• July 18, 2019

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Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 9:35 pm

Senior Art and Dance Student Stephanie McNeill has created a style of art all her own by combining dance and paint.

At the same time. 

Growing up, McNeill was interested in learning more about the arts. She was the one, for example, who would use every crayon in the box while coloring. 

Painting with Dance
Stephanie McNeill combines painting with her passion for dance Tuesday, November 20, 2018, at the Claypool-Young Art Building at Morehead, Ky. Photo by Hannah Gipson By Hannah Gipson

Apart from visual arts, she found a passion for dance at a young age and remembers trying to imitate the dancers on her VHS copy of Riverdance at 2-years-old. 

However, it wasn’t until she was older and began to take dual credit classes in art and dance at MSU when she realized that art could be a career.

Now as a senior art student at Morehead State University, McNeill is prepared to complete her time by participating in the BFA art show, which is a showcase of graduating seniors from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program and begins on April 24 in Claypool-Young building.

McNeill will present works that showcase her as an interdisciplinary artist in her time here how she found a way to connect both art forms- by painting with her feet.

“Since I am both a painter and a dancer, I didn’t see any reason why my work should have to pick one side or another,” explained McNeill.

“I tried painting with my feet the first time in sophomore year when I was trying to abstractly portray dance and I thought, ‘What better way than to actually dance on my surface?’”, she said. “We talk about movement all the time in the art world as an element of design and visual language but painting with my feet makes this concept literal by adding actual elements of movement into my world.”

Painting with Dance
Stephanie McNeill combines painting with her passion for dance Tuesday, November 20, 2018, at the Claypool-Young Art Building at Morehead, Ky. Photo by Hannah Gipson By Hannah Gipson

Color and body language are the two key elements of her work that she will present. McNeill takes note of interesting color combinations and ways people interact with each other and themselves to build the piece. 

“For this particular series, I started with an emotion or feeling and then figured out what colors and figure poses best expressed that concept,” she said. The body of work is focused on how the arts allow for emotional release and cathartic experience, and how one processes those feelings.

One piece in particular, “Lean On Me,”, is about a time last semester McNeill felt isolated and disconnected from the people around her and the process of healing from it. 

For McNeill, these past four years has been met with encouragement from her professors and fellow artists for boldly choosing to create a unique style she feels expresses who she is. She has had the opportunity to create pieces that are inspirational, moving and showcase the passion she has for what she creates. 

After graduation, she plans to take a gap year from school while staying connected with the theatre and dance department in Morehead, as well as continue free lance work in both painting and dance. 

Painting with Dance
Stephanie McNeill combines painting with her passion for dance Tuesday, November 20, 2018, at the Claypool-Young Art Building at Morehead, Ky. Photo by Hannah Gipson By Hannah Gipson

The BFA Show is from April 24 until May 8 in Claypool Young. The artist talks take place the evening of opening night before the opening reception, when viewers have the chance to share the meaning behind their works in person.