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KU senior uses artwork to find the meaning in life experiences

For the past two years, Emily Jones has been working on her art series, “Insignificant Epiphanies.” Currently, her set is featured outside the Bear’s Den in the SUB. The seven pieces in Jones’s collection illustrate unusual, but important connections that people often overlook.
“A lot of my pieces are just showing these strange connections of ideas using a juxtaposition of imagery, things that don’t normally go together, in the hopes of provoking the viewer to wonder what that connection is and why they exist in the same space,” said Jones.
All the paintings were composed using mainly watercolors and incorporating artistically transferred quotes into the composition. Each painting was inspired by conversations, spiritual experiences and dreams. As an artist, Jones looks for the meaning within events in her life. After experiencing events, she often feels like a scientist as she compiles information and research before sharing her stories through painting.
The first painting featured in the series is titled “Taking off Without Me.” In the painting there is a teacup and a rocket ship, which ultimately symbolize the struggles that come with relationships. Inspired by a newly married couple, Jones depicts the woman’s vulnerability and the dysfunction all couples battle in marriage from time to time.
“It’s about how most people, at one point in their lives or another, will be faced with being in some kind of selfish relationship, whether you’re the one who is taken from or you’re the one who is doing the taking,” Jones explained. “And I did this personally for myself too, because I wanted that to be on my radar.”
The second painting displayed in the set is titled “My Sage.” The painting features a dead bird with the words, “It’s ok, sometimes birds die.” Jones found the inspiration for this painting in a dream she had. At the time, she was going through a tough time, trying not to drop anything as she juggled many things at once. In her dream, she tried to save the bird, but when it died she received a phone call from her friend who comforted her.
“I woke up right away and realized it was a metaphor for what I was going through,” said Jones. “There are always going to be things that you care about, and sometimes they won’t work out and sometimes it’s out of your control, but that’s ok.”
“My Sage” was the first one of Jones’ paintings to sell, and she has a special appreciation for it because it has a way of getting its message across to people in a unique and impacting way.
The next painting, “Fear for My Intellects,” is a three-panel piece that conveys the message in three stages. The first panel contains a variety of violent imagery by using objects like a skull, a snake skeleton, a house blue print and scissors. Nightmares fueled the creativity for this piece. After two nights of nightmares dealing with a skull being crushed, Jones decided she would dig into researching what her nightmare meant.
“Around that time I think I was just feeling a threat to my identity and what I was doing career wise,” explained Jones. Once researched, she found that a skull being crushed is symbolic of fear for intellect being threatened.
Jones then turned to the “Book of Romans,” where she learned that she could never be completely lost. This epiphany translated into the plant in the painting with a seedpod connected to it.
“I felt that that seed contained all the information for who you are, who’ve you’ve been and who you will ever be. And since that can’t be lost, it’s ok no matter how rough things are,” described Jones. From the negative first stage, to the last, something positive emerges and the cycle continues to grow.
The next painting on display is “The Things They Do for Us.” In this piece, Jones goes beyond the average thoughts about children’s stuffed animal toys and finds the deeper meaning. She realized that stuffed animals have a special role in the development of children. Through her research she found that stuffed animals help to build children’s senses and develop their sense of touch. Jones also found that without learning that sense of touch, children might feel detached from the world. “The sense of touch is the first one to develop while in the womb and it is also the last of the 5 senses to deteriorate in the end,” added Jones. Her research enabled her to see the power stuffed animals hold in so many lives.
The sixth piece in the set is “Message 687.” Feeling attacked from all sides, Jones felt like everything was going wrong and prayed for a sign. The following morning, in the shower, Jones saw perfectly formed numbers 6, 8 and 7 constructed from hair on the shower wall. Being the researcher that she is, she looked it up and found that 687 represents a message of encouragement. At the time it was exactly what she needed to feel confident in her decisions.
“I wanted to remember it, so I wanted to make a painting about it,” said Jones.
The final piece featured in the display is also the biggest one titled “Slow.”
“I thought a lot about my childhood. The first panel on the left side is all those negative feelings I grew up having about being slow,” explained Jones. “The second panel is about trying to embrace that being slow and meditative is apart of my identity. And that it’s not just ok but it is good.”
The panels are connected by the equation for speed; velocity is equal to distance over time. Jones described how she wishes she could change the equation. “It’s not just about the distance but it’s about the depth,” said Jones.
Jones looks to graduate in May. After four years of studying Art Education and the past year spent studying Fine Arts, Jones hopes to find work in the Kutztown area after graduation. “Insignificant Epiphanies,” is her first series of many yet to be created.
“Other projects that I’ve done, there was always something that was for the teacher in some way, where I felt this was 100 percent what I hoped to do.”

By Haley Bianco

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