Art students usually don’t spend hours studying vocabulary words, writing papers or conducting experience in the lab. Their homework is much different.
For junior painting major Ethan Tasa, a typical school day starts by going to art history, ceramics and photography classes, then spending hours in the studio, working on his latest paintings.
Tasa said he’s been painting since he was little, so he always knew he wanted to be involved in the art field. Being from northeastern South Dakota, he was familiar with USD and its faculty, so he said it was a good fit.
Unlike other majors, painting gives a student the chance to be creative, Tasa said.
“I think my favorite thing about painting is you can make it look however you want,” Tasa said. “If you don’t like how something looks, you just paint over it. And so you can really have a lot of control over what it looks like.”
Tasa specifically focuses on oil painting and is currently working on a series about intimacy. Last year, he painted a series of paintings incorporating beds and pillows, and this semester, he’s working on portraits of couples in everyday situations.
While some students get to work on homework with their friends, Tasa and other painting majors spend their homework time in the art studio or conducting research about their current projects.
Tasa said despite what some people may say, being an art major is not easy and is more than just painting all day.
“I think it’s challenging because there’s not a lot of people who take it seriously. You have to do a lot of research,” Tasa said. “So it’s just managing your time and like finding a balance between being able to socialize and do your homework because you don’t have a lot of time for both.”
Being a junior, Tasa said he is already thinking about the future of his art career. He’s planning on attending graduate school, then teaching art at the collegiate level, but said he also always wants to have some sort of personal art to work on.
“The whole point of art is to tell your story in a way that words can’t really convey,” Tasa said. “I do know that there is a lot of people who aren’t continuing to make art, even though they wish they could. So I really hope that I’m fortunate enough to be able to continue to do my own personal art.”
Tasa mainly looks at resources such as Pinterest or Youtube for his inspiration, as well as his professors and peers. He said he tries to channel humor in his artwork and how it applies to the small moments in life.
“The message I’m trying to convey is, don’t take yourself too seriously,” Tasa said. “Make sure you’re grateful for every little detail of your life. It’s the little things that can be taken away and those are the things that make the most difference in your life.”