‘Art has been my passion forever’

Senior Laura Ballard expresses herself through art, finishes journey to BA

Senior+Laura+Ballard+will+have+an+online+art+show+with+Sharalee+Chwaliszewski+and+the+WSU+Vancouver+fine+arts+department+in+January.

COURTESY OF LAURA BALLARD

Senior Laura Ballard will have an online art show with Sharalee Chwaliszewski and the WSU Vancouver fine arts department in January.

JOEL KEMEGUE, Evergreen Mint editor

Laura Ballard started her journey to a BA in fine arts 10 years ago in California, and is ending it this semester at WSU Vancouver.

Ballard grew up in southern California and has been practicing art her entire life. That passion originally took her to study fine arts at Cabrillo College, but after three years she dropped out to raise her son.

“[Art has] been my passion forever,” Ballard said. “I’m not really good at anything else.”

After seven years, two more children and a move to Vancouver, she decided to continue her education at WSU Vancouver in 2018. She said she returned to school to explore new mediums and expand her knowledge of art, which was easier for her through classes and resources at WSU.

“There’s so much equipment and supplies you are provided with that it’s really an environment for exploration and to try new things that you’ve never tried before,” Ballard said. “That was really appealing to me, to further my interest in the materiality of art and getting to know new processes.”

Ballard practices multiple art forms, like ceramics clay, hand-building large sculptures, acrylics, charcoal and more.

“I’ve always been interested in art, and especially exploring different mediums,” Ballard said. “I’m kind of an exploratory person, just trying a bunch of different things.”

Since coming to WSU, Ballard has also developed an interest in anthropology. She is minoring in it, and much of her ceramics work takes inspiration from Neolithic and Paleolithic art. 

“I never had a negative experience in any of my classes,” Ballard said. “I think that the environment is very conducive to people finding their way, even if they’re not sure what that is yet.”

Recently Ballard worked on and had her work featured in Rain, an online art show curated by students in the WSU Vancouver fine arts department. She is also currently working on a joint show with Sharalee Chwaliszewski that WSU will host in January, featuring some of her work in Rain.

Ballard said she wants a job that involves working with kids and the community in the future, but right now the most important thing for her is waiting out the pandemic with her family.  She also said she wanted to make time to do more art activities with her kids, and is planning out how to continue her love of art whether that means attending school or starting her career.

“I’ve always had this need to do [art],” Ballard said. “It sounds really cheesy but I really just need to express myself … This is my thing. I really feel like this is what I want to spend my life doing.”