Student models art after personal history

Sophomore studio art major Audrey Boyle stands by her piece ‘Beauty of Destruction,’ inspired by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Boyle is a featured artist in the Art Expo 2013.

Ryan Morris

Sophomore studio art major Audrey Boyle stands by her piece ‘Beauty of Destruction,’ inspired by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Boyle is a featured artist in the Art Expo 2013.
Editor’s Note: The following is the first part of a three-part series on students in Art Expo 2013.

From looking at her, it is be hard to tell that Audrey Boyle, a featured artist in the 2013 Art Expo, is an art student. She is most often asked if she on a varsity sports team.

“When I’m not in the studio, I’m playing soccer, or hiking or finding some way to work out,” said Boyle, a sopohmore studio art major. “I’m not saying other artists aren’t like that, but when walking into Wey Hall everyday, I don’t fit into the mold of the stereotypical art kid.”

Her work “Beauty of Destruction,” a six foot tall three-dimensional mixed media piece, was selected by a jury to be featured in the 2013 Art Expo, an annual exhibition of the work of chosen student artists. When Boyle first found out about the Art Expo, it was shortly after the devastation that Hurricane Sandy left behind.

“I had some family that lived on the Jersey Shore and had to be evacuated, so the issue hit pretty close to home,” Boyle said. “I decided to let my piece be a reflection of what people endure because of a natural disaster. The piece is a relief installation made from wood, acrylic and found objects.”

This piece, like much of her personal work, deals in recycled materials, such as scraps of wood and cardboard, and relates back to her personal emotions.

“I lost my dad to lung cancer a little over two years ago, so family ties are a topic that inspires the majority of my work,” Boyle said.

It was her father who encouraged Boyle throughout her life to follow her dream to become an artist, she said.

“I recently found a journal I used to write in throughout elementary school, and I found a page from when I was eight where I had decided that I wanted to be a graphic designer,” Boyle said. “From the time my parents first gave me a crayon, I’ve loved creating. They were always extremely supportive and bought me endless amounts of art supplies.”

After being rejected by the art department twice – the max a student was allowed to be rejected by the program – in her first year at Appalachian, Boyle questioned whether she was making the right decision by continuing with her passion.

“I called everyone that had been supporting me and just sobbed to them over the phone,” Boyle said. “My mom finally calmed me down and said ‘Audrey, I don’t believe that this is the end for you. I think you should sit down with someone in the art department and talk to them about this.'”

So she sat down with Gary Nemcosky, a professor in the art department, and discussed her future.

“I poured my heart out to him about how this had been my dream since I was a little kid, and that I was incredibly lost now,” Boyle said. “Gary went back through my portfolio entry and couldn’t see why I didn’t get in.”

Nemcosky found the arbitrary limit on the number of applications to the program per student ridiculous, and after speaking with Boyle and discussing it with his fellow faculty members, the rule was abolished altogether.

Boyle was finally accepted her sophomore year and has been working in the art department since. Her work has since been featured as a part of the Artistic Rebuttal Project, but Art Expo 2013 is her first juried showing.

“All that matters to me is continuing to do what I love,” Boyle said. “If that means working two jobs on the side as well, so be it, but I know that creating art is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

The exhibit is on view until March 16 in the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts.

Story: LOVEY COOPER, Senior A&E Reporter