Katherine Miller of St. Louis recently won first place in a regional printmaking competition hosted by the National Society of Arts and Letters, receiving $2,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to the national competition in Pittsburgh.
“I did not win anything at the national level, but the opportunities I had from merely being in the national competition were astounding, and the regional cash prize is paying for an art workshop I'm attending this summer in Colorado,” Katherine said.
Katherine is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art with an emphasis in printmaking.
The competition had regional levels with first, second and third places winners for each chapter. The first place winners from each chapter went on to nationals. Katherine won the first place prize for the St. Louis chapter.
Katherine said she got into printmaking her second year at Southeast. She said she dabbled in the art in high school, but when she took her first printmaking class at Southeast, she was excited by the drawing-based facet of printmaking, as well and the ability to produce multiples of her creations.
“If a painter makes a painting, there is only one painting in the end; if a printmaker makes a matrix, an image carved or constructed on metal, wood, a screen, etc., there can be any number of prints made on paper with ink from that single matrix,” Katherine explained. “That could lead you to make 20 identical original prints, or 20 different original prints by altering the matrix between each printing. In short, the possibilities are endless.”
She said she continues to be amazed by the variety allowed by printmaking and the diverse range of work that can be produced.
“In a general sense, I am drawn to fine arts as a creative field because in many ways I have seen how important art is for emotional health and a full life. Other, more job-oriented fields seek to offer a solution to a specific problem. Art is similar in that it gives people something they were missing, even if they didn't know they were missing it,” Katherine explained.
At Southeast, she works at the River Campus Art Gallery in the Seminary Building at the River Campus. She is also involved in Ignite, one of Southeast’s student ministries on campus.
“My experience at Ignite has been and continues to be incredibly invaluable in growing me into a more whole person. As an artist, it is easy to burrow down into an art-shaped hole with other art-type people where art seems to be the only thing that matters. By sharing my life with those at Ignite and having them share their lives with me, I am constantly reminded that I am part of something bigger, that there is more going on than just me, that art matters because of how it fits into the larger puzzle of understanding our world and our God, not because art is the thing that matters above all other things,” Katherine said.
Katherine wants to attend graduate school to pursue a Master of Fine Arts and work at a print shop somewhere.
When she’s not studying, she likes to get coffee, go on drives and hang out with her friends at the art studio. Her favorite moments at Southeast have been in art classes when she had ideas that might fail, but she decided to do her best and reach her full potential on a particular art project.
“My favorite moments have been when I and other art students have said ‘no’ to that and decided to try something big instead, even if it is risky and might fail,” Katherine said.
She says Southeast has helped her succeed by preparing her to work hard and take advantage of opportunities provided to her.
“Southeast has helped me learn to take the initiative if I want cool creative things to happen and to use every ounce of the opportunities I receive. Working hard is key,” Katherine said.
To future students, Katherine offers some advice.
“Work hard. Fill your brain with art and music and books and sometimes nothing at all. Listen to everyone's opinions that you can,” she said. “Think for yourself. Make stuff.”