Student artist explores a new medium

Cyrus Oswald, Staff Writer

Pink chalk drawings completely cover the brick sections of walls inside Charlie Piper’s dorm room in the Living/Learning Center. 

Also hung up are his proudest pieces of artwork.

Courtesy of Charlie Piper

Sophomore Charlie Piper drew a lot as a kid, and as he grew up, he never stopped. 

“I remember my grandmother always making sketches of castles and knights and horses,” Piper said. “I was always intrigued by that. You can tell a really good story through drawings.”

Piper is a studio art major from Seattle. 

Additionally, Piper spent a lot of his childhood outside camping, hiking and skiing. 

Now, his artwork tends to focus on the mountains, trees and landscapes his childhood taught him to love.

“I’m really into skiing and being in the outdoors,” Piper said. “You can get a lot of inspiration from just being outside, seeing how things are interacting.”

Although Piper tends to have ongoing themes through his artwork, he also recognizes that his style is constantly changing. 

“I’m somewhat detail oriented,” Piper said. “I wouldn’t say it’s very realistic in all senses, but I do have that side to my art techniques.”

He said the classes he has taken at UVM have had a huge influence on his style. 

In a September 2019 interview with the Cynic, he identified his favorite medium as pen on paper. 

His favorite projects at the time were commissions for other people. 

Piper expressed his excitement for a painting class he took this fall semester. In September, he said it was his first formal painting class.

He admits his style has certainly changed since then, mostly due to UVM courses and faculty. 

“I’ve kinda shifted a little,” he said. “I still have a lot to learn in my ink and pencil drawing in general, and I’m really glad I took the painting class. It was kinda stepping into a new pool for me.”

He specifically identified Pamela Fraser, associate professor of painting, as a huge help in developing his painting.

Courtesy of Charlie Piper

This January, when asked what his medium of choice was, Piper identified it as painting. 

Piper said that the class “Painting: observation and image,” taught by Fraser, hugely impacted his artwork.

It made him consider a new lens to make art through, he said.

“We definitely dealt with still lifes, and we didn’t do a lot of the landscape painting that I’m really interested in, but it was cool to see the other side of it,” Piper said. “I definitely need to broaden my scope to see what I really want to do.”

Piper’s style now mixes his past precise approach with the inspiration he’s drawn from his painting instruction. He finds his new style harder to describe.

“I like to combine that more graphic element with showing the brush strokes with thicker paint with a more flat, smooth, watery paint style.” Piper said. 

Professors have complimented Piper on his use of both heavy painterly brush strokes and smooth areas in a lot of his pieces. 

“I like to combine that more graphic element with showing the brush strokes with thicker paint with a more flat, smooth, watery paint style,” Piper said. 

Piper said his painting style should continue to develop over time as he picks up new influences.

Courtesy of Charlie Piper

“I think I’m definitely still exploring to see how my style changes over time,” Piper said, “You don’t really see that it’s happening until you’re done painting, and you compare a series. It’s just developing over time. It’ll never be the same.”

He sees himself using his art as more than  a tool for personal expression in the future.

“I want to dive into more environmental aspects and conservation efforts because art can be a really good way to promote different groups that are helping their communities and environments,” Piper said.

Piper can be reached at through his art Instagram, @chars_groovy_art.