George Mason University

News at Mason

Senior's art is never paint by numbers

April 22, 2019   /   by Claire Underwood

Amanda McDonald, a senior art and visual technology major, created this piece of wearable art that was inspired by her Slovak heritage and made to honor her grandmother. Photo provided.

Amanda McDonald has always been an artist at heart.

The art and visual technology major and senior at George Mason University recalled that her parents used to draw Disney characters for her to color in when she was a child.

It was a simple start to an artistic sensibility that has grown into an ability and love of creating art in many different mediums. Since coming to Mason, McDonald has also discovered a love of writing, which has prompted a notion of working in the comics industry, where she can combine both her artistic abilities.

For now, though, she is focused on learning and experimenting, such as she did in a class on nontraditional mediums, in which she drew on items such as paper towels.

“The class forced me to look at what I use as art,” she said, “and that I’m not necessarily limited to needing the nicest paper or the nicest chalk.”

Instead, McDonald used things such as nails, thread and wood to create a three-dimensional tree. She said she would like to learn more about sculpture, and she is currently working on a wearable piece of art—a jacket dedicated to her grandmother and designed to represent her Slovak heritage.

The jacket, made with a floral fabric and old jeans, has a design that was inspired by a traditional folk dress, the Kroj, and also features a photo of McDonald’s grandmother and great grandmother.

That kind of adventurous spirit is what McDonald said she will also bring to her comic work, writing and drawing in styles dependent on the message she wants to convey.

“Amanda moves comfortably between traditional and nontraditional media and techniques,” said Maria Karametou, an associate professor in Mason’s School of Art who has worked with McDonald in several of her courses. “She is not only really talented and hardworking as a student, but also a strong person who has surpassed personal obstacles with grace and a warm smile.”

McDonald’s art has been displayed at Artist Alley, a student-run arts fair at Mason, and her comic work has been up for sale at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Each time I finish a piece and it turns out how I wanted it to, it makes me happy,” McDonald said. “It is always rewarding to have other people enjoy something you’ve spent many hours working on.”