Posting Date: November 11, 2009
Meet Dustin Baker: Sculpting his life with art
Photograph by Melissa Withers
By Jonquil Harris
In elementary school, Dustin Baker was a creative marketer, drawing cartoons and selling them to his fellow classmates. His imagination and ability to visualize his potential creations followed him well into high school, where he took his first formal art class. However, it wasn’t until it was time to pick his college major that he realized just how vital art was to his life. “I have always had a creative side and, at the final moment of choosing my major, I knew I had to go with art,” says Dustin. “I wouldn’t have been happy if I didn’t.”
Dustin, a Kennesaw native, plans to complete his bachelor’s degree in sculpture and eventually teach and operate his own studio space where he can work independently. He feels as though his professors have been the main catalyst in his artistic growth, especially Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Keith Smith. Dustin says, “Prof. Smith is always going above and beyond to do what he loves in art, and it is really inspiring to see his passion. He has become like a friend to me.”
Dustin is amazed at how much his work has progressed from when he first entered the program and could only make simple forms. Today, as a senior on the verge of graduating, he is proficient at creating pieces that are visually and conceptually strong. He credits the sculpture professors with giving him that extra push. “You have to learn a lot of things on your own and that’s good because they're worldly things, such as using tools and figuring out how to fix things. I believe I have also become a stronger person.”
Dustin’s proudest accomplishment is a mixed media project made of stone, metal and ceramics. He crafted the massive sculpture to resemble a tomb built for a fly. The temple contained a sarcophagus that looked like a beetle and, when the mouth opened, a fly could be found on the inside. It is perhaps this sort of vision that has led Dustin to become the president of the KSU Sculpture Club, where he is often planning activities for local schools and studios in Atlanta as well as in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Dustin is skilled at taking all that he has learned from his classes and incorporating them into one brilliant piece of work. “People say my art has a unique character to it so that even if I wasn’t in the room, they would know I was the one who created it.” He tries to be creative in all aspects of his life, whether it’s with making food or metal casting, although his heart lies in sculpting.