PEMBROKE — St. Pauls native Kayla Seedig was drawn back to the studio where she cut her teeth as an artist at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. With a year of graduate study behind her, she recently returned to the university to work with print-maker Brandon Sanderson on an independent study project.
“Brandon is an amazing teacher and mentor,” she said. “I was homesick, too. So, here I am.”
The Alumni Association’s 2014 Outstanding Senior, Seedig is more inspired than ever on the heels of her first year in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of North Texas.
Two of Seedig’s signature qualities as an artist are hard work and her willingness to explore new territory. With Sanderson’s occasional guidance this summer, she took part in a national artist exchange portfolio organized by students at the Kansas City Art Institute.
For the exchange, titled “Sad Girl,” participating artists create prints and send them to each other. In addition to presenting a networking opportunity for budding artists, exhibitions often spring from the collection. Sanderson, who has worked with Seedig since she was a freshman, met with her weekly.
“I mentored Kayla on the conceptual aspect of the project and some secondary advising on technique,” Sanderson said. “Kayla is in the early stages of establishing a national reputation in the field. Her largest artist interests lie in printmaking, drawing, digital and photographic processes, though she is uncharacteristically versatile in her approach to technique and content. I’ve enjoyed mentoring her through that process and particularly this project.”
Seedig’s work at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke sparked opportunities to exhibit her work and attend conferences like Frogman’s Print Workshop — an annual pilgrimage of print-makers to South Dakota.
Her work has been on display at places like the Cora Stafford Gallery, the North Gallery on campus, the Catapult Creative House at Southeast Missouri State and twice at the university’s Voertman’s Gallery in Denton, Texas.
“I’m getting into shows; it’s competitive here,” she said of North Texas, which is a large university with a vibrant art and music scene. “It’s been good for me.”
North Texas has also provided the opportunity for Seedig to teach and mentor undergraduate students. She has found teaching challenging and rewarding.
“The deciding factor for me to attend North Texas was that I get to teach,” Seedig said. “By the time I graduate, I will be well rounded as an artist and teacher. I’m excited to get back. I get a new studio that is larger, and I get to teach drawing II. I’ll have 20 students, and I get to do demonstrations, lectures and grading. I enjoy the kids. Inspiration is not in the job description, but … .”
Hard work is in the job description, but that is Seedig’s strong suit.
“What struck me about Kayla was her persistence and growing willingness to invest the time necessary to building skill in and knowledge of a subject and the importance of reflecting thereon,” Sanderson said. “She understood the importance of what Helen Keller called ‘the precious science of patience’ in the pursuit of comprehension of and growing mastery of a topic.”
Seedig’s current work is a self-exploration of the culture of feminism that surrounds her. Her imagination is moving beyond the standard 18-by-24-inch print-maker’s frame.
Following the recent purchase of a travel trailer that is being renovated, Seedig is thinking of life and art on the road.
This story was submitted by Scott Bigelow, public information officer for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.