Meet Nicole Starz: Paying Closer Attention
By Julie Senger
Nicole Starz sits at a high-top table in Jazzman’s Café on the Kennesaw State campus. Her long, blonde hair hangs haphazardly in her face, unnoticed—she is focused on sketching a duck. Starz began sketching the duck after seeing a ceramic sculpture while on a recent art gallery tour in Chicago with Visions, the KSU student art guild.
Starz has recently acquired a love for sculpting in Professor of Art Ayokunle Odeleye’s Sculpture I class. She is currently working on a mahogany wood sculpture of a Romanesque female bust, which is based on the myth of Selkies, generally female mythological creatures who can transform back and forth from seal to human.
Starz admits that she enjoys creating a duality in her art, making it “something that is naturalistic and aesthetically pleasing, yet has hidden, underlying meaning that is often very personal to her.” In this way, she can please both herself and those who view her art at the same time. Starz also says that she is “fascinated with anatomy and collects skulls and skeletal parts of animals” because they are so detailed and intricate. Therefore, these are recurring themes and subjects in her work.
Starz began KSU with the intention of eventually transferring to another university. However, she “fell in love with the program here.” She appreciates her professors because they are all “actual practicing artists, not just theorists.” Starz particularly enjoys her painting classes with Assistant Professor of Art Donald Robson and her sculpture class with Odeleye, who pushes her “to work harder and faster because he eats, sleeps and breathes sculpting.”
In addition to Starz’s recent trip to Chicago, she also earned a scholarship from KSU to study abroad in Montepulciano, Italy this past summer. Her other accomplishments include having a charcoal still life in the 2007 Walk Through Studios exhibition and a wire sculpture in the 2007 Juried Student Art Exhibition.
After she graduates from KSU, Starz would like to travel, attend graduate school, have her work shown in galleries and sell her sculptures. She’d also “love to do public art; there isn’t enough of it. I love the idea of people walking amid the installation.” This is because she hopes it will cause them “to pay closer attention to what’s going on around them and within them rather than just going through the motions of daily life.”