Alaina Plowdrey is the new department head for the Visual Arts building.
Dr. Plowdrey is a contemporary figure painter. Has an M.F.A. in Painting from the New York Academy of Art. She is completing a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory from the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts in Portland, Maine.
She joins Pensacola State College, having served for over four years as the Center Director for Saint Leo University, Key West, Florida. “I originally came down for an art residency with the studios in Key West in 2014, “she states. She was awarded this spot for a month and was able to produce work during this time. She recently moved to Pensacola last December because her partner is a part of the Navy, and he received his final orders to be re-stationed at N.A.S. Pensacola.
“I’ve always been so entranced by the creation of the figure,” she states, with the addition of the materiality of the oil paint, graphite, or charcoal used. Within her process, she likes to do a blend where she photographs the models first, then has an easel next to her and the photo, or she has the model pose again, and paints feature the photograph have flattened. She states, “It’s an opportunity to take the view from familiar to the unfamiliar.”
Some of the artists her work is inspired from are: Neoclassical artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau, whose paintings depicts modern interpretations of the classical subject such as mythology, Surrealist artist Max Ernst whose one of the starting artists with the Dada and Surrealist movement with sculptures, paintings and poems, Contemporary artist Will Cotton whose paintings of candy and sweet landscapes aided Katy Perry’s art for song California Girls, and street artist Sean Yoro aka Hula whose street art tells subjects with the use of manmade or natural environments.
“I like to do different bodies of work, but they have an underlying theme of pulling in the familiar with the unfamiliar,” she states. We take in so much visual and sensory inventory throughout our lives, and it gets stored in the unconscious; so, she uses the sense of de ja Vu and implements it throughout her work. “I don’t want it to be a static experience, and I want the viewer to be engaged and create their own stories within it, “she states.
The Endless Summer series was started in Michigan and is based on the embodiment of herself in a different world. Active Duty series is from the time she taught on a remote campus on the N.A.S. U.S.A. at Saint Leo University. Dr.Plowdrey visited the air station every day and instructed military, veterans, DoD, and community students. Her surroundings inspire her, and during her daily walks at lunch, she was thinking about the next body of work. “The landscape of the naval air station was vast and open,” she states. During this series, she was able to go on a C130 twice to view the Army Special Forces jump.
Dr. Plowdrey started her artistic venture with the help of her parents and having creative outlets at home. “Going through school, I was always supported.” She hopes that the stigma of not finding work within fine arts will disperse with the introduction of photography and graphic design.
She gives advice for artists and states, “Take chances and do things that make you uncomfortable artistically because if not don’t you won’t know what works for you and what doesn’t work.” As artists, we get self-conscious about our work, and she states it’s fine to take these chances and not show your work, but when you do offer your work, you can help support you, your vision, or say something that you do not see within your work. Then she says,” Look at what you love and get really good at it.” Dr. Plowdrey describes it as a dualism of finding what you’re comfortable and uncomfortable in and strengthen both to become a multifaceted artist.