Art influences culture every day, even on a subconscious level.
Artist Raylene Dodson believes that, thanks to social media, people today are constantly bombarded with an overwhelming array of visual influences.
“I think art, especially in the way of graphic design, has such an influence on the decisions we make, what we buy, where we visit, what we watch, etc., that these things have the power to steer our culture in certain directions,” Dodson said.
As a student soon to be a professional artist, she’s excited to help shape culture.
“I think art can tell future generations a great deal about us. It can show lifestyle, what was socially acceptable or liked at the time, conflicts, and even our generation’s attitude as a whole,” Dodson said.
Creativity has always motivated Dodson to express herself through art.
“I have been making art throughout my past four years of college, but I have been drawing and creating since I was a child,” she said.
When she started college, she loved making art to express herself, but as she delved further into graphic design, she realized a fulfillment from creating applicable art.
“Graphic design isn’t just about expressing yourself; it’s about influencing people and everyday decisions they make,” Dodson said.
Personal experiences inspire Dodson.
“I think that, with fine arts, you have a chance to express inner emotions to people who you may not even know,” she said. “As a graphic designer, I am strongly influenced by social media and pop culture trends.”
Dodson recently won an Addy award from the Tulsa Advertising Federation for a stationery set she designed.
“I am also lucky enough to be receiving an Academic Achievement Award for Graphic Design from NSU, which I am very excited about,” she said.
Dodson has worked as a resident assistant on campus for the past three years and is now a student designer for NSU’s Communications and Marketing department.
While completing her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, Dodson studied many different mediums, including pastels, oil, acrylic, watercolor and printmaking. She graduates in May.
“As a graphic designer, I have to say my favorite medium is digital. I like creating digital media because of the versatility it offers. I have also done several projects that combine aspects of fine art with digital design that are very unique works,” she said.
She especially enjoyed printmaking class. Two of her favorite pieces from that class are displayed in the NSU art gallery.
“I love how many different techniques there are; I think experimenting with so many different mediums has given me a greater respect and admiration for people who excel in those mediums,” she said.
Even though her hometown of Vian was not a hub of artistic expression, the things and people she was surrounded by influenced her to strive for more than what she had.
“I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer since I was in high school. But I must admit, when I came to NSU as a freshman, I had no idea what an amazing faculty they have,” she said.
Jacob Cotton is her mentor for graphic design and has constantly challenged her to do her best work.
“Perfection was always the goal, though I fell short many times,” she said.
Feedback from friends and family are invaluable to Dodson.
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