Getting to the Art of the Matter: Part 6

By: Lisa S. Icenogle

Want to sell your car? Take a piano class. Interested in law school? Perhaps you should audition for “Guys and Dolls.” A fine arts degree can teach you so many useful skills.

We talked to eight successful former Casper College students who are now working in their respective fields. In discussing their careers, they offer numerous ways that music, dance, painting, and acting apply to other professions such as law, finance, sales, and politics.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you read part 1part 2part 3part 4 and part 5 of this series.

For a visual artist like Gabrielle Reeves, Istanbul, provides many optical delights. The city of 14 million people rests between two continents, Europe and Asia, mixing the best of both cultures within its architecture, its cuisine, and its history. It was once home to the Ottoman Empire and was fought over by the Romans and Byzantines, who hoped to cash in on Istanbul’s ideal economic setting between the Mediterranean and Black seas.

Reeves, a graduate of Casper College in fine arts, was traveling through Turkey with nine other students during the summer of 2008 as part of a study abroad drawing class. While in Istanbul, she rarely put down her pad and pencil.

“The trip was extremely transformational, and I quickly fell in love with the area,” said Reeves, who was earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wyoming.

She returned to Turkey several times, and in 2011, Reeves made it her home. She remains committed to her art, while also teaching painting and drawing to adults in an art space/gallery and giving workshops privately and at schools around Istanbul.

“My art is mostly a response to place, and reciprocal interactions between people and their environment,” said Reeves, who works mainly in watercolor, oil, acrylic, and mixed media techniques. “In the past few years I have been addressing life in Turkey, how people are shaped by their lives here and how in turn, we transform the environment around us.”

Reeves approaches her art in a “fairly realistic manner,” incorporating aspects of collage with found materials from Turkey into her process.

Reeves first gained this international perspective at Casper College as a fine arts student, earning opportunities to travel to Greece and London as part of class trips. She appreciated how the college allowed her to immerse herself in the fine arts program while she built strong foundational skills in her field.

“A fine arts degree allows growing artists an opportunity to thrive in a creative environment and make connections that can last a lifetime,” she said. “I learned so much from my professors and peers, especially how to artistically respond to the world around me. My time at Casper College was and continues to be precious to me.”

Reeves hopes her growth as an artist continues so that she someday is exhibiting internationally. She is also thinking of graduate school, either in Turkey or the U.S., so that she can teach painting and drawing at a higher level.

For now, however, she will continue to produce and make art, seeking daily inspiration in her favorite city. Whether it is the grandeur of the ancient Hippodrome, the 20th-century Bosphorus Bridge, the great Galata Tower, August Jasmund’s Sirkeci train station, or Mimar Sinan’s Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul continues to surprise and inspire her.

“After living in the country for years, I am still fascinated endlessly with it and only found that I have just begun to scratch the surface of such a complicated society.”

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Footprints.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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