Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Interactive Art: Self Disclosure

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

This month’s First Friday kicked off at Catapult Creative House, which held events throughout the day — some centered around Southeast students. One, in particular, was titled Self Disclosure by Sammi Allen, a senior from Fenton, Missouri, who is getting her Bachelors degree in art with an emphasis in graphic design.

Allen’s exhibit was an interactive autobiography and through various types of art — painting prints, photography, fiber art, etc. — she invites her audience into the exhibit by giving the option to write what they thought the exhibit was about and hang it along with the artwork.

Allen explained her showcase revolved around human interaction with the artwork, not just by touching or looking very closely, but by audience members reflecting on themselves. By adding a word or two alongside Allen’s, they instantly become an artist.

“I wanted to see what viewers would be able to take from the work even if they don’t know the personal background of the artist,” she said.

Allen explained the exhibit as moving from left to right to show her natural decline of emotion. The left side shows more positive aspects of herself, unlike the right. Allen said she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety over the past year and as a result has been using art to cope and learn to deal with it.

Pieces of the showcase include a handmade journal, which can be found on sale at Catapult Creative House, and photo colleagues of personal and random pictures put together. The journal, she explained, displays the difference between generations. On the front cover is her great grandmother who was a teenager more than half a century ago, then on the back cover are pictures of herself and her mother.

Allen plays into the generational concept again with a ghost print. In the collection were three prints and while she was working them individually, she would print on the same piece repeatedly, layering the pieces of art on top of each other. The three original monoprints were of women in Allen’s family which resulted in the ghost print looking like a printed version of Allen.

The central piece in the exhibit was a wearable sculpture modeled by Allen in a photograph. The sculpture, worn on Allen's head, modeled an explosion.

“I wanted to test how I could remove the humanity away from someone,” she said.

Allen talks about her love for interactive shows and how they inspired this one. She mentioned an interactive showcase presented by Joe Page titled “Flow Chart,” that was held at Catapult last year. In the showcase, audience members were able to move wooden clouds on the floor as if they were in a game. She said she loved the level of interaction that showcase had — she wanted to recreate it in her own way.

Allen discussed her love for fiber art. She enjoys it so much she plans to keep doing it after college by getting into embroidery, along with bookmaking alongside graphic design.

After she graduates in May, Allen said although she plans to be a graphic designer, she also needs to make art to express herself and not always for others.