Deb Spalding

DSC_0036Alyssa Imes of Emmitsburg (pictured right) is a student of art. The dining room of her parent’s home resembles an art museum with displays and photos of her sculptures. A muse-ful elephant smiles at you proudly with his ceramics metallic body and wire trunk; a gumby giraffe made of screws and pipe seems ready to play; and a gracefully rusty sculpture resembles a ship’s sail. One of her recent pieces features steel rods supporting volumes of knowledge in the floating pages of books. Her favorite piece, showing the history of cast iron, allowed her to further her casting metal talents and to use heavy iron within the sculpture. Many of her sculptures are from “found” objects that Alyssa transforms into art that can be treasured anew.

During high school, Alyssa is a 2014 graduate of Catoctin High School, she attended an A.P. art program at Thomas Johnson High School, where she was able to determine her artistic focus. In May, she completed her freshman year at Shepherd University, where she is studying art with a concentration in sculpture, of course.

“In college, art is taught from a basic level at first because they want you to make work that is visually interesting. Then, as you increase in the years, you work on the concept of your work. They give students simple tasks at first like combining two elements of art and creating great things,” Alyssa said. “I like when they give just enough instruction to go off of, then you make it visually awesome.”

She’s using materials such as iron, aluminum, and steel, and combining them with more fragile elements such as paper and natural wood. This is challenging and interesting.

Recently, Alyssa took a trip with Shepherd students through Europe to study art history and see some of the classics. While winding her way through London, Germany, France, Italy, and Greece, she attended a contemporary art show, she rode in a gondola, and she watched glass blowers. Her favorite part of the trip was seeing Michelangelo’s sculpture of David in person, in Florence, Italy. “It’s incredible to see pieces of art that you’ve looked up to your whole life,” expressed Alyssa.

When she finishes at Shepherd, Alyssa hopes to apply what she’s learned and artistically incorporate the knowledge within her sculptures with an architecture team, or she may work with a team of artists on bigger art projects.

Her parents, Laura and Jeff Imes, have been Alyssa’s biggest influence. She said, “Art is not a wealth-oriented career, at first it can be hard to set off on a prosperous path. My parents have always encouraged my art and allowed me to go to school for it.” She added, “My teachers are next. They encouraged me to always do better in art and to go to school for it. They gave me the confidence to accept art as the path I want to take.”

Alyssa is a true student of art, as she tells the story of how her sculptures came to be, she shares a deeper connection with each part of her sculptures because of what she learned creating it. The story is conveyed through each piece, with the combination and arrangement of the elements in the final look of each piece that gives it character.

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