Julia Betts Studio Arts Major
Major: Studio Arts
Year: Graduated Spring 2014
Hometown: Mechanicsburg, PA
Why did you come to Pitt? I came to Pitt because I wanted to live in a big city and my sister lived in Pittsburgh.
Was Studio Arts your initial plan for a major? No, Studio Arts wasn’t my plan coming into college. I came to Pitt as a Sociology major.
How did you become interested in art? My first Studio Arts class was Foundation Sculpture with JoAnna Commandaros. In that class, I realized my love for expressing my creativity and being independent through art. But it wasn’t until I received my first Undergraduate Research Award in Summer 2012 that I gained confidence in my art-making and became truly passionate about art.
What media do you work in most? How did this interest develop (what are your influences)? I am a mixed media artist grounded in sculpture. I explore physical definitions of self through sculpture, installation, and experimental use of digital self-images. My influences are Janine Antoni, Eva Hesse, and Vito Accounci because of their interest in the body, performance, and process.
What does the Studio Arts Department and/or a liberal arts environment offer you that is unique? The Studio Arts Department at Pitt is unique in the amount of attention each individual student is able to receive. Because the department is small, the faculty are really willing and able to give you feedback if you reach out to them.
What are you currently working on? I am currently expanding my piece called “Detritus” made of ground digital photographs in preparation for a solo exhibition and artist residency at Second Site Studio in Columbus, OH.
Any undergraduate teaching or research activity/fellowships as an undergraduate? I received two Undergraduate Research Awards from the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (OUR) and also participated in the Summer 2013 Wyoming Field Study offered through the University Honors College and the Studio Arts Department. These experiences gave me a glimpse into the possibilities of a career as a professional artist.
What are your plans beyond the university? I will be Artist-in-Residence at Second Site Gallery in Columbus, OH from June-July 2014 followed by a second artist residency at Bunker Projects in Pittsburgh, PA from October 2014- January 2015. I will have two solo exhibitions, one at Second Site Gallery in Columbus, OH in July 2014 and one at Unsmoke Systems in Braddock, PA in September 2014. I also am participating in multiple collaborative shows in Columbus and Pittsburgh in the next year. After I gain experience and expand my art through these exhibition and residency experiences, I plan to enroll in a graduate program in sculpture.