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Compton shows art gallery at Books-A-Million

Monday, April 21, 2008   (0 Comments)
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By Lori Woodfin

With graduation approaching in December, senior Jenna Compton completed a requirement for her senior art class last Friday.

As a double major in English and Art, Compton decided to host her art gallery this semester.

"The reason I'm doing my senior show now is because I'll be doing my senior English capstone next semester, and I didn't want to double them up. I wanted time to devote quality work to both," Compton said.

Compton started her freshman year at Oklahoma Christian University as a graphic design major, but Cami Agan encouraged her to become an English major.

Compton took Agan's Perspectives in Literature class where she was approached by Agan with the idea of becoming an English major after she turned in an essay for the class.

"At the end of my sophomore year I decided to switch over to English because I really liked literature and I liked writing," Compton said. "I loved reading, but I couldn't make up my mind so I just split it."

Compton was required to plan the entire art gallery from finding a venue to creating the print material.

She has had one painting sold in the Wishing Well Art Show, but this was her first art gallery featuring her work.

Compton's art gallery consisted of about 12 different pieces. Most of the pieces were mixed media.

She works mostly with acrylic paints but does her best work in oil. Sometimes Compton glues different materials on her paintings.

A few of Compton's paintings come from previous assignments.

One of the paintings symbolized civilization.

"My more recent work has been inspired from my African American literature class," Compton said.

One of the books Compton read in this class, taught by one of her favorite professors, Scott LaMascus, was "The Canterbury Tales," which has inspired her paintings.

"The characters in there are medieval pilgrims, but they have the same characteristics as contemporary rappers today," Compton said. "I don't necessarily know how I can write anything interesting about that, but why not paint the rapper as the pilgrim?"

Compton enjoys taking two different ideas and combing them into one.

For Compton, her art work has been an outlet from what she reads and writes.

"There are a bunch of ideas that I really don't know how to get out," Compton said.  "I don't know if painting is even the best medium, but I like to experiment with it."

When Compton began planning her senior art gallery, she had intended to host the showing at a building in downtown Oklahoma City called the Refuge.

Because of complications, Compton had to find another venue.

Since coming to Oklahoma Christian from Livingston, N.M., Compton has had a job off campus at Books-A-Million.

Compton's manager at Books-A-Million offered to let Compton host her art gallery in the coffee shop at the store.

With the help of her father and grandfather, Compton hung her artwork on the windows at Books-A-Million this past Friday.

During the few hours of the showing, her family and many of her friends came to view her art work.

Junior Brandon Chism is a friend of Compton's as well as a co-worker at Books-A-Million.

"She is unique in that she accepts people for who they are, she has the courage to stand up for what she believes in and she is very adventurous as well," Chism said.

Chism likes the experiments and transformations of Compton's paintings.

He especially liked how Compton combined "The Canterbury Tales" with the faces of Rap and R&B.

Senior Heather Edens also works with Compton at Books-A-Million. Edens likes Compton's artwork as well.

"It's a reflection of her influences and all the cool aspects of her personality," Edens said.  "I particularly love the literary influence."

Compton and Eden are also neighbors in the Heritage Heights Apartments and see each other in the English department.

"Jenna has a real heart for people; she's a good listener and makes people comfortable because she's so accepting," Edens said.

As this semester comes to an end, Compton plans to apply for graduate school in the fall.

"Ideally, I would like to live in Chicago, so I'll be applying to universities there," Compton said. "I would like to study African American literature, but I have no idea if all of that will work out."

Compton has a great interest and concern about racism.

"I've always thought about racism," Compton said.  "I've seen it in society, and I've struggled with it a lot; reading about it gives me a great background on the issue," Compton said.  "Because of my African American Literature class, I learned some things that I'm in disbelief that not every American is required to be educated on things like this."

Compton sees the same struggle with racism which existed in the past still around today.

"I would love for racism not to exist, and I know that's a huge challenge, but it's something I think about a lot," Compton said. "I hope that's reflected in my work and my attitude."


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