Kirsten Elyea

Year: Senior                      Major: Studio Art                 Minor: Art History

Meet Kirsten Elyea, a young lady who has been vastly interested in drawing ever since she was little. Drawing has always been something that has come naturally to her, and the love of creating her own pieces has moved her into the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center (YFAC) to perfect her craft. The opportunity to expand her repertoire interested Elyea, helping her to make the decision of pursuing a degree in Studio Art.

Her love for drawing morphed into oil painting and sculpting, surprising the artist. Elyea admitted that she was originally terrified to take a course in painting. “I tried water color painting in the past, and it didn’t always turn out so well because of the paint drying so fast. I couldn’t keep up.” However, working with oils turned out to go better than expected. “Working with oil based paint was easier since it takes longer to dry, giving me more time to paint and mix colors before things set”. If Elyea had allowed herself to hesitate in her creation of oil paintings during her course, perhaps she would not now be planning or incorporating it into her senior capstone project.

Although Elyea has not spent much time working on her project, she did share some of her ideas. Through paintings, sculptures, and illustrations, Elyea is planning on using medieval symbolism to show her perspective on how others recall memories. “You know how people remember things based on emotion? I want to use medieval symbolism as a vehicle for that”. For those of us who are not as well versed in Art History (I wasn’t), Elyea explained that medieval symbolism had more of a rougher look to it. So, to counterbalance the more rustic nature of the art style, symbolism was used to give the pieces more meaning, mainly to do with Christian morals. It’s these layers of meaning of the symbolism in medieval art pieces that intrigue Elyea most. “They were so much more than just what was on the surface. I thought that was really cool, and I want to use that in my senior project”.

In addition to the Bethany shows Elyea has been showcased in, her sculptures have also been featured in the 410 Project art gallery in Mankato her sophomore year, and also sculpted a costume piece for the spring play last year, Tell It To The Wind. During the summer, Elyea had done some freelance graphic design work by designing t-shirts, and helping to create various tourism pamphlets.

Outside of Elyea’s artistic endeavors, she enjoys cross country and track, explaining that they are great outlets for stress. “I feel like the physical activity gives me balance. I enjoy that it’s competitive, and it’s a great way to get out from the studio. Like, I don’t want people to be like, ‘The Beast from the studio! She’s emerged!’ ”

After college, Elyea plans to “keep the door open for opportunities”. Possible careers that interest her are in concept and costume design. “I love details. Like, in outfits, I love looking at every little detail,” Elyea went on to explain how both forms of design are something that come natural to her.

Elyea finished the conversation with some advice for those who are interested in pursuing Studio Arts majors: “If I had to tell someone who was interested in studio art something, I would probably say that it is important to be open to trying new mediums and styles. It is always surprising what you will end up loving the most.”

A few samples of Elyea artwork:

"Tell it To the Wind" Turtle Costume
Photo courtesy of Professor Benjamin Inniger


Lydia Lonnquist is a Senior majoring in English and Theatre, and minoring in Communications. She participates in theatre, choir and working at the Writing Center, and enjoys playing Just Dance with her friends.

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