Stetson senior art major Samantha Hartman says she “didn’t really play with a lot of toys” when she was growing up in Strongsville, Ohio, just outside Cleveland.
“I would just go outside with my siblings when they were babysitting me, and we would pick berries and make paint with them, or pick up sticks and start making pictures,” Hartman says.
These days, since switching from a digital arts major to a studio art major in her junior year, Hartman is playing with toys. And that toy – “a 3-D pen that prints plastic,” she says – led to her creation of “Vulnerable Triptych.” That work won the Ann West Hall Best of Show Award, and the $500 that comes with it, in Stetson’s 28th Annual Juried Student Exhibition.
The art show at the Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center received 128 entries from 57 Stetson student artists, both art and non-art majors. Sixty works by 29 artists were selected for the exhibition.
“Vulnerable Triptych” also won the Jenny Catron Student Choice Award (voted on by students in the show), and the work was one of two entries to receive a Faculty Purchase Award. Hartman signs her art as “Sam Hart” so that “no one would be able to tell if it’s a boy or girl,” she says.
Five other works by various student artists also won awards.
Created with that toy plastic-spitting pen, “Vulnerable Triptych” includes three life-size images of a woman disrobing in a casual, end-of-the-day way.
“It’s actually a self-portrait,” says Hartman, who notes she doesn’t want to label it that way until she completes a projected series of similar portraits of other women. “This started from a poor relationship that I had. I felt very vulnerable where I was at.”
She began the work last March but didn’t complete it until she took an open studio class this fall under Stetson art professor Gary Bolding, and he prodded her to finish it.
“I actually created the process myself, but the actual tool is a child’s toy,” Hartman says. “I put a huge piece of paper on a wall, big newsprint. I draw a portrait life-size in pencil, and then I will take this pen that you put plastic into the back of, and it melts as you draw with it, and it dries instantly. Then it ends up drawing on the paper, and I peel off the paper and put it on the wall.”
Hartman has been studying under Stetson art professor Dan Gunderson since last year.
“It was really appropriate timing to have this piece,” Gunderson says of his student’s winning work. “It’s not risqué” but instead is about “the vulnerability” women feel “in this day and age where we’re having this talk of women being taken advantage of and everything.”
“Vulnerable Triptych” is “like if you had a peeping tom looking into your room and just watching you,” Gunderson says. “It isn’t like someone attacking nor is she doing some kind of dance or strip tease. It’s just the fact that she’s unbuckling her bra. She’s taking her pants off or taking her shirt off. I think it’s very insightful in terms of a woman feeling vulnerable, because maybe she’s not as strong as men around her who would be attracted to her.”
The best-of-show award “is a good confirmation that she’s pushing the edge of something,” Gunderson says.
Materials by Stetson University. Original article “Samantha Hartman Uses 3-D Pen to Win Stetson’s Juried Student Exhibition” by Rick de Yampert appeared on Dec. 4, 2017. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.