Senior presents BFA exhibition for jewelry, metalsmithing

By Tasman Mattox | 4/12/18 2:18am

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GVL / Hannah Zajac BFA Exhibit in Calder Arts Center on Monday April 9th, 2018.

It’s no secret that Grand Valley State University has an affinity for art; there is even an app that maps the art that can be found on campus. In the same vein, GVSU students interested in pursuing art are given many opportunities to do so with the fine arts program. 

GVSU senior Justin Nienhuis is part of that program, and other students can join him at his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Exhibition this week. 

The exhibition, titled “Control and Creativity (100 Questions I Asked Myself)” was open every day this week from 8 a.m to 11 p.m. in the Stuart B. and Barbara H. Padnos Art and Design Student Gallery. There will be a closing reception Thursday, April 12, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the gallery, open to everyone. 

As for Nienhuis, his exhibit theme is unique and focused on self-reflection. When spectators view his art, the details involved in his creations are clear.

“My overarching theme is an exploration of form and process," Nienhuis said. "I literally had a list of 100 questions I asked myself while working through my pieces. They’re just broad questions. I’m sure as I went through, I really went through a thousand, but these I wrote down and they became themes and ideas.” 

Nienhuis works primarily in jewelry and metalsmithing, an emphasis in the BFA studio art program. It provides students with a wide range of skills and experiences.

“Long story short, it was something I’d never done before," he said. "It intrigued me, and I wanted to try something new. I used the resources available that the school provides."

Nienhuis said GVSU and the university faculty have been integral in his development as an artist.

“Grand Valley has been a good support,” Nienhuis said. “My professor, Beverly Seley, has really been inspirational and a driving force behind my work. She is really supportive in giving her constructive criticism.”

After college, Nienhuis hopes he will be able to continue his art as a career.

“The best thing would be to work on my own studio and live off what I make when I sell my work," he said. "My dream is to be able to just continue to create my own work."

Nienhuis hopes that those who visit his exhibition feel inspired by his work and "are aware of what their own thought processes are, especially if they are creators.” 

To Nienhuis, art and artistic expression is a journey, and he encourages everyone to create.

“Creating art and being an artist to me just means having that question and regardless of outcome ... whether it be good or bad, a success or failure, pursuing and attempting to create something,” Nienhuis said. “It doesn’t matter if someone else has already tried; go in and pursue that idea.”

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