Art hanging on every wall, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, people working on assignments and socializing with one another: this is the type of environment where students often choose to display their art.
Art is a way to express feelings, tell stories and create connections with people. Every artist has their own preference on what they want their art to say and how they show it.
Many of the coffee shops around Greeley display student and local artist’s artwork. At The Blue Mug on 17th Street, across from the University of Northern Colorado’s Kepner Hall, Amarie Stocker, has a few of her paintings on display.
Stocker, a UNC junior, is from Greeley and is studying art with an emphasis in graphic design and painting. Art is an area that she has been interested in since she was little, seeming to have been a bit more drawn to the arts because of her dad, having a career in producing music.
“Some people don’t always think that they can make it in an art career, but my dad is proof that you can,” Stocker said.
One day she hopes to have a career in graphic design and be able to continue painting on the side.
Since she started painting in high school, she has done around 30 pieces of art in various mediums, though a few of her favorites are acrylic and charcoal.
“I’ve done art and drawing little pictures when I was little, but I didn’t get serious about it until sometime around my sophomore and junior years of high school,” Stocker said. “Throughout the years I have won may different awards, which just reaffirmed me even more.”
During high school, her school held an art for water auction–a silent auction where people can bid on paintings and artwork done by the students to raise money to build wells and provide water for villages in Africa. The artwork of children from the villages covered the cafeteria walls and each were sold for five dollars a piece.
“When I drew those portraits of those children, I had never done something like that before and that’s when I realized my love for making art, specifically portraits,” Stocker said.
Portraits bring light to people and often tell a story, and even when they don’t there is so much more to the picture than meets the eye, which can make it even more meaningful to the artist and sometimes the viewer.
Currently, her favorite painting is the “Homeless Eric” painting hanging on display at The Blue Mug. The painting consists of a man that she met while photographing the homeless at a park in Fort Collins. What intrigued her the most about the man was his story. He had decided to be homeless by choice, though he knew he had the ability to maintain a somewhat decent lifestyle, so that he could be free to travel and not constricted by life’s many limits. He also shared that he didn’t really have any passion in life other than traveling.
“As I have gotten deeper into my art, I have started to see that they all have the same look and feel them,” Stocker said.
Many of her paintings are portraits of people that she had photographed. The people she photographs can depend on what she is trying to tell the audience. Taking the photographs helps her to remember the details of a person so that she doesn’t miss anything.
Inspiration comes from many areas of one’s life and for Stocker, inspiration comes from the people around her. For her upcoming pieces, she is focusing on the element of time. She hopes to show time passing through painting abandoned buildings and places.
Art can be a way for people to share stories, whether their own or another’s. Stocker shares the stories of those around her through her portraits and plans on telling stories through time.