Student Spotlight: Kayla Seymour

Hey guys! This week we are learning more about Kayla, a photography major who is fun and quirky and always has a different point of view when it comes to projects. I had a class with Kayla last semester, and she was always looking at things from a different angle, and has a great way to make everyone laugh!

Meet Kayla!Photo of a group of girls and Kayla's hand

Name: Kayla Seymour, Class of 2019 (she’s the hand at left)

Major: Photography

Minor(s): English and Art History

I am majoring in Art because… I can’t imagine failing at anything else in life and being happy with it, as well as, having enough desire and drive to grow from that failure and try again. Art is thrilling in all its manifestations. It’s the feeling I get when leaving an art museum, when leaving a concert, and when leaving the movie theater that I chose art as my major.

I chose photography in particular because I am just sort of drawn to cameras for a reason unknown to me. When I was 12, I wanted a Polaroid camera from Wal-Mart, and that was the first camera that was officially mine (shout-out to Santa for coming through that Christmas.) Ever since then, I got three more cameras: a Lomography film camera made out of plastic, an Insta x Mini instant camera, and for my 16th birthday, a Nikon d3100 DSLR. I took a lot of pictures for sort of just this weird documentation I wanted of my life. I then arranged them in this book I have called How to be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith. I didn’t think I was making art at the time, but I now think it’s art in its own right because of the way it makes me feel when I flip through. I didn’t really give in to the major until my fourth semester, and once I did parts of my brain came together in all the right places and I was home.

The kinds of things that inspire me are the way Earth rotates throughout the course of the day and the changes of light because of it. People riding on bikes in the middle of the road. Spilled milk. A good coffee early in the morning. A good coffee in the middle of the night. Any Édouard Manet or Thomas Couture painting. The movie Whiplash. TV lights glowing from people’s houses at 10 PM. The red light that blinks at the top of West Mountain, across from my house, that guides the airplanes. Level’s third floor. Emily Dickinson. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Scott Mescudi…Many things.

My favorite class so far would have to be Drawing I with Ryan Ward. We drew many different things and used a lot different mediums. This class really brought out creativity and risk-taking, as well as held strict principles and fundamentals like composition and value. I grew a lot from this class, and also from Laura Alexander’s Basic Drawing and Figure Drawing.

When I’m not in class I’m… usually working. But when I’m not working I’m either visiting my friend in New York, at the movies, reading, checking out local galleries, studying, or attempting to create art.

The coolest thing I’ve done so far was go to New York City to the Angelika Film Center to meet Shia LaBeouf and watch his movies with him for his #ALLMYMOVIES project. He was watching all his movies at this theatre in reverse chronological order back to back with like ten minute intermissions, and he was letting people join him to watch for free. I left Scranton at like 10 PM on a Wednesday night, my classes were all oddly cancelled that Thursday, and I arrived and parked by midnight. I waited for twelve hours, met some really interesting people from New York, one a film student at NYU, one a bass player for a jazz band…It was a great thing to be a part of and connect with people. When I got into the theatre, the Even Stevens movie was playing and it was one of the best moments of my life to watch a movie I used to watch when I was younger (whenever Disney Channel had its lit Disney Channel Movie nights) with that same actor in the movie. He was laughing and crying and interacting with everyone; it was worth everything. Ok, I did skip Economics that Thursday night, but I got an A in the course so it worked out.

When I graduate I… would like to go to graduate school somewhere possibly out of Pennsylvania, and even perhaps out of the country. I would really love to go to London and study there, but I also have like five dollars in my bank account right now.

I’d recommend the Art program at Marywood because… they provide a “Foundation Year” your freshman year that really emphasizes the core values of art. You would take classes such as two-and three-dimensional design, a drawing course and an additional drawing or painting course, and two art history survey courses. They also have a lot of visiting artists come to speak at Marywood, and that’s also great to get exposure to and learn from.

Who is your favorite artist and what about them inspires you the most?

Wolfgang Tillmans is my favorite artist. His work is so pure to the heart and unique. He considers himself an analog photographer in that he doesn’t do any retouching to his photographs. His photographs speak to the core of photography and make you feel things that you can’t put into words and don’t really want to. He is a sponge to the surrounding world. I would love to have a conversation with him some day, though I feel I already have at his exhibition at the Tate Modern this past summer, Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017. “There’s not one correct way of reading my work. I sometimes say that if you have an encounter with five percent of my work and you get a sense of ‘I know how that smells,’ or ‘I know how that sounds’ or ‘I’ve seen this before,’ ‘I understand this,’ ‘I can feel like this.’ That’s really what I can say is success for my work.” -Wolfgang Tillmans

Here is some of Kayla’s work!

I hope you guys had as much fun reading about Kayla and learning more about her as I did. She’s bright and funny, and I’m sure you’d be able to spot her on campus even with just a hand as a reference photo to what she looks like. In any case, thanks a lot Kayla, and everyone, and until next time, remember to keep on creating!

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