Over the last eight months of preventative isolation and social distancing, Shane Araujo ’23 has done more than simply pick up a hobby—he has reignited his passion for making art and taken to Instagram to share his work.
Before coming to Bowdoin, Araujo attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, a nationally-renowned arts high school in New York City. While he was there, he focused on fine arts, taking art classes consistently throughout his four years.
“I had art class every day and it was the perfect time to learn artmaking skills and explore different media,” wrote Araujo in an email to the Orient. “Only once I graduated did I realize how important it had become in my life and something I want to continue in the future.”
While his initial transition to Bowdoin last fall left him with very little free time to continue making art, the College’s switch to remote learning in March left him with all too much of it. It was during these initial months of isolation that Araujo began creating art on a more consistent basis.
“I had gone a large portion of my first year without making anything substantial,” said Araujo. “This past quarantine at home reinspired my passion for art making and relaxing by drawing up whatever comes to mind.”
Whether he is working with colored pencil, watercolor, acrylic, pen or, more recently, marker, the focus of Araujo’s artwork tends to be on color and pattern.
“I really love creating scenes with a wide variety of color and drawing inspiration from nature and other natural scenes,” said Araujo. “I tend to focus details and attention on the main subject and then create a background that contains some sort of repetitive aspect [or] pattern.”
In the first few weeks after being sent home in March, Araujo took advantage of the various artmaking spaces around him, including those in his apartment and the park during the spring weather. Eventually, he created an Instagram page and began sharing his artwork with friends and followers.
Araujo’s first post was in late March, and since then, he has been photographing his work and documenting his creative process in a series of posts that he calls “entries.” While he has made several entries since, his entry from April—a watercolor, acrylic, marker and pen composition featuring four goldfish and a patterned border—remains his favorite.
“I clearly remember watching Tiger King really late at night while watercoloring the bodies of the fish,” said Araujo. “I liked the illustrative style it took up despite not having any sort of plan for what I wanted it to exactly look like.”
As the workload began to pick up in Araujo’s remote classes, he struggled to find as much free time to create art; however, he still managed to find ways to incorporate his creative passions into his academic work.
“I used a creative final assignment in my Japanese Literature class to sit down and draw a scene from a short story we had read to complement my analysis essay, which I ended up really enjoying,” said Araujo.
Araujo continued making art through the summer and, in anticipation of having less artmaking time during the academic year, enrolled in the visual arts department’s Printmaking I course for the fall 2020 semester.
“Despite not having a lot of time to work on personal pieces, printmaking has allowed me to focus on a medium I am not really used to and explore that form of art making.”
Araujo hopes to continue taking art classes at Bowdoin as a way to reintegrate artmaking into his day-to-day life in college. At the moment, he has his eyes on Drawing I or a photography class, if one is offered in the spring.
“It has been nice incorporating art into my academic schedule,” said Araujo. “I think it will be difficult for me to manage my academic classes in addition to creating personal art, but I fully intend on bringing some art supplies to my dorm room next semester!”