Art is 'beyond important'
Though college is usually the time students discover where their passions lie,
freshman Shelby Stephen came to LaGrange College knowing exactly what she wants
“Of all the things I’ve ever done, art’s always been the most important,” Shelby
Her earliest memory of having a knack for drawing was in pre-kindergarten, when
her teacher praised her in front of the entire class for a large carrot she drew
after they read the book “The Carrot Seed.” Children’s books had an early impact
on her artistic side, including “The Rainbow Fish,” “The Happy Lion,” “The Very
Hungry Catepillar” and anything by Dr. Seuss.
“I can see myself illustrating children’s books later in life,” she says. “I think
without children’s books, I wouldn’t have developed as an artist. Illustrating
children’s books would be my way of giving back, of inspiring someone else to become
Shelby truly found her calling through her high school art teacher.
“If I ever had any doubts, she was the one to say, ‘You can do this. You have
so much potential.’ She is a great teacher, a great mentor, and if it wasn’t for
her, I don’t think any of this would have ever happened.”
Shelby says she chose LaGrange College over traditional art schools because it
seemed to value her talent and progression as an artist. She says she also was
extremely impressed by the quality of art at Lamar Dodd Art Center. The newly renovated
facility has a permanent collection of more than 2,500 works, including ones by
Rembrandt, Picasso, Rauschenberg and Willem de Kooning.
The freshman plans to major, of course, in art and design, and will minor in business.
“I feel like I need to major in business to prep myself for the artistic industry,”
she says. “I think art and business go hand in hand.”
Shelby says she normally photographs her subject as a frame of reference and then
enjoys experimenting with a variety of mediums, including charcoal, graphite, oil
pastels and colored pencils.
For Shelby, art is “beyond important.”
“ For art to be the thing I do, the thing people know me for, that’s the best
feeling for me,” she says. “To associate that with me, it’s very important. The
day people don’t associate Shelby with art, that’s like, ‘Who am I?’ “