A very sweet and soft-spoken Kristen Burmeister was delighted to show off the art work she tends to in both her free time and for her graphic design major. For Burmeister, the beauty of creating art stems from being able to take what she sees in her day-to-day life and portray it in a way that depicts the way she sees the world. The pieces she conjured up reek of an intimate, dream-like realm. She admitted that, fittingly, her dream job is to work with Pixar.
What’s it like being an art student at an academic-based university?
I feel like I definitely always compare myself to people like science major students because I’m literally the complete opposite of them. People assume that I have very little to do, but it’s actually very demanding. All of the projects that we get, we have 3 weeks at a time to come up with a concept, draft it, finalize it, and get it approved. We’re constantly working on projects that no one really ever sees because it’s just for our professors. I think it’s really fun and so far it’s helped with my creativity because it helps me expand and think about ways to apply it to the real world. It’s definitely an area of study where you feel on the outskirts of everyone else because it’s not the typical thing to study [at a university]. But I love it. I wouldn’t wanna be doing anything else. For example, I think psychology is super fascinating but I just like creating. Not everyone can draw, not everyone can sing, or not everyone is even interested in learning how to take photos the right way—or, I don’t wanna say ‘in the right way,’ but in a creative way. So to each their own, I say. Everyone is studying something they love.
What’s the grading process like? I imagine it’s difficult to grade something that’s subjective.
We actually have a really set-up way to do this. We get assigned a project, then we have a mid-way point where we check in and meet in small groups in our class and we give each other feedback. Like, ‘Oh, I love this,’ or, ‘I don’t like this.’ As far as the why’s and how’s, we grade according to principals and elements of design, and we talk about contrast, shape, form, movement, shading; it’s kind of scientific in a way because we have to follow all of these principles and elements, and that’s basically what we grade our projects based on. The professor does the final grading of our projects, but we all contribute. We also grade according to our creative process: how involved were you, were you passionate about it; stuff like that.
What are the biggest benefits of learning these type of skills in a classroom?
I think the biggest pro is that when you’re assigned a project it might not be something that you want to do, or isn’t something that you’ve thought about doing before, so it puts you out of your comfort zone and forces you to try new things. A lot of the times, that’s where I get my best ideas, is when I’m doing something different. I go, ‘Wow, why didn’t I think of that before?’ But I still have mad respect for people who do it independently because some people are better at generating ideas and creating on their own versus in a classroom. Although I think that’s the biggest pro of being in a classroom: it pushes you. It’s expanding your horizons.
Some people think that graphic design isn’t a real art form because the technology involved seems to make it easier to create. How do you feel about that?
I think that maybe they need to find a second opinion. I understand what they’re saying: that it’s on the computer, that there are tools for everything, that it’s “easier,” but in my experiences, I can incorporate my own art pieces and I can make it as creative as I want. It’s up to the artist themselves to find someplace where they fit in, and where they can use all of their skills. You can find a job that’s really easy; just drawing lines and typing in fonts that are already created for you. Or, you can make your own fonts, incorporate your own sketches, and you can make them into what you want. So I hear those people, but I don’t agree with them.
What draws you to art and how does it manifest itself in your daily life?
Wow. That’s a really good question. For me, I’m really observant. The things I notice throughout the course of the day I think about all day, and something from my thoughts generates a way to portray it. I love eyes, for example, and I see so many eyes throughout the course of the day. Whenever I’m sketching I have emphasis on eyes because they’re so big and beautiful and they say so much.
So the question was what draws me to create art? I just want to share my art with people in a way that’s not forceful or intimidating or mean, you know? Opinions can get misconstrued so this is just me putting my ideas down in a pretty way so no one feels upset.
Could you picture yourself doing anything else?
Honestly, I really do think that I could do anything that I put my mind to, but it’s a matter of whether or not I would be happy. I really don’t know the answer to that because I haven’t really explored any other avenues of study at this school. I just kinda fell into it and I’ve been loving it. I definitely couldn’t see myself being a white robe wearing type of person, following guidelines all the time. I just want to be able to do what I’m feeling. If I could see myself doing anything else after college, I would be travelling somewhere. I’m not big into ministry work, but I think it’d be cool to help a group of people. It’d be really close to ministry, but I don’t know what that’d be.
Follow Kristen on Instagram @krineil to keep up with her art.