O’Quinn shows off “Beauty in All Things”


Jordan Parkhurst

The Looking Glass Gallery was alive Friday night and filled with students, professors, and friends of Elaine O’Quinn, creator of the of the “Beauty in All Things” art exhibit.

Ariel Moran, a junior art management major and current gallery curator, described the all-ink series as an example of how inspiration can be “pulled from anywhere and everywhere.”

“The only problem was running out of wine, which is a good thing,” Moran said.

The Appalachian sat down with O’Quinn to gain insight on her inspirations.

The Appalachian: What do you find primarily inspires you?

O’Quinn: Is it weird to say everything? If I didn’t watch myself I would hold on to every little fragment of thing, thinking I could do something with it later. I pick up broken lockets in parking garages. If I see a cool rock, it goes into my pocket. Once I spent an entire summer learning about mushrooms in the wild simply because I noticed on a walk one day just how many different kinds were to be found. I’m a detail person, which makes the world around me a candy store. Everywhere I look I see something to make meaning of and that sensibility about the world has always made its way into my art.

TA: Do you have a favorite piece within this collection?

O’Quinn: Usually it’s the latest thing I’ve done. I work on something until I love it. For whatever reason the piece called Victorian Rose has been my latest favorite. I love the Victorian period, and when I set out to do this piece I used colors I thought of as reflective of the time. I was ecstatic when I felt I could legitimately call an abstract piece by the name of Rose.

TA: Are you pleased with the turnout for your first show?

O’Quinn: Absolutely- I was very nervous that the only people to show up would be my husband and a few close friends. It made me so happy to see people having a good time and connecting in this wonderful space surrounded by art. It seems a small thing, but these are the moments that we understand how important community is in our lives. I am so thankful for all of those who gave up a couple hours of their time to be present.

TA: What fuels your creativity?

O’Quinn: Quiet time. I try very hard to make sure I have time away from the madness of daily life. I work hard to get done what needs to be done, execute the joys of my academic life, pay attention to the people I love and then set time aside to nurture what feeds me, which can be any number of things.

TA: In your life, what artists have inspired you?

O’Quinn: I guess I have never met an artist I didn’t like. I’ve got everything in my house from dancing bears to kittens dressed up at a schoolhouse to mythological representations of Persephone. I also love photography and well-executed crafts, and I think it is especially important to support local artists who dabble in all of these things. Everyone can’t be Van Gogh, but they don’t have to be. There is plenty of inspiration in our immediate life that can be captured and shared in extremely meaningful ways.

The exhibit can be viewed in the gallery until Sept. 10.

Jordan Parkhurst, Intern A&E Reporter