Department of Art hosts 4-H workshop

May 31st, 2013 Comments Off on Department of Art hosts 4-H workshop

4H workshop summer 2013 4H workshop summer 2013_1

More than 700 students from every county in Mississippi visited Mississippi State this week for the annual State 4-H Congress.

The event featured contests and workshops for the students that fit into this year’s theme, “Don’t Just Think It…Know It! Don’t Just Try It…Do It! Don’t Just Dream It…Be It!”

The Department of Art offered a workshop to introduce students to sculptural drawing.

Eight 4-Hers participated in the workshop taught by Professor John Paul Remo on May 30.

Remo told the participants a little about himself before explaining some of the basic drawing terms – line, shape, form, scale, value/force and perspective. He also walked the students through developing visual relationships – positive and negative space, symmetry and asymmetry, overlapping, influence and direction. Finally, Remo explained that it’s important to consider composition, focal point and clarity when creating a drawing.

The students were then introduced to their project. Working in two groups, Remo had them construct sculptural drawings using yarn and tacks on the wall. Every student blindly selected a word and were responsible for making that word a visual characteristic in their group’s drawing.

See more photos on Remo’s website.

Watch the video on WCBI about the 4-H Congress.

Read the story on MSU’s website.

Thimblepress selected as Etsy Shop of the Month by Southern Living

May 29th, 2013 Comments Off on Thimblepress selected as Etsy Shop of the Month by Southern Living


(By Mary Beard | Southern Living)
Each month Dixie Chic is scouring the digital storefronts to bring you our favorite Southern artisans. From textiles to typography and everything in between, discovering truly unique Southern pieces has never been this easy—or this fun.

The Shop:
Opened in 2011, Thimblepress is the creation of Kristen Ley, a Mississippi State alumna (BFA, May 2007) and lover of graphics and design. After dabbling in design studios both in Charleston and Jackson, Kristen, always interested in learning new mediums, tracked down a 1925 letterpress in Lexington, Kentucky. She and a friend then transported the 900-pound press all the way back down to Mississippi and with help from fellow letterpress artist Ed Inman, she learned the craft and began her studio. The name came from Kristen’s lifelong collection of thimbles found through her travels and saved from family members—a self-proclaimed dorky, but sentimental habit. The collection now resides in her office.

“I guess the reason I started Thimblepress was to give me a creative outlet where I can create what I want to create,” says Kristen. “The only client is myself, and I can freely create with no red tape or guidelines. Thimblepress is a personal reflection of me and what I love to do. I am still very humbled when people say they love my work.”

Her Style:
Eclectic, cheerful, and vibrant. Her shop has a little something for everyone, offering prints, apparel, and home goods all featuring her unique illustrations, designs, and watercolors. We especially love her collection of state prints. Each one is illustrated with its own state flower.

Drawing Inspiration:
“Influence comes directly from my life. Everything I do has a story behind it. I am very sentimental and the things I create have a direct connection to my life, be it family, friends, travel, or a random memory about fishing on a pier. People ask me where I got the idea to do something, and I can sit down and give them a whole story. I think I get that storytelling from my grandfather. I talk a lot now, I can’t imagine how much I will talk when I get to be 70 years old.”

Southern Influence:
“It has been a huge influence on me—I just love the South. My whole family was raised in the South, and I think some of the sayings that I use on my cards, prints, and other items reflect the culture I was raised in. The South, in particular Mississippi, has been overwhelmingly supportive of my work and my endeavors with Thimblepress. It is like one huge family of supporters!”

Check out Thimblepress’s storefront or find Kristen on Twitter: @thimblepress.

Also, keep an eye out for Kristen’s retail shop, opening this summer on North State Street in Jackson!

Call to artists: Visions from a Bulldog Nation Juried Exhibit

May 21st, 2013 Comments Off on Call to artists: Visions from a Bulldog Nation Juried Exhibit

Photo: University Relations

Photo: University Relations

The Visions from a Bulldog Nation: Juried Exhibit will run from June 3 through July 31 in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery.

Call to artists:
Paying homage to Mississippi State’s mascot,  artistic interpretations of Bully will be accepted – all forms, sizes and mediums. Entries will be accepted from all age groups. Artists may enter up to three works. All works must be framed and ready to hang. The gallery uses a cable hanging system that can hold up to 50 lbs per work.

The deadline to submit art is May 24.

Artwork must be delivered May 29-30.

For more information, please email Amelia Treptow at, or call 662-325-2930.

Del Rendon’s art legacy lives on through student scholarships

May 20th, 2013 Comments Off on Del Rendon’s art legacy lives on through student scholarships

Paige McDonnell, a recent graduate, was the second recipient of the Del Rendon Scholarship.

Paige McDonnell, a recent graduate, was the second recipient of the Del Rendon Scholarship.

To Del Rendon, art was a full-time job. At least, that’s how his former art professor and thesis committee advisor Brent Funderburk described him.

“Del was one of those persons with indistinct edges in terms of his love of music, visual art and creative vision,” said Funderburk. “He would create art about musicians and music; he would write songs about his art. He would go into his evening critique and then perform later in a band. It was a full-time, never-clock-out artistic life, even as a student. Del believed that art should be a full-time, lifetime job – not just go to class, and do the work – which made him a role model.”

So, when Rendon passed away in September 2005, his family and friends decided to honor and remember him by establishing an endowment in the MSU Art Department, which helps make it a little easier for MSU students who possess similar passions for art fulfill their dreams.

The MSU Department of Art Del Rendon Scholarship is given to a freshman or sophomore art student who exhibits a strong and creative portfolio. The student must also have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in their emphasis area and an overall GPA of 2.5 or better.

“The premise is to find a student that’s multi-disciplinary,” said Lydia Thompson, head of the Department of Art.

Thompson said the application process for the scholarship is a good way to build students’ knowledge of what a practicing artist does, as they will likely have to apply for grants and other funding to support their art in the future.

“It teaches them the process of how to put together an application and go through the process,” she said.

Each year, family and friends organize the Del Rendon Music Festival (also known as the DelFest) to raise funds for the Del Rendon Foundation that supports the scholarship.

Dave Hood, DelFest organizer and proprietor of Dave’s Darkhorse Tavern, characterized this year’s eighth-annual event, held on Feb. 23, as the most successful one to date.

“DelFest has evolved from a way for family and friends to find some meaning in his passing into an extremely special way to celebrate his art and music,” said Hood.

So far, two students have received the scholarship, which is renewable each year of study.

Aj Meadows was the first recipient of the Del Rendon Scholarship. Meadows received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009 with a sculpture emphasis from Mississippi State and went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts from The Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

“Receiving the Del Rendon Scholarship acted as a sort of stamp-of- approval or ‘green light’ to continue with the arts, music in particular,” said Meadows. “The Rendon family has always shown support for my music, from playing amazing open mic nights at Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern to performing for sold-out crowds in Glasgow.”

Meadows is currently working in Scotland with his band, belle in the meadows, to record their first full-length album.

“I couldn’t have gotten here without the Rendons’ support,” he said.

Paige McDonnell just graduated with an emphasis in graphic design and has received the Del Rendon Scholarship for three years now.

“This scholarship was a fantastic opportunity that helped me afford a great education and was really encouraging as an artist to receive,” said McDonnell.

McDonnell is planning to spend eight weeks in London, England, for an internship this summer and looks forward to applying for a professional internship with Disney.

“We are excited to see the impact the scholarship has already had on students and want to continue to grow the endowment with the hopes that one day it can provide a full-ride to a deserving student,” said Andrew Rendon, Del’s brother and foundation board member. “We are also very grateful for Lydia Thompson’s leadership and passion and look forward to continuing to work with Lydia on growing this scholarship.”

Applications for the scholarship will be available in the fall, and the next Del Rendon Scholarship recipient should be awarded in early spring.

“The recipients of this scholarship are passionate, young artist who show great promise in making their mark in the art world,” said Thompson. “Del Rendon’s legacy lives on through the music and visual arts of our students and alumni.”

If you are interested in supporting the Del Rendon Scholarship, visit Please specify that you would like the gift to go toward the Del Rendon Art Scholarship in the College of Architecture, Art, and Design. You can also contact Nathan Moore at 662-325-8227, or email him at

Art faculty present summer exhibit

May 15th, 2013 Comments Off on Art faculty present summer exhibit

It's What I Do_51
The Department of Art faculty have an exhibit open through June in the Cullis Wade Depot Gallery: It’s What I Do.

Read more on MSU’s website.

Art alumnus exhibits MFA Thesis at Oxford’s Southside Gallery

May 15th, 2013 Comments Off on Art alumnus exhibits MFA Thesis at Oxford’s Southside Gallery

Wesley Ortiz's Muted Resistance features 12 works completed during the past year. (photo from the Monroe Journal)

Wesley Ortiz’s Muted Resistance features 12 works completed during the past year. (photo from the Monroe Journal)

(from the Monroe Journal)

Wesley H. Ortiz, a 1998 MSU Department of Art graduate, recently culminated his graduate studies at The University of Mississippi with a thesis exhibition at the Southside Gallery on Oxford’s historic square.

The show, titled Muted Resistance, featured 12 works completed during the past year. The works, created with gesso, acrylic, charcoal and graphite, combine placid fields of whites and toned grays, juxtaposed with violent applications of drawing materials to create turmoil.

“My paintings are the voice of silenced negative human emotion. The works are expressions of negativity, despondency, confusion, anxiety, subjugation and the loss of identity,” said Ortiz. “They are examples of internal reactions to external tension. Each piece presents a fragile state of vulnerability and the act of fighting against or succumbing to the overwhelming distress. They represent our human psyche and physical tolerance to the many degrees of agony.”

Ortiz joined The University of Mississippi in 2010 as a graduate student in the Fine Art Department. In 2011, he won first place in the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition. His work has been featured in the Meridian Museum of Art and the Amory Regional Museum in Mississippi, as well as the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition in Brooklyn, New York; the After Sputnik exhibition in Long Island City, New York; Tennessee Valley Art Association in Tuscumbia, Alabama; and Juried Online International Art Exhibit at Upstream People Gallery.

He received his Master of Fine Arts from The University of Mississippi on May 11.

Read about Ortiz on the “Eating Oxford” blog.

Art student excited about next steps

May 6th, 2013 Comments Off on Art student excited about next steps

April Shelby at the reception for her senior thesis work.

April Shelby’s thesis work

Last summer, April Shelby decided to start a Facebook page to post pictures of her artwork.

“That generated a lot of interest, and I was surprised to find out that people were actually interested in the work I do,” the soon-to-be ceramics graduate from the Florence said.

Since then, Shelby has stayed busy creating pieces for sale and working on her thesis body of work.

“Last semester was a really big one,” she said.

Shelby was honored when she was selected by her professors to win a pottery wheel at the 41st MSU Juried Student Art Exhibition. She also recently received a grant from the Entrepreneurship Center that provided the funds to purchase a kiln, which has been ordered and should arrive any day.

“I’m just waiting on that phone call,” she said.

The artist gives credit to her professors and the Department of Art for helping prepare her for a career in art. She said studio assistant Michelle Neumann and Professor Robert Long were always available to help her with art and even to offer advice about working as an artist in general.

“My thesis also really taught me to become a dedicated studio artist and put forth the effort and work every day on a particular goal,” said Shelby.

She also says she could have never pursued her love of art without the constant support of her family.

“They’ve always believed in me, even when I’ve doubted myself,” she said.

Shelby said her next big purchase will be a building, and she’d like to start making as much work as possible to sell in stores and more sculptural work for galleries.

“I’m just excited to have my own equipment and make what I want to make,” she said.

Entrepreneurship Center offers guidance, funding, networking, employment and more

May 1st, 2013 Comments Off on Entrepreneurship Center offers guidance, funding, networking, employment and more

April Shelby, right, stands with fellow senior Sarah Kilpatrick. Shelby recently received funds from the Entrepreneurship Center to purchase a kiln to help her get her own business started.

April Shelby will be graduating next week with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. However, Shelby is already well on her way to owning her own successful business, thanks to the Entrepreneurship Center.

Shelby, a ceramics student, recently received a $2,300 grant from the Entrepreneurship Center to purchase a kiln. She also recently won a pottery wheel from the 41st MSU Juried Student Art Exhibition and has already made her first sale.

Shelby’s funds came from the Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship (TCEE). The endowment’s funds are to be allocated to help students with start-up capital needed to launch a business – usually the biggest barrier to starting a business.

The first step in the month-long application process to receive funding is to meet with Parker Stewart, marketing research associate for the Entrepreneurship Center.

Students then must complete a one-page business plan and put together a 10-minute presentation for the Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board (ECAB).

“I help them every step of the way,” Stewart said.

ECAB consists of business faculty and entrepreneurs from the community who meet once a month, and Stewart even suggests meeting with the committee just to discuss an idea and get feedback and general thoughts.

“With that many people in a room together,” he said. “They come up with some things you wouldn’t have even thought about.”

The Entrepreneurship Center also offers other resources to help anyone interested in starting their own business and even those interested in working for a new start-up company.

“We’re not limited to the type of student or the type of idea,” said Stewart. “As long they are passionate, are dedicated and want to move forward and make an actual company out of it.”

A seminar series, GE3011 – Engineering Entrepreneurship Seminar, is a one-hour elective open to anyone in the fall and spring. The course meets from 2-3:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and brings in alumni who’ve started their own businesses, patent attorneys and insurance professionals to give an overview of what’s involved in starting a business.

The Entrepreneurship Club (eClub) started with six students just over a year ago and has grown to 40 students with 20 different startup companies. The club is open to any MSU student. Dues are $25 per semester and go toward monthly lunches before the seminar series, trips and access to the newly built Company Laboratory (Co-Lab).

“The eClub takes ‘eMbarkments’ throughout the year to tour startup companies, pick the brain of the owners and get a feel for the people who are living the entrepreneurship adventure,” said Stewart.

The group recently toured Daxko, a software firm for nonprofits in Birmingham. Stewart said the culture was similar to Google. Employees could write on the walls; they rode in on skateboards, and the CEO’s desk was right there when you got off the elevator. Stewart said the eMbarkments are also beneficial for students who want to work for a startup company and get plugged in and network.

The eClub recently received funding and raised $15,000 to build a room, the Co-Lab, located in 209 McCool Hall. The walls in the room are covered with high-quality dry erase paint, and the room is meant to serve as a creative workspace for eClub members.

“It’s meant to be a space for students to be able to sketch a building design, a logo or website layout where they are not limited to your typical whiteboard space,” said Stewart. “It’s massive.”

The Entrepreneurship Center also offers competitions with cash prizes. The center gave away almost $60,000 in prizes at a recent competition, including $15,000 in cash and $10,000 in legal services to the grand prize winner.

For those students who just want a taste of what it’s like to start a business, the center works to plug them into startup companies. They get paid to work for a certain amount of time and get experience.

“It’s cool to be able to see a student interested in entrepreneurship get plugged up with a startup company,” said Stewart. “And when they get done, they want to start their own business.”

Stewart said in his job he mainly serves as a liaison, putting students in touch with people they will need to start a business, such as attorneys, accountants, insurance representatives, people in a particular industry and faculty members. He encourages anyone with an idea or even those who are already making money and don’t know where to go from there to come talk to him.

“I’m not an expert at many things, but I know people who are.”

For more information, email Parker Stewart at, or call him at 601-810-2453. You can also visit the Entrepreneurship Center located in 210 McCool Hall.

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