Crystal Vicars-Pugh, assistant professor of art and director of galleries, has been working at Marian University since August. She can be found on campus teaching 3D art and humanities courses, setting up for a new art exhibit in one of the galleries, or even grabbing a drink from Starbucks in Alumni Hall.
Vicars-Pugh is an abstract artist, and her style has continued to evolve over time. In graduate school, she focused mainly on large-scale works. Now, she is heading in a mixed media direction, sewing old antique maps and birch bark into her pieces. Much of her work is inspired by nature and the idea that nature is out of human control and comprehension. Q:
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in art?
I think I can’t escape being an artist as much as I might try at times. So yes, I always knew in some capacity that I would want to do something in the art field. I’ve also known since a young age that I wanted to be a teacher of some sort. I enjoy the interaction, and I like helping people. One of my favorite things to do as a child was to go and buy a thousand different colored pens so I could organize my notes. I would color code my notes, and then I’d also draw on the sides and doodle.
What is your favorite part of working at Marian University so far? Q:
I would have to say my interaction with students. Because we are a smaller university, even in the short time that I have been here, I’ve been able to get to know my students. When I get to know my students, I can help enrich their art. For me at least, my art is such a big part of me, and sometimes it is just me on the canvas. Being able to understand their personality and get their voice out there to whatever medium they are trying to manipulate really helps.
If you could have dinner with any artist from the past or present, who would it be and why?
Joan Snyder. She is a contemporary artist. She just received the MacArthur Fellowship a couple years back. She is a painter, and I just really connect with her work through her connection of nature, through her connection of femininity, and through her connection of culturally trying to make a change for women and people of different cultures.