All viewers are going to get something different out of any singular work of art and I think that is what makes art so beautiful and intriguing to me.
Updated June 9, 2017: During Commencement, Alec received the Class of 1905 Art Prize, given to the member of the graduating class whose work in creative art has been outstanding. Congratulations, Alec!
"My interest in art started very early on. Art was always my favorite class in school and my family explored art museums on a frequent basis. Recently, I went through some of my grandfather's old slides for a project I was doing for my Photo II class. He liked to take photos of the world around him and looking at them made me realize that there was a strong tradition of careful observation and art appreciation in my family, which was passed down to me. I think that's why I enjoy making and experiencing art so much.
"I enjoy photography, but am most interested in hands-on work — sculpture and painting. My identity, as someone who identifies as gay and more recently, as someone who's questioning their gender, has become an integral part of the art I'm currently working on. Taking Introduction to Women's & Gender Studies with Professor Erica Delsandro sparked exploration of how people choose to identify and how that identity is expressed through their interactions and decisions. I've been thinking a lot about how we tend to be placed in binary boxes such as male/female, black/white, heterosexual/homosexual — but in reality there's an endless variety of ways of identifying.
"A lot of this is what I'm trying to convey through my current works. I'm doing an independent study with Professor Tulu Bayar. Right now, I'm working on a painting and a photography installation. She left it pretty open for me to explore my thoughts and feelings to create a portfolio of works. I meet with her regularly and we talk about my process and ideas, and figure out what's working and what needs improvement, and where to go from there.
"The classes I've taken outside of studio art have helped inspire many of the ideas behind my work. This is an aspect I wouldn't have experienced, had I decided to go directly to an art school. I've grown significantly through the classes I've taken, my involvement on campus, and the feeling of being independent — having the freedom and space to do what I've always wanted to do has allowed me to express my thoughts and feelings through art and to hopefully evoke similar feelings in others.
"For the most part at Bucknell, I've been exposed to a more diverse community of students and educators than I had been within my high school. I've developed strong bonds through the similarities and the differences we share. This has widened my perspective of the ways in which humans interact — through the many layers of identity obtained over the course of one's life.
"There are many other people out there going through similar struggles in terms of identity and there are also those who have had little experience with identity-related issues. Through my art, I aim to help close that gap somewhat. All viewers are going to get something different out of any singular work of art and I think that's what makes art so beautiful and intriguing to me. A work that I create with a certain intention, doesn't necessarily have to convey the same meaning to another person — it could mean something completely different based on their personal life experiences or their knowledge of a particular subject matter. That reflection on personal experience is what makes art such a powerful storyteller. Artists have the ability to use that power to spark dialogue, inspire other creative ideas and even change perspectives."
Alec is from Haddon Township, N.J.
Posted November 19, 2015