Senior Profile: Kristen Matus

By Jessica Schurmann

A & E Editor


Major: BFA in Studio Art

Emphasis: Painting, Photography

Hometown: Belize City, Belize


Q: What first sparked your interest in a career in the arts?

A: I loved art from when I was a child. I can remember sitting, pen­cil in hand, drawing the characters from the Disney movies. I would draw most of the time but trace the images when I was too tired to do so.

I was intrigued by the idea that I could draw. These drawings were the basis and my encouragement to continue bettering my skill. It’s al­ways been in me. During the years that I wasn’t able to obtain any for­mal education in fine art I was ar­tistic in other ways — I loved to do nails, hair; I loved to cook and be creative-never following a recipe, instead doing what I wanted to do.

Eventually, I turned back to my beloved art. I taught myself to paint and was fortunate to have the op­portunity to further my art educa­tion at SJCJC (Saint John’s College School of Liberal Arts) in Belize and at Viterbo.

Q: Describe your journey as an art­ist and how it has been shaped at Viterbo?

A: Every artist has his/her own style of art, given that art means something different to each individ­ual. Each person has his or her own thought, style and way of creating art.

I have learned that art is not only what we make with our hands and what is appealing to the eye, but also the little things such as our emotions and our interactions with one another. The lifestyle of an artist is one that is never completely un­derstood.

Each one of us ascertains a little more about our self after every piece of art that we create. Some of us are never able to understand where we are: myself, for example.

I was always questioning where I stood as an artist. I have now gotten to the point where I understand my artwork and the essence behind it.

Little by little, I understood my motives and my intentions behind my ideas. I struggled in every cri­tique to explain my artwork and my ideas behind it.

Talking about my art is some­thing I had a hard time with. Each critique, however, was very insight­ful. I soon realized that after every artwork I began to adequately make sense of the direction in which I was heading.

Q: Are there any big differences between art in Belize and here in the U.S.? What made you choose to come to the United States to study?

A: Unfortunately, in Belize art is not offered in all high schools, and mine was one of them that did not offer it. With little or no encouragement to make art and no formal education in art, I was left on my own.  Finally, I was able to major in art at junior college, but was only able to obtain an Associates Degree. So, I decided to further my studies here in the U.S.

Q: Do you have any advice for as­piring fine arts students?

A: Just do your best. At first it might seem unclear to you in what direc­tion your artwork is going but even­tually it will all fall into place. Your idiosyncratic work of art will start developing as you grow and realize who you are as an artist.

Q: Which is your favorite fine arts class?

A: Graphic Design, Photography & Printmaking.

Q: What are your plans for the next few years?

A: I plan to move back home right after I graduate. What I plan to do when I’m there is still undecided — maybe teach art, work at a company, start my own business. I’m not sure at this point.

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