Senior ceramics major creates thought provoking work

Jessica RoginskiOnline Editor

Walking into Earl Hall, a large skeletal figure can be seen behind the glass of the right side display case. The sculpture stands with lifelike hips and vertebrae, contrasting with its seemingly youthful face and feet. The form stands tall and proud, but it’s face appears to hide expressions of longing or insecurity.  

This enormous figure was the work of artist Vanessa Braucci, senior ceramics major. The sculpture, ‘Metamorphosis’, is her favorite piece she has made so far. The process started with just one vertebrae, then replicated it, and worked her way into making a whole spine. From there, she had to go about solving problems that arose with her sculpture.

“I had to go about changing it because it wasn’t going to just stand on its own because it’s a spine,” said Braucci. “So I had to create legs and I had to learn how to weld more to make this gigantic thing. I think I grew a bit and it definitely grew a lot more then it was supposed to.”

She said that she began her artistic journey very early on in her life, starting in kindergarten. Her more professional work came much later in her life when she started to attend community college in order to pursue her passion. While she thought art education was going to be ultimate goal, her ambitions changed when she came to Southern.

“I went to Northwestern Community College and I was a painting major there and started to do a little more hands-on creative work,” said Braucci. “Then I transferred here and I was thinking of art education, but I really got into the classes and the enthusiasm of the professors and I stuck with it.”

Braucci now majors in ceramics and picked up a minor in psychology in the hopes of becoming an art therapist later in life.

With her many art courses and projects, she has ample opportunity to practice and try new things. Braucci stays late at night, sometimes until 10 p.m., almost every day to work on her art, even if it is just toying around with some clay.

But with about 2-3 weeks per piece for each of Braucci’s art classes, sometimes she finds it difficult to find inspiration. When she feels stuck, she likes to use outside sources to find ideas.

“I like to bounce ideas off people. I have a few friends here who are also art majors and I bounce some ideas off them. Or I go look up things online or go to a museum, or stay up with current events,” said Braucci.

She claimed that her art is distinct among others because it is much more than something that simply looks nice. Braucci’s true purpose in her art is to get people out of their comfort zone and really make them consider its meaning.

“I like to make people slightly uncomfortable,” said Braucci. “I think it’s better than making a pretty piece of art, that you can really look at this and try to see what I’m trying to show you.”

Braucci thinks that art is important in life to give her a voice in the world. In a world of judgement and criticism, art gives others a safe haven to feel that their ideas are important.

“It’s a little hard to communicate with people sometimes,” said Braucci, “so I think if I can be bold with my art, or if I can say what I want to say with it, people will approach it a little easier and get a little sense of who I am.”

Photo Credit: Jessica Roginski

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