The intersection of art and place

A portrait done by Jorah Bright. The person has a ball cap with a logo on it, long blond hair, and painted red lips. They are wearing a tank top and a jean jacket.
Someone wearing a hat that doesn’t have a Roughrider Logo on it, for once. Jorah Bright

Student artist Jorah Bright chats about how the university has enhanced their work

Art is tied to the places where it’s made. Second year education student and digital artist Jorah Bright offers a few thoughts on their experience as an artist at the University of Regina. Chatting online, Bright started by saying that “being an artist in Regina and at the U of R means I have incredible friends who love and support my art. I imagine that if I was in a bigger school or a bigger city I would’ve struggled more to find that friend group because I’m such an introvert.”

The physical space of Saskatchewan and the areas and buildings at the University of Regina offer inspiration, places, and people that are unique to it and won’t be found elsewhere. With the ability to look out over the vast expanses and enjoy the prairies, Bright creates her work. “When I lived at residence last semester, my desk was right next to a window so I could look out and see the sunset as I worked.”

The coming together of all different types of people here in Regina offers endless supplies of inspiration. Since Regina is one of the few major urban centres in the province, students coming from rural areas get to connect with other students of many different ethnicities and nationalities. This blending of cultures makes the University experience here truly unique. As an artist specializing in character illustration, Bright comments on the importance of the people in the place she inhabits. “I find that my friends at the U of R frequently influence my work. Sometimes I’ll draw characters that my friends have come up with, and I take inspiration from their ideas of that character.” 

Due to the structure of some of the University of Regina’s programs, students can take advantage of classes that will help to stretch their creativity and how they approach art. “The U of R is a great place for artists because even though I’m not an Art major, I can still take art classes,” Bright explains. “In the summer of 2020, I took Art 220, and it shaped who I was as an artist and how I look at my references.” Even in an online space facilitated by a class, the places in which art is being created impact the work and the artist. On their own experience of this combination of place and art, Bright explained that “the other artists I met through that class were incredibly passionate about their work and that in itself is a huge inspiration.”

Another portrait done by Jorah Bright. A slightly more fantastical piece depicting a blonde person on a vibrant geometrical background with glowing green hands.
Guess you could say they’ve got a *green thumb*!

When turning to what might be missing from this place for artists who live and work here, Bright mentions “I wish there was more recognition for artists at the U of R.” Pivoting to online due to the pandemic has limited access to physical spaces, changed opportunities for learning and trying new things, and impacted connecting with others. But these changes also provide opportunities. When asked what she thought about what might be missing for artists in this place, the answer was obvious: “looking through [the U of R] website and their social media, I found almost nothing about artists that go to or went to the U of R and their work. I wish there was a way for artists to interact and meet each other.”

This kind of support and the connection it could provide would make the places where artists create and engage in their work even more important. A hobby can turn into a life pursuit in the right place, according to Bright. “I began pursuing art as a hobby in 2019, while I was in high school, as a coping mechanism for my panic attacks. I took a long detour through lettering before I found that character design was my passion.”

“I’ve improved greatly since then,” Bright notes, “and even my work from the beginning of this year looks like it was made by a completely different person. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made and very grateful for the people who have helped me along the way.”

For Bright, her work and the place she lives are absolutely intertwined – “I find inspiration from people in certain places. I think the two go together.”


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