Ivy Marie Clarke
Mercer sophomore Faith Reagin said her love for art began when she was three years old.
“I loved coloring books. I loved anything that had to do with that,” Reagin said. “I’ve always been a creative person, and I’ve always liked doodling things.”
Now, as a college student, Reagin is a passionate participant in Mercer’s art program. Mercer offers two avenues for its art students to pursue: the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Fine Arts. Reagin is on the B.F.A. track.
Choosing Mercer was easy for Reagin. She said she appreciates the intimate, small school atmosphere, particularly in the art department.
“When it’s such a small group of people, your opinion and your views and the way that you do things matters so much more,” she said. “You’re more of a person that way. I feel like that’s really important when you’re trying to be an artist.”
Reagin has a special love for film photography after taking a film class in high school and learning about the darkroom process. She also enjoys painting, but her primary artistic interest lies in drawing.
Reagin’s love for drawing shines through the pages of her sketchbook. One of her favorite early works is an oil pastel piece featuring a skeleton being consumed by kudzu.
“The kudzu is an invasive species, and it just sucks the life out of anything, so I was thinking it can suck the life out of a human. That’s funny! It’s probably the best thing I did in high school,” Reagin said.
Reagin is also proud of a surrealist drawing she made in high school, inspired by Hokusai’s iconic woodblock print, “The Wave.” This piece is heavy with symbolism.
“The peach is truth, the lightning is awakening from ignorance, the blood is humanity and the time is mortality,” she said.
For Reagin, art is an exploratory tool to learn about other cultures and history. Each of her pieces is laden with research and meaning.
A more recent drawing of hers is made entirely out of hatching. In the center is a carefully shaded Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam, singing emotionally into a microphone. Surrounding him is a background of tiles filled with the titles of different songs Reagin thought he might be singing, including “Black,” “Elderly Woman” and “Nothingman.”
Reagin’s content changes along with her medium. While she tends to focus on people in her drawings, she likes to explore the effects of lighting on her camera.
“One of my favorite things ever is when you can see the sunlight coming through the leaves and you can see all the veins in them and the shadows that overlap,” She said. “I love it. It’s such a pretty effect.”
In the future, she dreams of owning her own gallery and selling her art for a living.
For Reagin — a photographer, painter and sketch artist — art is “expression. It’s the way someone relates to the world around them. It’s a way to filter yourself visually.”
“Who am I?” Reagin said. “I am my own art.”