I think it’s safe to say that everyone in the Kenyon community has seen the artwork of Sophia De Pascuale. If you’ve stepped into Wiggin Street Coffee, there’s no way you could miss it. Sophia was asked to paint the mural long ago, before she was an art major, when she was working at Wiggin Street and her boss admired the chalkboard advertisements she made. She actually painted the mural this summer, and it took her a month to complete.
Sophia didn’t know that she was going to study art at Kenyon — in fact, she was worried that making art in an academic context would ruin her relationship with it. Luckily, that hasn’t been the case! She chose to be an art major in her Junior year, after taking the class “Art with a Function.” In that class, she was able to work on three dimensional pieces, like furniture. It’s clear that she connected with that medium, because now she mainly does sculptural painting on wood or metal with vibrant colors. “I like to be able to hug something when I work on it,” she says, articulating how she enjoys being able to use her whole body while making art.
Meeting with her in the studio she shares with Chloe Friedman and Natalie Wardlaw, I felt like I was in a truly inspired space — drawings and photographs for inspiration adorn the walls and supplies like scrap wood take up the corners. “I like when a studio looks like your brain,” she told me.
Though Sophia doesn’t keep a sketchbook, she gets her ideas out by trying to create them in 3D. In the medium of sculpture, sketching doesn’t always translate an idea to reality. If she has an idea for a pattern or color, she might paint it on a piece of wood instead of using a sketchbook. The picture above features this kind of “sketch.”Lately, she’s been experimenting with metal instead of wood, because “wood felt a little too clean.”
This summer, Sophia took a graphics class, where she learned to do 3D modeling. She enjoyed the immediacy of it, and being able to pull things into existence like a video game. Though she is unsure where next year will lead her, she intends to pursue art and an artistic community like what she has found here at Kenyon.