By Kayley Weeks / Staff Writer
Olivia Richmond is currently a junior at the University of Southern Maine. She is studying Art Education with a double concentration in Painting/Drawing and Ceramics. Richmond is from a small farm town in central Maine called Jefferson. She is a residential student, but has recently made the switch to remote learning for the holiday season.
Art has always been a part of Richmond’s life. Both of her parents studied art in college, so she has always been surrounded by art. However, Richmond didn’t begin to take art seriously until she began college.
Richmond’s artwork includes a mixture of surrealism and realism. For a while, she was drawn to subject matter that others would describe as ‘strange’. Richmond says a lot of her work is inspired by surrealists. Her favorite artist is Salvador Dali. Her paintings display neutral and earthy tones with a pop of color.
Richmond’s favorite art classes were Intro to Ceramics with David Schnieder, who is now retired, and Experimental Drawing with Hannah Barnes. Intro to Ceramics inspired Richmond to make ceramics one of her concentrations. It was one of her first experiences working with clay. Experimental Drawing taught her how similar painting and drawing truly are. It also pushed the boundaries of what Richmond was art. Both classes helped Richmond learn how to take changes and criticism with her own art.
For non-art majors interested in taking an art elective, Richmond recommends to take ceramics and a design class. Richmond finds that creating pieces in ceramics is a good stress reliever, and design classes demonstrate the spatial relations between parts of your composition.
Richmond has found that online classes make being an art student much more difficult. Due to COVID-19 precautions, art students are now working in a studio alone which has changed the atmosphere for her and her peers. Richmond dislikes this because the familiar support from her classmates is no longer available. This is the reality of many university students taking online classes this year.
Due to this, Richmond has preferred to make art at home rather than at school. She has created a makeshift studio in the corner of her bedroom, but moving back home for the holidays has not had a positive impact on Richmond’s motivation. She has found that it is more difficult than ever to stay motivated, “It feels like the semester finished when we moved home, even though we still have finals to finish up,” says Richmond.
What keeps Richmond creating is the feeling she gets when she finally finishes a piece. She describes the feeling as her pride in something she has worked hard to create that started as non-existent now exists. Although Richmond is struggling to find things that motivate her lately, she explains how sometimes she gets random urges to create. When that happens, she just runs with it. She has also found it difficult to produce all of her class assignments to a level that she is proud of.
Richmond is currently working on a body and identity piece for her painting class. It is a large landscape painting that will incorporate a self portrait. Richmond’s favorite piece she has made thus far is a large painting of a turtle. It is her first commissioned piece. Richmond advertises her artwork on her Facebook art page called “Art by Liv”. This piece was commissioned by a staff member at the elementary school her mother works at. She finished the piece last summer. This is her favorite piece because it is the largest painting she has yet to sell, and the buyer was genuinely pleased with the outcome of the piece.
After college Richmond plans to travel, she says “I am sick of staying in one place,” something many young college students can relate to. Her ultimate goal is to become an art teacher at a ‘hip school’ somewhere. One day, Richmond would like to get her master’s degree to become a professor.