Written by Blake Chapman, Media Assistant 

Disclosure: An interviewee’s opinions do not necessarily reflect those of DOMA Insider.  

Q: How did you get to Ball State University and what’s your journey as a student artist been like? 

A: I’m originally from Fishers and actually was enrolled in Science Teaching at Indiana University before transferring here last year to start the animation program. I have always had a passion for 2D art, and even found out recently that I have a lot of family who are decent artists as well; I have a cousin who can draw and a great aunt who can paint, so it seemed like a weird recessive trait. 

I was always the art kid in school anyway. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t carrying around three pencil boxes. Some of my biggest inspirations are primarily Disney and Cartoon Network. I grew up watching a lot of Pixar (Finding Nemo being a favorite of mine), Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Regular Show, Fairly Oddparents. Anything animated I just couldn’t get enough of. 

At some point it just became a part of my life that clicked, and I felt confident this was something I could really do. Once I got to high school and took the 3D art class was when being an artist really started. I know it sounds silly, but I remember making this really cool sculpture of a lamp. It was turned into the city hall for an art show, and I won first prize. That affirmation was a very public confirmation that I could be an artist. 

“I think the main thing was my parents finally advocating for my passion in art. My mom wasn’t a big fan of it growing up, but once I started getting really good at it and actually teaching myself how to draw things changed.” 

“Now I’m just like, ‘Oh my god, this is the most fun I’ve ever had.’” 

Q: Going from Science Education to Animation seems like an incredible switch of perspective and direction. Did you also have a passion for the sciences growing up, and what convinced you to shift forward and back from that? 

A: Growing up I was always that kid who was into a lot of different things and a passion for animals was one of them. My mom was always motivating me to go to veterinary school or do marine biology and oceanography because of my obsession with Finding Nemo. Then I got to college and began doing that and was like “this sucks.”  

I am not good at chemistry, none of the other concepts were clicking for me, and I eventually stayed home after one semester. I was just drawing stuff and my dad told me, “You know what, you should check out some art school programs and see what you like.” I considered my lingering interest in science and technology and decided I might as well do animation. 

Q: This journey of believing you were destined to do one thing and discovering that you just enjoy something else much more, sounds like one that almost all artists have been on. Did you have a similar experience? 

A: Yes, it was the difference of do I like who I am. 

My parents gave my brother and I the opportunity to do something other than work 24/7. They wanted us to develop a skill or craft and apply that to as many different things as we could. I thought teaching was going to be that skill. I thought, “Okay, I’ll go be a bio teacher for the rest of my life, I was a camp counselor for a long time, yeah kids are great.” Then I found out teaching sucks and it is 100% not for me; that shift took some time. 

When I moved back home, I started doing art to pass the time. I was painting, building shoe boxes, even doing papier mâché. I have a whole box of sketchbooks under my bed that I look at just to remind myself of how far I’ve come. 

“If you’re not thriving in what you’re doing, then don’t do it. That’s kind of where I was, and that’s where my mindset is with art. If I love it, then I’m going to do it.” 

Q: What is your artistic process like now, and do you feel it’s changed in any way over time? 

A: I always have people come to me and say, “You’re so talented, it must be in your blood.” No, it’s not. It is years and years and years of practice. It is tedious work training your brain to do something over and over again, and my process has shifted because I have learned that my style has changed. 

Q: Where does the inception for your ideas come from? Is it as simple as closing your eyes and picturing something in your head, or do you see something in reality that inspires you to create? 

A: It has to be both. There are definitely times when you have a block and have to go outside and figure out something to just draw, but most of the time it really does come from my brain. Most of the things that are developed from your brain are things you see in real life anyway, so my style developed from seeing comics over and over again or watching Disney over and over again. 

This project, this whole staircase, it just started with wanting to draw something with that figure at the center. Then it moves on to filling in the space with little things everywhere that I want to draw. 

Q: What pushed you to create something like Nightmare at the Museum

A: I was inspired by the work of Edward Gorey and when our professor presented the project, I thought to go big because this would be my last project of the semester. I wanted to do something big to show that I worked hard and show what I can do moving forward. So, I thought, “What is the most complicated complex part of this building?” Obviously, it’s the stairs, and initially I wanted to do something like a Disney fantasy scene because this staircase gives me Beauty and the Beast vibes. Then I thought it was a little too much, so I scratched the whole concept because I didn’t want to take away from the staircase or architecture itself, which was the main focus. 

Juliana Percy’s Nightmare in the Museum: in progress.

Q: Could you describe the process in greater detail? 

A: It’s basically a perspective drawing. Our professor gave us this big piece of paper that’s meant for ink, and from there we needed to use rulers to define the midpoint and measure all the dimensions. Then using a technique called cross-hatching, you just use one pen to make lines over and over again. I think I used maybe five or six different pens because all the ink ran out.  

I honestly started with the stairs because they were going to be the most complex shape. Then I made my way down to the floor and eventually the walls. The main staircase was what I wanted to focus on all along and the rest just pieced itself together. I completed it over a couple weeks around Christmas time which explains all the garland and flowers at the base. 

Overall, I had a lot of fun making this piece because I enjoyed the challenge and seeing what I was capable of and what I could create. My teacher always encouraged us to add something personal to the piece, so I added the mouse hole, the larger potted plants, the different portraits, and just had fun with it. 

This was a good example of me working myself out of my own style of drawing to fit a certain assignment that is not immediately me. 

“And obviously I got a lot of really cool stuff out of it. It was in the student art show and I’m doing this interview, so I mean she’s kicking, she’s here.” 

“I never feel like my work is finished. Every time I look at it there’s always something I could fix or make better. That’s why I always struggle with putting stuff up for display because as an artist you have to get past the fact that your work can never be perfect, if you don’t, you won’t succeed.” 

Q: As an artist and as a student, what does DOMA mean to you? 

A: This place is really cool. I didn’t realize we had an art museum on campus until I moved here, and I am really glad we have it because it’s an inspirational place to be for art students. I think it’s really important for us all to see the variety of different pieces from different time periods and cultures, and I don’t know of any other colleges with opportunities like that. 

I also just had a nice experience drawing here. It was a really quiet place to go, and I want to bring my parents here to walk around. 

One of my friends even started playing the piano as we were working, and it brought a whole new ambiance to the building. 

Q: Do you feel that when you come here, you are motivated to create something “worthy” of being in a museum like this? 

A: I have always felt that from the moment I got to Ball State. I want to do something artistic in the future and have some kind of imprint. “I don’t feel like I am being compared, but more enlightened and uplifted.” 

As always, thank you for reading the DOMA insider and make sure to visit the museum soon! DOMA is free and open to the public; we are open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Check out our website at bsu.edu/doma.