At the end of the academic year, a graduating senior from each major is named the Outstanding Senior for that department. Today in part two of our 10-part series, we interviewed senior Ken Aschliman (CCAD 2011), who was named Outstanding Senior for the Fine Arts department.
Q.) So what’s next?
A.) I like to do a lot of different things. I like to make artwork, but I also like to organize shows, help other artists. I think that I want to go the Denny Griffith [CCAD's president] route, where I have a professional arts industry job, and then do my artwork in my personal time. He’s a great role model for me. If I want to be just a studio artist, I have to make the connections that are necessary in order to sell art. Now by working with these various arts organizations, I feel like I am beginning to make those connections. I’m looking at different art museum, gallery, and organization jobs.
Q.) What was your proudest achievement since you’ve been here?
A.) I don’t know if last night [winning AICUO’s Excellence in Visual Art Grand Award] has sunk in yet. It still feels like it just happened. So I’d say, Everything Explodes, the exhibition I did my junior year. By doing that, I realized I really enjoyed the organization of the show and the artwork and a lot of great things happened because of it. We were interviewed in Alive! and the Dublin Art Council will be doing a CCAD student show next year because of it. And the second one was the Mario mural. The goal was to promote student government, but the mural was only what it was because of the collaboration I did with so many people—plus it got a lot of attention, which was great.
Q.) Do you remember that “this is why I’m doing this” moment?
A.) My junior year I had a serious crisis of faith. I was debating in my head whether I had made the right decision in coming to art school. I felt like I had made the wrong decision for a while. I felt the classes prepared me to be an entrepreneur and to sell my work, but then all my experiences in trying to do that failed miserably. I showed at an art gallery for six months and made $40, sold only one print. But now I’ve interned at the Columbus Museum of Art and at the Greater Columbus Arts Council and those have really shown me that there are different paths I can follow. And sure once I graduate I may have to spend a year being the coffee guy for one of these organizations, but I know that there are paths I can take.
Q.) What smell will always remind you of this place?
A.) Coming out of AMF [Amelita Mirolo Fine Arts Building], there is always this really sweet smell. It smells like donuts. The smell of coffee is the other smell that will always remind me of this place.
Q.) What’re you going to miss most—besides the donut smell?
A.) Definitely the people and the sense of community. The college is fantastic. When I walk from one building to another, I see like five friends, who I can say ‘hi’ to or stop and have a conversation with. There is always someone to work with and to bounce ideas off, which is really crucial when you’re working on anything really.
Q.) What’s your hope for future CCAD students?
A.) We have a really good thing going here, and I want the next generation to keep it going. My selfish goal is that the Spotlight Exhibition group I started keeps going. The Student Government has really done a lot this year under David Merz and I really hope that energy continues. I see great artwork happening around me, I see younger students getting up to that level and I just hope it continues.
To see more of Ken’s work, visit his website.
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