by Tory McKinley, Contributing Writer

The Bistro gallery is home to the artist series entitled “Meet the Art Department” which features unique pieces that will help students get to know the Art Department a little bit better. On display now are creations ranging anywhere from a shark to an intricate camera. We talked to the creators of some of the pieces that sparked conversation to get to know Asbury artists better.

Freshman Leah Hampton’s foam turtle rests towards the back left of the gallery, boldly painted green. Admitting to working until 3 a.m. the night before it was due, her creation is one of her works she admires most. “Even something as simple as a turtle takes quite a while to create,” Hampton said. In hopes of capturing the viewers’ attention with a streamline shape, Hampton wanted people to experience God’s beautiful creation through the turtle’s playful nature.

Sophomore Ann Varatharaj also created a foam animal for the display that includes a contrast of colors and pieces. Varatharaj wanted to make a raccoon to defy the stereotypes that this creature holds. “I just want people to get to see the cute, humorous side of an animal that is not usually cute or fun when seen in real life,” Varatharaj said. She hopes her raccoon, which reminds her of funny stories from childhood, will give the visitor a nostalgic look back into those fond youthful memories.

At the center of the gallery is an eye-catching cardboard piece: a larger-than-life sized Ale-8, created by freshman Charisse Salladé. Inspiration for this 25-hour project came from Salladé’s environment. “I often draw my inspiration from cultures I am interested in studying,” she said. “I am certain most students could agree that Ale-8 is an ever-present part of the culture here at Asbury; the drink made it into SoMu for goodness sake.” With strong ties to the campus, it seemed most appropriate to submit this symbol representative of her new home. “My goal in this project was to immortalize an object that is very representative of this place I have grown to love,” she said. “I hope others will see my piece and be reminded of these moments of fellowship.”

Freshman Taryne Wenger also had an oversized creation in mind when brainstorming ideas for her cardboard invention: Birkenstocks. “When we were assigned to create something out of cardboard, I was wearing my Birkenstocks,” Wenger said. “Since my Birkenstocks are so worn and beat up, I thought if I would create it out of cardboard, I would really be able to get the rough, tattered look across.” She foresees visitors taking her playful piece and comparing it to their own shoes. “Viewers might imagine who this big shoe belongs too or they might be tempted to put it on the ground and compare it to their small feet,” Wenger said.

The series will be in the Bistro Gallery until Feb. 14.