Childhood experiences lead to inspiration for student


Joanna Swan lives in another world, happily.

The Whitman College senior is showing that world to others in her exhibit at Walla Walla Roastery, now through March.

Swan, majoring in painting and drawing, wants to extend her education to a master's in fine art, the 20-year-old said. In the meantime, she seeks involvement in the Walla Walla art community, and bringing her work off campus seemed a good first step. Her opening reception will be 3-5 p.m. Friday at the coffee company at 290 A St., at the Walla Walla Regional Airport.

Not surprisingly, coffee will be served, along with other goodies.

The show, "Another World," is a collection of paintings embracing childhood imagination and fantasy, life in the fast lane of contemporary society, Swan said. "And a search for identity."

Painting is a chance to explore personal identity, she said. "Because it's such a hands-on medium, I feel a strong psychological connection between my brain, my hands and my subject matter."

In her show, Swan characterizes her childhood as an only child of a single mom, a set-up that made for a rich compilation of imaginary scenes, worlds, characters and narratives.

"In a sense my paintings are a portrayal of people, experiences, and places reconstructed in the same way my childhood adventures were," she explained. "I use strange or 'unnatural' color combinations, texture and mixed media to increase the dreamlike qualities in my paintings."

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