Despite some uncertainties, Phoebe Little, a junior art student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said she hopes to overcome obstacles and stay focused on graduating. Little said her global education and travels to India helped her progress as an artist and as an individual, but predicts that her life after graduation will be difficult and intimidating. It remains unclear whether she will continue to move forward and establish her career as a painter.
“I try as much as possible not to be afraid of what people think and to stay true to myself,” Little said. “I predict that I will eventually find my rhythm and have a studio space.”
Little’s interest in art was sparked by his mother, Shelley Thornton. Little said growing up with Thornton provided him with the materials and inspiration to follow in his mother’s footsteps as an artist.
Little continued his education in the Arts and Humanities program at Lincoln Public Schools. She said mentoring her instructors provided a comfortable place to learn and gain real-world experience with art, history and culture. The program encouraged her to explore outside of her comfort zone and speak up.
Once enrolled in college, Little’s main goals were to experiment with various artistic techniques and materials, and to learn aesthetic concepts, art history, and culture. In second year, Little became a UCARE student for UNL art teacher Aaron Holz.
For two years, Little helped Holz with his research projects in his studio. In addition to work, Holz and Little discussed the world of art, painting, and how to effectively pursue an artistic career. Little said working for Holz gave him a research opportunity and broadened his knowledge of art.
“To have contact with someone who knows so much about the art world was really amazing,” Little said.
Little continued her activities when she asked family friend Jay Kramer for an opportunity to go to India. When Kramer received a Fulbright grant to make a documentary on Indian weddings, culture, and music, Little asked if she could join the project.
While preparing for her trip to India, she received sponsorship from the UCARE program and Holz was a counselor for Little while she planned her trip abroad.
“He really cares about the success of his students and is excited to share his wealth of knowledge,” Little said.
While in India, Little was exposed to the elaborate and ornate wedding traditions of India. She also took the time to note the ancient history and culture of the country.
“I’ve always been interested in learning about other cultures and other parts of the world,” Little said. “Many aspects (of the trip) were truly amazing and unexpected while there were others that were heartbreaking and difficult.”
Although the misfortune of breaking her ankle was a hindrance to Little’s work on the documentary, she instead built her own animation studio to work on while she recovered. Little said the overall experience guided her to become a more individualistic person and gave her a better understanding of a world outside of her hometown.
With her interests in mind, Little said she wanted to continue her education abroad. Little plans to apply for an art residency program in Florence, Italy this summer.
Outside of UCARE and studying abroad, Little remains active as part of her studies at UNL. His paintings have been exhibited in student galleries such as Richards Hall. She has also participated in multiple competitions and won several awards, such as “Best Painting” at the Nebraska National Exhibition.
As Little pursues her Bachelor of Fine Arts at UNL, she said she would like to see art continue to develop in the city of Lincoln and attract more young artists to the community.
“There are a few cultural must-sees in Lincoln like the Sheldon and different galleries, but I wish there were more,” Little said. “I think right now the most important thing to have would be an accessible community space for young artists.”
Little’s proposal was that the venue could be transformed into a multi-purpose space for pop-up secret suppers to raise funds for young artists, exhibitions, underground performance spaces, and a place where growing young artists could show off their talents. creativity. Little said there are places like this for more established artists, but she would like more students to have the opportunity to exhibit their own art.
After graduation, she wants to become a studio painter and work as an adjunct faculty member at a university. Little is also interested in living in other places, such as Chicago, the East Coast, and possibly Berlin.
“I can’t wait to grow in the future, but I really love the intimate community I have right now,” Little said.
For her, every little challenge begins with a blank canvas. As life continues to give Little a new drawing board, all that’s left is to start painting. With each new step, Little retains a realistic view of what life would be like after graduation.
“Being terrified of a blank page and generating something out of absolutely nothing is one of the biggest challenges in art,” Little said. “It’s still terrifying, but I have this basic confidence in myself that no matter what, I’ll figure out how to creatively solve a problem.”