When Bianca Allende Boyd ’21 arrived at Bowdoin, she did not intend to take more than one art course. But after taking Printmaking I during her first semester, her plans changed. Now, Boyd is a visual arts and education coordinate major.
“I was not an artist at all before college, but I realized that [art] was this really beautiful way to compliment all of the curriculum that I was learning about in all of my classes,” Boyd said in a Zoom interview with the Orient. “Once I figured out that it could be an outlet to explore what I was learning, it became so essential.”
Although Boyd became interested in art through printmaking, she eventually began exploring other media in College courses and student-led groups, such as sculpture, animation and theater design.
Outside of these externally structured settings, Boyd works independently on personal visual arts projects. Some of her own favorite work comes from her journal, where she doodles to help herself focus and draws inspiration for future pieces.
“I create these small creature-people-humanoid things,” Boyd said. “I think it’s really been a way for my mind to explore how I feel about my body and the environment I’m in and where my head is at.”
Boyd chose to use these doodles—some of her first artistic expressions at Bowdoin—as the main inspiration for her Advanced Studio course, her final art project at Bowdoin. As part of her Advanced Studio, Boyd is currently taking Installation Art, where she works alongside other visual arts majors on producing her own exhibition in a medium of her choice. When Boyd began creating art, she would often sacrifice time doodling to complete other artistic assignments, but now, Boyd has the opportunity to reimagine her doodles and to pursue them more seriously than she ever has before.
“I’m trying to figure out a way to translate all of those doodles into something that can be shared with other people,” Boyd said. “It’s not just something intimate for me in my notebook; it’s something that I want to bring out and scale.”
In addition to working on her Advanced Studio, Boyd has also been a teaching assistant for the Department of Visual Art’s Painting I and Drawing II courses, for the past three years. Because Boyd has valued the opportunity to collaborate in the studio with other student artists as a teaching assistant, she and some other assistants revived Bowdoin’s visual arts Instagram account. They hope to use the account to maintain a sense of community while many of the College’s operations remain remote.
“People were always chatting and working together, and I think that was missing when the pandemic hit,” Boyd said. “The Visual Arts Instagram is an easy way for sharing what everyone else was working on.”
While Boyd was initially disheartened to not be able to continue making art in person, she is proud of the progress that she made during the time away from her Bowdoin studios. While living off-campus, Boyd proved to herself that she could break from her routine and create art outside the confines of the Edwards Center for Art and Dance. She knows that this ability to be independent will be necessary as she prepares to graduate at the end of the semester.
“It was really easy to be in a routine before with my art making—I’d go into the studio, I’d lay out all of my stuff, I had my spot, I had my favorite chair in the printmaking studio—everything was as it should be,” Boyd said. “I’ve loved, in a weird way, forcing myself to make it work in spaces that I usually didn’t associate with art making.”
While she does not plan to pursue a specific style, Boyd is certain that her art career will not end after Bowdon, and she has already begun researching printmaking studios and artist collaborations near her home in San Diego, California.
“Now that I have art, it’s always going to be something that I’m doing; it’s just always going to be a part of my life,” Boyd said. “It’s something that I won’t be able to live without from here on out.”