Hayley Caldwell, Mataya, graphite pencil, 2019

My work focuses on human emotion and expression as well as the use of color and how it plays into the emotional intensity of art. Emotions are often seen as something that should be tamed or convenient and I strive to create artwork that draws people in and makes them feel those unconventional emotions. I aim to not only bring a piece of paper to life but give it a personality that can affect people who look at it. Mataya is intended to create unpredictable feelings and thoughts in the viewer and challenge how they perceive both their own emotions and other’s emotions.

I chose a monochrome color palette to further enhance the details in her skin and the drama in her eyes because the viewer is not distracted by color. I also chose monochrome because colors evoke specific moods and I want the mood she creates to come purely from her expression and not the color palette. Mataya combines realism with geometric shapes and is both sketchy and hyper detailed. I chose to leave the guidelines I used untouched, the shirt unfinished, and no background because it contributes in drawing the attention to the face as well as making the art piece less polished and more rough and sketchy. The placement of her eyes in the center of the page as well as the subtle increase in detail towards the center of her face draws attention to the direct eye contact she makes with the viewer.  When people make eye contact with her they feel some type of emotion it could be love, lust, unease, tense, relaxed, any range of feelings just from looking into her eyes.

Mataya Nickerson was the model and reference for this art piece.  I’ve always found it fascinating how art can evoke specific yet different emotions in people and I created this drawing with the intent to provoke an emotional response in the viewer. I aim to not just replicate an image through realism art but to alter and enhance it in a way that becomes more meaningful and emotional.  I take inspiration from artists like Miles Johnston who has mastered the art of creating emotion in his art and evoking feelings in the viewers. Many of his artworks are graphite pencil on paper and often involve an illusion or play a trick on the eyes. I am also inspired by figurative oil painter Marco Grassi whose paintings are life like with extreme detail that blurs realism and surrealism and creates a deep emotional response. 

Hayley Marie Caldwell was born in Dalton, Georgia and is currently a first year at Agnes Scott College with an intended double major in International Relations and Studio Art. Her works range from colorful to monochrome and involve colored pencils, graphite pencils, charcoal, and oil pastels but maintain a common realism portraiture theme. Her pieces aim to stir emotions in the viewer and provoke deeper thoughts about human emotions and societies impact on how we express emotion. She was a finalist for the Bernice Spigel Prize for Excellence in the Visual Arts 2019 and served as president of her highschool’s National Art Honors Society chapter.