The artist sketched away on her iPad as onlookers watched in disbelief. The page was blank what felt like a second ago, yet now there was a person with exaggerated features filling the screen.
The Castleton University Campus Activities Board organized an event on March 21 where students were able to attend a Zoom call and get a caricature drawn of themselves. The caricatures were drawn and colored very quickly and were then uploaded to Dropbox for the student to download.
The artist was Beejay Hawn and the company she is associated with is Speed Sketchers, hence the caricatures getting drawn at record speed. The Speed Sketchers website describes Hawn as sweet, friendly, and talkative – traits that were definitely showcased at the event.
Hawn greeted everyone and helped them feel comfortable. She managed to maintain a conversation with each student while drawing them. She asked students about their classes and majors and answered any questions about her personal life as well.
While the drawings took less than five minutes to complete, students found themselves staying long after their portraits were done due to the entertaining conversation.
“I was really glad to meet the artist, she was a complete ray of sunshine. She greeted every student that showed up. She had something to say to each student, and she had conversations with everyone. She was very welcoming,” said junior Ariana Hausmann.
At one point, the conversation turned to cooking and somehow led to Hawn closing out of her drawing application to open Google images to show the participants what molé sauce looks like.
“I think I probably laughed more times at the event, in the hour and a half I was there than I did in the entire week leading up to it,” Hausmann said.
Many students were bewildered by Hawn’s ability to quickly capture their likeness and were curious how she managed to do so.
Hawn had a quick explanation.
“More than 20 years of practice. Anything you practice at, you should get better at,” she said in a follow-up interview. “If you’re learning something new and trying to get a little better every day, you should certainly be able to get better in 25 years.”
CAB has been working extra hard to make sure that everyone, off-campus and on, can enjoy themselves and feel like they are a part of the community.
“As an advisor for CAB, I am really proud of the work that the board has done this semester in particular. With a group of eight members, CAB has put on the most homegrown events that I have seen in my time here at Castleton. So far, students really love them and we have had really great attendance at them,” said James Wolfe, graduate assistant of Student Life and Student Success coach.
Wolfe also took the interview time to encourage students to consider joining CAB and having a say in future programming.
“CAB is looking for more creative and hardworking people to join that love to have fun and meet new people! We meet every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. on Zoom. ID: 214 803 4473,” Wolfe said.
Having events during this time of isolation is no easy feat, but CAB has managed to do it successfully.
“With virtual events like this, students on and off campus can connect with each other,” said Adam Murray, a sophomore and vice president of Campus Activities.
It can be difficult for off-campus students to get their necessary social interactions and feel like they are a part of Castleton, but students say these events help.
“In a world so divided, it is nice to have an outlet to promote connectivity, especially among our students who are used to the community atmosphere of Castleton,” Wolfe said.