the show, 16 awards were given.

Each piece was judged on technique, content, message and the judge’s personal preferences. The pieces were judged before being accepted into the gallery. Of the 125 pieces that were submitted, fewer than half were accepted into the gallery.

“I would say that it is fairly competitive,” said Catherine Turrill, assistant chair of the art department and an organizer of the show. “The work has to stand out. Just being accepted into the show was a kind of winning.”

No one was more surprised by the results than some of the artists themselves.

Mark Lanning, graduate art student

Mark Lanning placed second for the graduate certificate award for his photograph titled “New Mexico, 2009,” which captures an oil refinery that he saw while traveling through New Mexico. He also received the Robison Award, a $1,000 prize for his photo “Carlsbad, 2009.”

Lanning borrowed his father’s truck and traveled 6,000 miles – to Los Angeles, New Orleans, Memphis, Tenn., Oklahoma and Denver. Along the way, Lanning took shots of the scenery.

Lanning said he will graduate this year and take a year off. He plans to apply to MFA programs after that.

Lanning said he was happy to win the award.

“I’m happy that for all the work and time I put into it, it was recognized and appreciated,” Lanning said.

Kat Luna, senior art major

Kat Luna won the Witt award, a $150 prize, for her untitled painting.

Luna said while painting, she would step back to look at the painting and think of what move to make next.

“It was just meditation. Nature calms me,” Luna said. “Then I would just dive into it, and explore all the different worlds.”

Luna she eventually wants to sell her art to galleries and teach higher education.

She will enter the art graduate program in the fall.

Alina Ozeruga, senior art major

Alina Ozergua won the Witt award, a $250 prize, for her photo, “Reading the New,” and placed second for the undergraduate certificate award for her photo “Ballerina.”

The photos feature her brother in a suit and her little sister dressed as a ballerina. The suit and ballerina dress are entirely made of newspaper.

Ozegua said she was very surprised when she won.

“I just thought, wow, I actually did it.” Ozegua said.

Jennifer Ben, senior art major

Jennifer Ben placed first in the University Art Product Award for her sculpture “Modeled After Olympia, Modeled After Venus.”

The sculpture was a remaking of French 17th century artist Manet’s painting “Olympia.” It recreated the scene of a woman lying nude while a server brings her flowers; the nude woman is made entirely of magazine ads of female and male models. The server is also “fuller based,” which represents Ben herself, she said.

Ben said the sculpture was intended to spark discussion of what it means to be beautiful in today’s society.

Kari Breese, graduate art student

Kari Breese said she lets the painting take over.

“Usually I try to process everything,” Breese said. “Then I let the painting paint itself.”

Breese placed first for the graduate certificate award. She also won the Hazlitt award, a $500 scholarship donated by a former art student at Sac State.

The untitled painting that won her the awards was a collection of abstract boxes and ladders, which she said represent boxes that society places people in.

Breese said she was surprised to win the award.

“I was happy just to get into the show,” she said. “But to win was just an added bonus.”

Lisa Franklin, senior art history major

Lisa Franklin won the Art Award’s essay contest for her essay “Wilfredo Lam: appropriating Picasso’s primitivism.”

Frainklin’s essay explores Pablo Picasso’s influence over Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam, who learned under Picasso during the 1930s.

Franklin currently works as an art docent for elementary schools, teachings students about art history and bringing art for them to see.

She said she came back to school to become an art historian and eventually teach higher education.

She had submitted essays for the Awards for the last two years, but had not won.

“I was excited and glad I won,” Franklin said. “I felt that my writing was finally maturing.”