Silhouette art on campus inspired by selfies

Students in professor Oliver Schemm’s art class created selfie inspired art.

Has anyone been wondering what the big, black and white silhouettes are hanging up in the Fine Arts Center, Library and Huden Dining Hall? 

If you have, look no further for the answer. 

The black and white, 3-foot portraits have left some students stumped. All week, students have been posting about them, wondering if they’re photographs or drawings. 

“It’s been fun to walk into the library or Huden and try to recognize whose faces are on the silhouettes. It’s like a guessing game,” sophomore Rylee Pepin said. 

There has to be a mastermind behind these portraits, right? 

Indeed there is. 

Professor Oliver Schemm assigned this project to his Introduction Studio Art class. He shed a little insight on the background for the work. 

“It is the first project that we do in the semester. I first started it as an exploration of silhouette and narrative and eventually found this format with the student using a selfie to create a large black and white portrait,” Schemm said. 

But there needed to be something that inspired Schemm to think of this assignment, something behind it, right? 

Schemm said the answer has to do with something college students do routinely. 

“Who doesn’t like to take a picture of themselves? We are in the age of selfies that are usually shown on a very small scale. I thought it would be interesting exploring slightly abstract black and white images of the self on a large scale.” 

Schemm has been teaching Introduction to Studio Art for four years and has assigned this project seven times. 

And students in the class love it. 

“This has been my favorite project in class because of how the pieces came along step by step and became a look-a-like portrait of myself,” said Sophmore Logan Beebe. 

Other students had the same perspective. 

Alex Hutchins said, “we are a couple of projects in now and this was one of my favorites.” 

“I liked being able to recreate a photo of ours that size, using just black and white paper,” he said. “I think that’s so cool.” 

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