Skip to content

Published: February 02, 2012

Senior’s First Solo Exhibit Expresses Complexities of the Human Experience

In a cozy studio filled with canvases and paint pallets and even a mini refrigerator (for those 12-hour days where Jeremy Bell ’12 becomes lost in his work), Bell converses with his art. As he paints, he reacts to the canvas.

“There are some pieces that I don’t like until the very last day,” said Bell, who has created eight portraits for a series called 'Scent of Divinity' which will be displayed Feb. 4 in a solo exhibit at Alki Arts in Seattle, WA, his hometown.

Being in the studio, painting and creating are all the things he loves best. In fact, he feels like this is what he’s always thought he should be doing.

“Everyone has their own dreams,” said Bell, though sometimes life gets in the way. “Mine has always been to do what I’m doing now.”

Bell said he’s always had an eye for aesthetics. His friends still display pieces he created while in high school, and he excelled as a graphic designer while serving four years in the U.S. Air Force. It wasn’t until he transferred to UT though that he rediscovered his love of painting.

“I shunned the idea of the starving artist,” said Bell, who couldn’t resist any more after he took one of Assistant Professor Chris Valle’s courses. “I took one painting class, and it was like falling in love all over again. It grabbed me in.”

Valle’s courses aim at introducing students to a plethora of contemporary techniques and concepts that range from the experimental to traditional old-master techniques, as well as non-traditional materials and processes.

“Through this exposure, Jeremy has been able to synthesize various techniques and concepts learned through many courses into his own unique style,” said Valle, who engages students outside the classroom with experiences like art travel courses to New York City and Europe. He also teaches students about being a professional artist, how to document their work, to build an artist statement and how to put together a professional artist package.

“I encourage my students to enter their work into professional venues, to stop being students and start being artists,” said Valle, noting that solo exhibitions are hard to come by and a big deal for any artist.

“It’s really nice to have such a positive reaction to my work,” said Bell. “Especially as a young artist, you don’ know how to value your work. Sometimes it’s subjective.”

Bell layers paint, charcoal and wax in his pieces, using an abstract base and representational forefront. Some have described it as Neo Soul.

“It expresses the extreme complexities of the human experience,” said Bell, noting that while we are all so diverse, we also share the same human experience. “At the end of the day, I would hope people would be more compassionate toward one another.”

Bell’s solo exhibition in Seattle at Alki Arts is on Feb. 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. He has also been accepted to show at the Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts on March 3-4 in downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and he has a piece in the Florida Holocaust Museum’s annual benefit's silent auction.

For more on his art, visit his website or Facebook page.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
Sign up for UT Web Alerts