Two UCF creatives are putting the term "starving artist" to shame.
For artists working to make their name in the creative community, a group or solo gallery is an enormous opportunity. For two UCF artists, one past and one present, this opportunity is old hat.
Jessilyn Park, a 2009 UCF graduate with a degree in interpersonal and organizational communication, is an oil painter who uses a pallet knife and canvas to create images of landscapes, scenery and portraits. Upon graduating, Park applied her knowledge of marketing to promote her work on social media and became an internationally collected artist, selling to individual collectors in Europe and London.
"I didn't know anything about painting; what I knew was marketing and business," Park said of her early days as an artist.
Turning a hobby inspired from her grandmother into a career, Park learned how to paint with a pallet knife from artist Leonid Afremov. After traveling from Central Florida to Mexico to meet Afremov, Park spent five days learning her craft and has drawn from this experience for the last three years as she continues to create.
Utilizing a different medium, Alicia Lynn is a photographer who captures a range of subjects, including a dual-artist rendering of body-painted models.
Lynn, a senior photography major at UCF's Daytona regional campus, demonstrates her artistic ability through the electronic medium of photography. Along with her stand-alone images and event photography, Lynn works with fellow artist and body painter, 28-year-old Emma Kenemer of FSU, in contouring and altering images of models.
"I really like the fact that they can go see my art and understand that it's more than a pretty picture," Lynn said.
Taking the tools learned from both their studies at UCF and abroad, these artists have showcased their art in galleries around the Central Florida region.
Whether its Park's pallet-knife art or Lynn's photos, each artist has seen success in group galleries and has experienced the more challenging but rewarding opportunity of a solo gallery.
Attributing her success at art galleries to her ability to market her artwork, Park has curated solo events at 55 West downtown, along with being showcased on the west coast in events such as the Los Angeles La Femme Film Festival.
While Lynn has also done solo events for her photography in Daytona, Sanford and New Jersey, her preference is working with a group due to the feeling of teamwork, as it develops her artistic process, she said.
Park currently exhibits multiple paintings within the Orlando Museum of Arts shop, which are for sale alongside other Orlando local artists' works. Lynn is showcased in locations in Daytona and Orlando, with the group Painted Member Shot, and through a traveling gallery called More Than Sunshine. Both artists have separately been a part of events hosted by the Downtown Arts District, at locations such as the City Arts Factory.
The experience of seeing their works in a gallery has contributed to not only success in recognition, but in validation.
"No matter what you're doing, some people will support your work as an artist," Lynn said.
Lynn attributes her focus as an artist as originally stemming from former UCF Daytona campus College Photography instructor, Charles Hodges, who is currently an instructor at Daytona State College. Hodges, who had taught photography-based courses for four years through UCF, reflected on the accomplishments that he has seen in students such as Lynn.
"Any time a student is able to curate a show or be in a show, it always validates their work and tends to support their belief in their abilities …" Hodges said.
Through his illustrative-photography class and advanced studio-lighting course, Hodges taught Lynn professional photography techniques. Lynn said she combines these lessons with resourceful tips like "manipulating sunlight" to enhance her photography.
Park has also offered similar advice for artists who are trying to demonstrate their abilities and working to obtain their own galleries.
"Ignore the haters … persevere until you find that first 'yes,' and go for it," Park said.