Art Student Sets High Bar For Creative Success
By Sarah Gilbreath with Photos By Carolyn Richardson
Before she even went to college, artist Yanique Norman already had two pieces in the permanent collection of Atlanta’s biggest art venue, the High Museum.
“The High currently owns two of my works,” said Yanique, now a senior at Georgia State, “but I never thought they would be shown. I never thought they would see the light of day. Usually they buy art and store it, just in case you make it big later.”
Her big break came sooner than she thought possible, and her work was chosen for a recent High exhibit, “Drawing Inside the Perimeter.”
Though it was Yanique’s first time exhibiting in a major museum, she’s no stranger to the many galleries around town. Her series “Middle Passage Redux” in the Sandler Hudson Gallery earned her rave reviews from critics around town, including Creative Loafing.
With success like that, why go to school?
“I had been working as an artist and doing some showings,” said Yanique. “My career was going okay.”
Then she met Larry Walker, former director of the Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State, at one of those showings. He told Yanique she had talent, but that college work could take her from good to great.
“He taught me about ways in which I was a little bit inadequate,” said Yanique. “He encouraged me to go back to school for my BFA. And once I started school, the ball really got rolling.”
For Yanique, college classes have radically changed her life and her art. Instead of jumping into a new work, she now painstakingly researches the subject matter, which she says has greatly improved her work.
“I’ve developed rigorous studio practices. Georgia State teaches you the foundation,” said Yanique. “You’ve got to do sketches. You’ve got to do research. You’ve got to flesh out the idea and engage the work.”
The program has also helped spur her creativity.
“I experiment more,” she said. “I use different mediums, different angles and perspectives. The ‘grand idea’ doesn’t come as an epiphany. It comes when you’re working with the piece.”
Yanique, an immigrant from Jamaica who went to high school in New York, will graduate this spring. She already has high aims for her next step, including graduate school.
“I want to show nationally,” she said. “So far I’ve only shown in Georgia, so now I want to do something in New York or California.”
“Georgia State has helped me tremendously. It’s changed my entire career.”
This article is part of Generation Georgia State, a series that highlights the academic, personal and career accomplishments of Georgia State students, alumni, faculty and staff who are the first in their families to attend college.