Amos Kennedy filled the walls of Arts West Gallery 406 with hues and aphorisms Monday evening. The artist spoke to a room full of students and faculty, discussing the life, process and meaning behind his art.
Kennedy’s craft is print work. He uses eclectic letters and strong colors on inexpensive chipboard. Because of his methods, no two prints are the same. His goal is to start conversations and create a “profound effect.”
Kennedy said he was inspired to create when he was 40 years old and saw a printing press in Colonial Williamsburg. He quit his job and moved to rural Alabama to pursue art.
With his art, Kennedy spoke on much beyond his presentation. His homegrown statements and bold design challenges immodesty and embraces the “democratization of art.”
“Every space is special and every moment is historic,” Kennedy said. “Everything here is about the ‘we.’”
Kennedy and 15 others helped set up the wide presentation with “a commune of spirits” and the Elon community in mind. He said he saw college as a place for growth, recommending that students go out, explore and make time to work on a craft that brings them joy.
Mark Iwinski, Elon professor of art, teaches drawing. He said that students should explore their creativity, with one way being a trip to Kennedy’s display.
“I think they should open themselves up to that experience of walking in and just going, ‘Woah,’” Iwinski said.
Iwinski also said creativity is a concept for everyone far beyond drawing or painting.
“Everybody is creative, everybody has a creative potential,” Iwinski said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are pursuing painting or drawing. It can be something as easy as constructing a sentence.”
From first seeing the printing press to standing in front of his art, Kennedy remains creatively inspired —, always ready to make something new.
“It was like falling off a cliff,” Kennedy said. “And I haven’t hit the ground yet.”
Kennedy’s work will be displayed in Arts West until April 30.