Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
Jossie Capon, Class of 2017
I walk up some stairs and make it to the living room, which is filled with exercise machines such as the elliptical and a treadmill. I make a quick left and walk down the hall to make my way to her bedroom. One can see that a messy artist lives here. There are purple colored walls with a half finished painting on the wall. The room is cluttered with piles of clothes, art supplies, and college textbooks. She greets me with a soft smile. We sat down and shared a quesadilla with a bowl of coco puffs cereal and some boxed wine.
“Growing up I was a quiet girl and really into my schoolwork,” Samantha Felix said.
Samantha Felix, a junior at Saint Peter’s University, is a college student with artistic dreams. She was born in Harlem, New York and moved to Jersey City at the age of five years old. She is currently a graphic arts major with a concentration in photography along with a minor in marketing management.
But Felix, like many college students, didn’t start her college career on this track. According to mymajors.com, a website designed to emulate a human academic advisor, approximately 50 percent of college students change their majors. Some students will even change their majors two to three times within their entire college period.
“I chose [majoring in] business because I was pressured and I wasn’t sure my art was good. I was miserable my first semester because I actually wanted to go to the Art Institute [in New York City],” she said.
She soon began to have problems with her family. There were fights with her parents to the point where she did not speak to anyone in her household.
“My mom actually suggested going to an open house to see what the school was all about,” Samantha said.
Samantha eventually took the spring semester of her freshman year off. During this time she did some research to see what schools was best for her career. She found the School of Visual Arts in New York City as her perfect fit.
“Going to the art school it was just refreshing my skills I already knew in middle school and high school but at a more intense level,” she said “that’s where I learned how to stretch a canvas something I didn’t know I had to do, how to properly mix colors, how to make skin tones, it’s a basic course for painting.”
She did two spring semesters at the SVA and two fall semesters at Saint Peter’s. She took two classes both totaling $4800. Ultimately attending the art school was no longer financially feasible. She had to return to Saint Peter’s University because she still had an active scholarship and did not want it to go to waste and because taking more courses at the art school would result her in more debt.
“I only went back to Saint Peter’s to make my mom happy. She gave me the opportunity to leave school and go and follow my dreams,” she said. “I wanted to at least graduate college because that is what she wants. If it was up to me I probably would not have gone to college because let’s be honest art isn’t a career that you need to have a diploma.”
Cynthia Sanford, an adjunct professor of visual arts at St. Peter’s University, finds the importance lies within the student getting a college education, especially in the liberal arts field, rather than the necessity of a college degree.
“A liberal arts education provides a foundation that continues to inform an artist’s perspective and ideas, and can encourage an eagerness to learn, engage, experiment, and grow that lasts a lifetime,” Professor Sanford said.
Although Felix is back on campus and with a new student loan she does not let these small bumps affect her creativity and art. According to some of her art friends she puts her entire efforts and interests into her art. Even her brother shows full support towards his sister and benefits from her talents.
“It’s cool, she does a lot of weird things so I don’t know if it’s cause she is artsy or just strange,” Gil said. “But in a way it’s Gucci cause she makes all my science fair projects look nice.”
She is not the typical artist who paints on canvas; she prefers to use material found in your household. She used an old pillowcase as a canvas for one of her nude woman paintings.
“I tend to draw a lot of women naked not because I have a fetish for it, it’s just like I feel it’s a way of like exposing the female body without actually having to expose it,” she said.
I had some trouble understanding her statement but after hearing her explanation I began to understand the difference between taking a nude picture and showing it to your friends or followers than painting a picture of a nude body.
“I feel like it is extreme when women post a nude picture it’s a little too much; with a painting it is more sophisticated and you get your point across,” she said.
Samantha finds inspiration from artists like are Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, and photographer Cindy Sherman. These artists have one thing in common and that is they all express some type of perceptual image in their art. Samantha hopes to graduate from college and find her dream job in the art industry as an art curator. We ended the interview toasting our glass of boxed wine to her dreams and goals and finishing the spring semester on a positive note.