There seems to be a strange dichotomy between science and the arts, but Mercer sophomore Avery Lario straddles these two worlds with both grace and poise.
Lario has always loved art. From a young age, her mother encouraged her artwork by putting her in lessons, supporting her decision to create art in high school and encouraging her to pursue art in college.
“She always wanted me to be an artist. She’s always been very supportive of that,” Lario said. “When I was a kid and she realized that I was interested in art, she immediately started putting me in art lessons, and that support really facilitated (my love for art.)”
Lario mainly specializes in visual art, with a special preference for painting and drawing. Her art style is influenced by a lot of different types of art styles, but the most influential style on her artwork has been surrealism. Some of her favorite surrealist artists include Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe.
Lario did art all throughout high school, and has had several works displayed over the years.
“In high school, I had a couple of pieces displayed at the student section of Dogwood (Art Festival) two years in a row. I also had some pieces displayed at the All State Symposium,” Lario said.
Although she was previously only majoring in art, Lario has recently decided to pursue nursing while minoring in art. Lario said that while some people think that there is really no way for a person to be involved in both art and science, she has found that her science classes have helped her art.
“Since I do love to paint anatomy and I’m pre-nursing, one interest feeds the other,” Lario said. “The more I paint, the more I want to learn, the more I learn, the more I want to paint.”
Originally, Lario had been a little nervous about the culture around the art department at Mercer, because it’s not primarily an art school. Professor Eric O’Dell is the one who showed Lario around Mercer’s art facilities, and helped her realize that she could have a successful art career at Mercer.
“A lot of people will try to convince you that you have to go to an art school,” Lario said. “You can have your art career anywhere … but there are people here who want to see me succeed in this.”
One of Lario’s favorite art classes has definitely been a painting class with O’Dell. Lario said she is looking forward to continuing to take art classes here, and is especially excited for junior and senior design studio classes.
This summer, Lario was able to travel with the art department to Greece to study abroad.
“That was really eye-opening and developmental for me as an artist,” Lario said. “Some of my favorite projects were being able to sit in front of such amazing pieces of artwork and kind of feel the energies of them while I sketched them.”
After graduating from Mercer, Lario would love to get her master of fine arts degree or a Ph.D. in art.
For freshmen, or others who might be scared about pursuing art as a career, Lario leaves this bit of advice:
“Just let yourself have fun. You don’t have to be making big social statements to have successful artwork. You don’t have to be the most talented in the room to enjoy yourself. Art is a language. You may not speak the language that the other person next to you is creating, but you speak your own.”