Metcalf mixes media for artistic impact

Senior Ashlyn Metcalf doesn’t shy away from mixing materials and getting experimental with her art. On her new art instagram account (@ash.rrae.art), Metcalf has posted multiple collages she’s created both physically and digitally. Mixing media like markers and paint or even using paint on her collages, Metcalf s
aid there isn’t a precise recipe. “I really just go off of what I feel is right in the moment,” Metcalf said.

Metcalf said art has always been an interest of hers, but the story of how she got into her collages dates back to the eighth grade. “Mr. Wolf had us try a project where we made a small collage and then we painted it on a really big canvas. I can remember going to school everyday and being so excited to work on my project,” Metcalf said. “After that project, I fell in love with making them. I loved that project so much because it incorporated two of my favorite mediums and really pushed me to become a better artist.”

Since junior high, Metcalf has always tried to fit at least one art class into her schedule each semester. Besides what’s taught to her in school, Metcalf said practicing and experimenting with art is how she gets better. “I really enjoy playing around and pushing myself to try new things because you can only learn from it,” Metcalf said.

Because of her strong desire to constantly create, Metcalf went into her first semester of CAPS Education wanting to be an art teacher. “I had always planned on being an art teacher because I want to go into teaching as my career. I tried art teaching in CAPS and it really helped me realize that I use art more as an escape and something that helps me relax,” Metcalf said. 

Because it’s something she enjoys doing now, Metcalf never wants her art to feel like a chore. “My worry is that if I turned it into a career where I had to do art everyday, that it would lose that quality. So, I keep my art just as a hobby,” Metcalf said.

Working on collages more frequently is new to Metcalf, but she said she finds it almost therapeutic. She said her collages have helped her confront her emotions and handle hardship. “I found that I really can use this medium to convey how I feel or I can use them to invoke a feeling through the images and words. It’s helped me really come to terms with some things and maybe even help others understand what is going on in my head,” Metcalf said.

When trying to envision and plan out her collages, Metcalf said being both a visionary and a perfectionist is a hard scale to balance. “I make all of my collages out of recycled or thrifted magazines, so finding the perfect piece that I’m imagining can be tough,” Metcalf said. 

Since she never uses a whole magazine, Metcalf said she tries to be environmentally friendly by using magazines from the Book Nook at the public library or at Goodwill. Metcalf said it takes a lot of paper to make her collages, but she does her best to do her part in environmental efforts. “When I’ve used all I can get out of them, I’ll recycle them,” Metcalf said. 

Using glue, tape, or Modge Podge, Metcalf has many methods when creating her collages. “Most of my recent collages are made right inside my journal, but I can put them on basically anything,” Metcalf said. Recently, she said she’s tried making them digitally, but it’s a work in progress.

While in quarantine, Metcalf decided to finally make an Instagram account specifically for her art. This was originally a plan she meant to set in motion at the beginning of the new decade, but Metcalf said she “needed some time to build up some content.” 

Metcalf said her pieces aren’t perfect, but that’s all the more reason to share them on this platform. “My main goal with it is to help others see that art doesn’t always have to look a certain way. My art is strange and weird and is not perfect by any means, but I have used it as a way to express myself and cope with my feelings,” Metcalf said.

Going into it with the belief that art is not just one thing has allowed Metcalf to get creative in her pieces. “I think people have this preconceived idea in their heads that art has to be ‘this’ or ‘that’ and that if you try art once and you aren’t great at it, that you can never be great at it,” Metcalf said. “I am a firm believer that art is for everyone and can look however you feel it should.”

Metcalf said with her new art account, her aim isn’t to be the most popular, but instead to influence her peers and motivate them to try their hand at art. “My goal is not, by any means, to gain followers or be popular. I want to share my art and maybe inspire others to try something new too,” Metcalf said.

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