It's a question many locals have pondered as they watched bright, young talent leave
The exhibition, which opened last weekend, gives rising artists a high-profile showcase, even before some have shown in galleries.
"It highlights how we as a community need to come together to support the brilliant, creative minds that live in these artists," said
For the past two weeks, the arts center was turned into a studio as three of the artists created large-scale installations in the galleries.
Those artists talked about their projects, and what they mean.
He stepped down from the ladder to take a break, then pointed at a large robin's-egg-blue object to the left of the bird. It's a glass bottle with legs sticking out at the base.
"The idea of the mural is, the bottle represents the transparency of human emotions," Boyer began.
He said he planned to add objects in the bottle to symbolize what's inside a person. For example, a smiley face without the smile, to be applied as a collaged object. The yellow disk lay on the floor near the mural.
"You see the glass and what's inside the glass, but the glass is blown and it's warped so it gives you a distortion of what's inside," Boyer said in a cool, calm demeanor. He has short dreadlocks and wore paint-spattered cocoa pants.
Warped glass is his metaphor for how we view each other. Consider the vagrants, he said. Many folks pass by drunks and street people and pass judgment.
"Someone loves that person," the artist said.
Boyer grew up in
"Although my work has a light vibe to it, it definitely deals with very real things people encounter." His work can be seen at www.hamptonboyer.blogspot.com.
He has recurring characters. "They're like my trading cards." He imagines his big bird came from an undiscovered tropical island, and said the figure signifies "being an outcast." Many people feel that way, he asserted.
His specialty is murals. "I'm a very empathetic person. That's the reason I make things large -- so you're not just visualizing it, you're consumed by it."
Witt, 23, was an intern at the
She doesn't pre-plan her unique taped wall art. "I make a mark and I react to the space. I knew I wanted to keep it organic and at the same time geometric."
Because tape has a hard edge, making curved lines with it is tough. But Witt achieved the effect with a cluster of tentacle-like "drips" trailing down the wall. Mostly she chose straight-lined forms for her mural.
Witt studied fine arts and creative writing at the
"I love blowing small things up. The drips, for example. There's no way there would ever be so large a drip."
After graduating in 2013, the
She's since returned, with a studio in downtown Hampton. Her vibrant, splashy paintings can be seen online at www.instagram.com/ittakeswitt. And her colorful patterns can be seen on www.society6.com, a website that applies artists' designs to products like mugs, pillows, clocks and iPhone cases and sells them.
While in college, Witt contributed to an online literature blog called Ebullience. "I think that one word describes my work: The overflowing of happiness. I want people to feel my joy in making the work."
From a distance,
Up close, anyone might be surprised to see that the piece is made from photos of objects clipped from magazines and pinned to the wall -- stilettos, cookies, diamonds, steaks, sofas.
Yeapanis, 37, has a graduate degree in fiber and material studies from the
In 2010 the
With her "site-responsive improvisational installation," Yeapanis said she is referencing mass media and how a younger generation, especially, deals with the profusion of news and visuals. They look to a website like Pinterest that lets you "pin" what you prefer and share with others.
Her process is similar to how she once created video montages made up of clips from her favorite television shows. Yeapanis edited the clips to create her own storylines, often with an existential tone, she said.
Her collages, which can be seen on www.staciayeapanis.com, are more positive.
"If it's not going to last, we might as well enjoy it now."
If you go
What "NEXT: Emerging Virginia Artists"
Contact 596-8175, www.pfac-va.org
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