Since stumbling upon her calling, Audrey Blood ’13, visual arts major and music minor, has fallen head over heels for the visual arts.
Until taking her first visual arts course at Bowdoin, Blood had not even considered taking up art.
“In high school I wanted to pursue music,” she said. “I always thought that I would go into the performing arts.”
That all changed after taking a sculpture class her sophomore year.
“I kind of just fell in love with it,” she said. “I kind of realized that it was really true to how I observe the world, this part of myself that I hadn’t recognized before I came to Bowdoin.”
In her work, Blood’s subject matter is often more instinctive than intentional. A tactile experience inspired a project she developed for her senior seminar.
“I just started hammering pins into Masonite because it felt really good to do," she said. "I think a lot of time what I end up making just comes from following a gut feeling. Like, I feel like painting right now or I feel like nailing things, I’m just going to go with it. Sort of listening to that more visceral experience.”
The experiment developed until it resulted in a seven by seven foot wood panel with approximately 10,000 pins protruding from the surface.
Blood typically does not analyze her work until it is done, but in retrospect she can usually draw connections between the finished product and her personal life.
“It always comes out of what I’m feeling. I don’t necessary intellectualize going into a project,” she said. “I think I tend to do more abstract things that touch on what I’m experiencing at the time.”
To Blood, the beauty of her experience is not just in the final product but also in the process, as in the case of her Masonite-turned-pincushion.
“It was about lighting in particular, looking at shadow, surface and field,” she said. “It was important to me that it was this really repetitive, obsessive, kind of brutal and time-consuming thing that I had to make.”
In terms of a preferred medium, Blood said she is particularly inspired by printmaking. She discovered this after taking Printmaking I during the spring semester of her junior year.
Recently, Blood has done a lot of work through the Marvin Bileck Printmaking Project. This program brings master printmakers to the College to collaborate with students to produce an edition of prints. Blood has been involved in projects with several of these professionals, including Liz Chalfin and Peter Pettengill.
Blood’s creative interests are not limited to the realm of visual arts. She also plays cello, sings in BellaMafia, and dances in fellow senior Natalie Johnson’s independent study.
She considers her collaboration with other students integral to her creative development.
The independent study “ended up being this really incredible creative experience that came out of being with my peers who love dance,” said Blood.
Blood’s three main interests—visual arts, music and dance—have overlapped and enhanced each other.
“I think this year in particular I’ve been able to let my music inform my creative process in dance,” she said. “Then that also informs visual arts. I’ve gotten to let all three of those forms of my creative process talk to each other. I think that’s really special and has helped me learn a lot about myself.”
This semester, Blood has also noticed crossover between what she has learned in science and art classes. She cites the upcoming Per Kirkeby exhibit at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Kirkeby is a Danish painter whose subject matter is grounded in geology. Blood has also learned about color theory in physics classes.
She commends the College for its ability to seamlessly interweave various academic disciplines.
“That’s something unique to Bowdoin that I’m really fortunate to be able to take advantage of,” she said. “I’m in classes with a lot of people who are biology majors or history majors, and everyone brings something different to the table.”
What Blood appreciates most about the arts community at Bowdoin is its collaborative spirit.
“Everyone’s doing really personal work, but it’s in an open space,” she said. “We get to see each other’s creative process, watch each other grow, see what people produce over time, and see what people are thinking about when they’re working.”
In addition to her Bowdoin courses, Blood has studied abroad in Argentina and Denmark, where she took courses in urban planning, industrial design, and architecture. After graduation, she is considering a career in printmaking, public art or design.