Artist Spotlight: Eva Arochena Garcia paints in light of adversity

Senior Eva Arochena Garcia has loved art since she was young. Growing up as an only child, she found entertainment in painting and coloring — especially watercolor. As she grew up, she stopped painting, but rediscovered the passion at age 14, before her move to the United States from Spain.

“I came to the U.S. when I was sixteen and had an art teacher that was super encouraging,” Garcia said. “And she made me realize that I could do this and I had something to show.”

Since coming to Whitworth, Garcia has dedicated herself to her passion, and is currently working on building her portfolio. Influenced by artists like Canadian photographer Petra Collins, Garcia often uses images as inspiration.

She also enjoys the material style of painters Lucian Freud or Francis Bacon, and how they leave the brush stroke visible, the large use of paint and expressiveness of their work. This leaves the images not “super perfect,” which is very fresh to her, Garcia said.

“I guess I’m interested in the darker side of life. I’m interested in private moments that are not supposed to be seen, and showing that intimacy and at the same time try to make the viewer a bit uncomfortable,” Garcia said. “I approach it from a photographic perspective. I’m a photographer too, so I always base all my paintings in photographs.”


Garcia has not always been encouraged to pursue art, however. Initially, her parents wanted her to study English before she switched her major, and she had some bad experiences with art teachers. Past teachers spoke negatively of her work, focusing on technique and not relating to her style.

After specializing in art in high school, Garcia came to Whitworth, and found herself with more freedom in her art.

As a senior, she has flexibility with her schedule, and can focus on classes to build her skill set while choosing her own subjects for her pieces.

One of her art professors, Gordon Wilson, enjoys her style, and encourages her to portray her visions, especially those that have centered her in life, Garcia said.

“A lot of people influence me — everything that I see influences me,” Garcia said

Currently, Garcia is working on five full paintings that she hopes to finish by the end of the semester. In the spring, she plans to compose another five to complete a ten-painting series.

Garcia is unsure if she wants to pursue an Masters in Fine Art program, but she wants to continue painting. Garcia hopes to build enough work to show at a local coffee shop back home, or to show work in a community center or even at Whitworth.

“I just want to develop a body of work that I can show,” Garcia said. “ at’s where I’m at right now.”

While she is still young and does not have much work for a gallery showing yet, she aims to simply have her art shown, Garcia said.

Whether it be in Spokane or back home in Michigan, Garcia wants build a collection that she can move around to feature in different places and start building a name for herself.


Meghan Foulk

Staff Writer

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Artist Spotlight: Ryan Stewart: Saxophonist and senator


A talented musician and multi-instrumentalist, sophomore Ryan Stewart is active in the music scene at Whitworth. His ability to play the saxophone, clarinet and piano gave him the opportunity to play professionally throughout high school and college.

“I had jazz combo in high school; it’s like small jazz band with four or five people playing from the same high school,” Stewart said. “We got a gig to play for a big regional company in downtown and played professionally.”

He also performed several times in public places and hotels.

“I performed in Riverfront Park, and at Red Lion Hotel a couple of times, and I played at Davenport hotel for a New Year celebration,” Stewart said.

Although Stewart has had experience playing professionally since high school, he never stops practicing and learning more.

In 2014, Stewart started his music education at Whitworth and is majoring in music performance with a focus on classical and jazz saxophone.

While Stewart has a tight schedule with studying, work and Warren Hall senatorial duties, he is also active in off-campus activities. He joined a local jazz band to play with other music students and professional musicians.


“It’s a jazz band called The Master-Class Big Band,” Stewart said. “It’s kind of a cool local band that lets student and professionals get together and play gigs around town.”

In addition to playing saxophone, Stewart is interested in classical music history.

“I feel like music in the past teaches us a lot and I always will be a fan of older music,” Stewart said. “I love music stuff from the classical era. Its very cool to see, all the music we have today comes from music of the past.”

One of his favorite musicians from the classical era is Dexter Gordon, an American jazz tenor saxophonist. He admires and looks up to Gordon’s music performance skill.

“His tone and the way he plays, it’s very edgy and simplistic,” Stewart said. “I’d love to go to classical theater, either in France or in Italy. I’d love to perform as a feature. But I’d also enjoy to going to watch professional symphony orchestra.”

Stewart wants to continue his music education beyond Whitworth.

“I’m planning to go to graduate school to get doctorate in saxophone performance, and also hope to teach at a university,” Stewart said.


Hana Hetty Manuela

Staff Writer

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Melissa Johnson: Avid animator and illustrator

Everyone has an imagination but not everyone can express it visually. Melissa Johnson, a sophomore art student, found a way to express her imagination through animation and illustration. She shares her experience, how the first time she found herself in art. “I remember when I was little, I started drawing and just did it for fun," Johnson said. "Then the more I got into it, the more I realized that I feel like God gave me this gift and I really want to use it.”

She has a love of art from her grandmother and father, who both shaped the way she is today, Johnson said.

Johnson loves animation. Much of her inspiration comes from Disney. Many of her sketches are inspired by characters from the “Lion King.” One influential person who significantly impacted her artwork and animation is Glen Keane.

“He was an animator for Disney and he has done a lot animation and illustration kinds of things, and his characters are so alive,” Johnson said. “It’s like 2-D images on a piece of paper, but you can feel them moving. The characters are very well done. He is very gestural.”

She adores Keane’s creations and tries to apply his drawing skills to her work, she said.

“How he draws, you can feel the movement and emotion of the character. I think, that’s so cool,” Johnson said.

Johnson always carries a sketchbook and a pencil with her, she said. Anytime, anywhere, Johnson can project her imagination onto paper by drawing her favorite characters, both animal and human. She describes her animation characters as having deep emotion, live movement and body language.

She also enjoys doing character animation as a form of stress relief, she said. By drawing animated characters, she can express her mood.

It is not easy to create animated characters. She faces many challenges while brainstorming designs.

“I think the biggest challenge for me and something that I have been working on lately is making different characters," Johnson said. “So not just focusing on a specific person or one specific character, expression or poses–make them dynamic and different.”

Since Johnson first realized she had a passion for animation, she began making characters and kept improving every year.

“I have some characters that I have been drawing since the beginning, there’s some animals that even now I still draw,” Johnson said. “There’s one character that I draw once every year in the same position, doing the same things, so I can see the progress that I made."

At Whitworth, Johnson has learned a lot about 2-D and 3-D formats. She believes that Whitworth has helped develop her artistic skills. “I’m actually really thankful that, in Whitworth’s program, I get a broad kind of education, where I can get more experience with traditional drawing and painting," Johnson said.

Apart from her studies, Johnson is preparing to launch a blog or website as a medium to display her artwork. By having this online portfolio, she is hoping to kick-start her dream of being a Disney animator and illustrator for children’s books.

“That’s the dream someday; illustrate children’s books and work for Disney. I want to tell stories with these characters,” Johnson said.


Hana Manuela

Staff Writer

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