A/E: Expressive art and personal style | Entertainment

Many artists are known for having a recognizable panache both in the work they create and in their lives away from it. Salvador Dali, Louise Nevelson and Andy Warhol immediately come to mind. Use of certain colors and imagery in their art complimented by or in contrast to the garments they wear or how their hair is styled outside the studio.

Artist Zabe Bader is one of these who recognizes the desirability of both. She recently finished her freshman year at the University of Oklahoma in the School of Visual Arts and will be returning in the fall to resume studies and creating art. In April Bader’s work was included in OU’s 109th Student Art Exhibition in the Lightwell Gallery. The combination of thematic color in her work on display and individual sartorial elán at the show closing reception were both evident.

“I get a lot of my inspiration for my art from my personal expression of style,” Bader said. “What I wore at the exhibition was kind of toned down from what I usually do because my mother likes when I dress a little bit nicer for these types of events. You could consider it Goth I guess. I have a lot of black and dark clothing and do a lot of eccentric make-up. And also add a lot of blue and black into what I wear. It’s one of my favorite things to do, add blue into anything I can.”

Bader was born and raised in Broken Arrow. She was home schooled up until high school at Riverfield Country Day School in Tulsa where art became her focus. Bader thought long and hard about attending the Kansas City Art Institute before choosing OU.

“I realized OU was going to be a better fit for what I was looking for in a degree,” she said. “I’ve been into art since a young age.”

Bader grew up drawing and painting in acrylics and watercolors and making paper maché sculptures.

“I’ve grown a lot at OU and opened my perspectives on how to make art,” Bader said. “I’m not a big fan of drawing but have been pushed to draw more and see more potential there than before. Also I’ve taken a sculpture class and have developed a love for iron and aluminum pouring. I never knew I’d be into that before taking this class.”

Bader credits personal experiences both positive and negative with informing her creative inspiration.

“I really love the color blue so every chance I get I try to incorporate that color into my art,” she said. “I’ve made bold choices in life and like to put them into my art. I like making statements about myself or how I’ve lived my life. I’ve made pieces sharper about how I feel inside, brighter in some areas or not in others to express how I feel sometimes.”

Bader feels honored to have been included in OU’s 109th Student Art Exhibition.

“Seeing everyone else’s art was really inspiring,” she said. “There were many different types of art. I liked seeing everything because the school is big and I don’t get to see a lot of the art that’s made in all those classes.”

Bader’s work in the exhibition was on a white 10’ tall freestanding wall in the center of the gallery’s west half. It held three identically sized canvasses with each containing a blue tinted woman’s profile from the behind on a black rectangle. The profiles descend in size from largest to smallest in the clever triptych.

“I made that over Christmas break,” Bader said. “A couple of months ago I went through a really hard time of a breakup and felt very sad. I felt I needed to express the sadness in an art piece. I found the three little canvasses while cleaning out the studio and they were perfect for the project. I wanted to emphasize feeling so small. Making myself blue because of wanting to incorporate that in any way I can and expressing how I felt blue inside. I have no clothing in the painting because I felt stripped of everything, bare and exposed in a sense.”

Bader has found instruction at OU dissimilar to her high school experience.

“Instead of telling me what to do they give me certain ideas with advice to expand on those,” she said. “I think that helps me more as an artist, finding my way around things and figuring it out on my own. When I go beyond OU I won’t have an instructor to go to and tell me what to do. I think this has helped me grow a lot. I really enjoy the instruction I get from my teachers.”

Bader cited OU faculty member Leticia R. Bajuyo as a mentor who she’s yet to have a formal class from.

“She’s helped me with a lot of things and is a big inspiration for me,” Bader said. “She’s a sculpture professor who helped me in my sculpture class and my core, too.”

Bader plans to paint, knit and sew during the summer along with learning to play guitar.

“I like to expand on different art forms and music is one I haven’t tried before,” she said.

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