Graduate Kylea Myers discusses art and how it connects us all as human beings
By: Marissa Carney
Kylea Myers is a May 2017 graduate of the Visual Art Studies program at Penn State Altoona. The Bedford County native takes a moment to reflect on her love of art and her time here at the college.
I started drawing when I was 3. My mom said I always had a pencil in my hand. I used to draw these really awful heart people and then make up stories about them. In high school, I was always in the art room, drawing or playing around with the clay or whatever I could get my hands on.
When it was time to apply for colleges and decide what to study, I chose art, even though my parents were against it. But I figured that ultimately, I was the one paying for my education. Art has always been a part of me, what I’m doing, and where I’m going, so I decided to pursue a major that would make me happy. I came to Penn State Altoona because I liked its size. I come from a really small town and a bigger campus would have been too much for me. I loved the small class sizes and the one-on-one attention you get from faculty here.
The professors and instructors in the Visual Arts Studies push you in the right direction. They encourage you to try every material and medium and help you find what you like best and excel at. They want you to get a basic fundamental experience, and they guide you, but they want to see what you can come up with on your own. They let you wiggle and grow, and that really helps you to emerge and become an artist.
VAST is a fantastic program. At first the main medium is drawing, because any artist needs a good foundation in that. So I took a perspective class, then a form class. The curriculum the first two years gives you the tools you need and instructs you on how to use them. In the last two years, you are able to focus on what you are most interested in.
For me, that’s a lot of different things. I love to experiment with everything. I love drawing and I love painting, but my favorite thing is to mix media together because I feel that I get a better outcome that way. I don’t want to just be a painter or a drawer. I don’t want to constrict myself in that way. Mixing media lets me be a lot more wild and free. I love creating and seeing what comes out of me and how people respond to it. Art can really bond and connect people. It opens up conversations. Even if someone doesn’t like something I’ve done, that’s okay, too. At least they have a feeling about it, and that leads to breaking down barriers we have all built.
In fact, that was the theme of my senior exhibition, “Universal Bonds.” I had the idea of using thread to make images and create pieces. My work approached the concept of shared experiences. Every image I made for the exhibition related how each human being shares specific memories or traits. People often focus so much on their differences that they fail to see similarities. Each work highlighted a specific aspect that everyone shares, although we may not feel, see, and express ourselves in the same way. I like to think my works enabled viewers to empathize and appreciate the connections we share as humans through visual and physical interaction. Overall, this body of work was intended to break down those barriers. We are all connected through our experiences of the world, our origins, or our interactions with one another.
It was quite interesting to have my own show. I spent the fall semester of my senior year creating all of the art, then in spring, I did all of the work to set up the actual show from meeting with the gallery manager to hanging the pieces. It was good to learn the ins and outs of presenting a show. I was pretty nervous about it, but I really enjoyed it and it gave me a great experience.
I’m proud of my time here at Penn State Altoona and all that I have accomplished. There were a lot of obstacles for me to get to graduation, and there were a lot of times I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I pushed through. Even when people didn’t think I would do well or that I could succeed with art, I said, ‘no, I’m going to do it, watch me.’ And so here I am. I did it.