Equipped with just a black Sharpie and paper taller than any Gonzaga basketball player, Katie Lasko, a senior art minor, has been working tirelessly on her artwork for her upcoming Shoebox Gallery display in the Jundt Art Museum.
Lasko’s work for the Shoebox Gallery is a departure from much of her previous work, which focused on hyper-realistic representation.
“I think I just needed a break from myself. I needed a break from the box that I put myself in,” Lasko said. “When I did do my portfolio review I had my figure drawings up and I usually do work that is very detail oriented, which is kind of the track of hyper-realism, where that was going, which is what I want to come back to but I’m kind of running with this for now.”
The work Lasko is doing for the gallery is abstract in nature.
“My plan is to have every wall covered with this pattern that I’m doing,” Lasko said. “It’s just one singular line and it’s kind of squiggly and it’s very Keith Haring-esque.”
In addition to gathering inspiration from Haring, Lasko notes that she was also inspired by graffiti and tattoo artists.
“Being in the space with the line asks the viewer to imagine making the line — the hours, focus and dedication required to complete the work,” said assistant professor of painting and drawing Laura Truitt in an email. “I also find, when I’m right up close to her work, that I look for the subtle changes in the line and it becomes a sort of visual game — finding moments where she changed markers or stopped and started the line.”
Along with utilizing a different art style from what she is used to Lasko has also challenged herself with completing a project that is much larger than anything she has previously done.
So far, Lasko has spent 17 hours working on her artwork and estimates that she will need to spend an additional 10 hours working in order to complete her display. The time that she has put into her work consists of deciding the layout, line weight for the design itself (thickness of the line), measuring the size of the gallery and editing the pieces together.
“I see when she’s working she’ll put on her headphones and sometimes she’ll have her shoes off too,” said fellow art student Finn Semling. “She has a stool next to her so she’s kind of climbing up, climbing down and she’s listening to her music, so I can tell it’s a very peaceful thing. I know she has talked about it being very therapeutic.”
Lasko notes that the process of working on art projects is therapeutic and allows her to get out of her own head. However, the magnitude of her work for the gallery has posed some challenges she has not experienced before.
“I get surprised by how much my temper flares and how often I want it rip it off the wall,” Lasko said. “Dealing with these nine-foot-long pieces of paper and carrying them from three studios away to my own one. I stand on a stool too to get to the very top, so I have almost slipped off the stool so many times.”
Sometimes in these little frustrations, it makes Lasko want to rip her art right off of the wall and throw it away. Even though she comes into unforeseen challenges, she is too deeply invested to start over or change her direction.
So far Lasko has gone through five sharpies and recently stocked up on more to help her complete her work.
“I noticed that as the line continued her pen was running out and the line would get kind of softer and a little grayer, but it was really beautiful because it’s like when you look up at a sky and you see all the clouds and make them into shapes and the shapes turn into other shapes and turn into like turtles and whatnot,” Semling said.
When all of the work for the gallery comes together Lasko hopes that the space will be “simple, complex and hopefully overwhelming.”
“I have never ever in my entire life completed anything so large scale before. I am hoping that I can just step back and take a breath and then just get back to work because I have the senior art exhibit to do too,” Lasko said.
Lasko’s work will be on display in the Shoebox Gallery, Jundt 109, from March 5 — 18.
Sidney Jones is a staff writer.