Golf and art don't sound like pursuits that necessarily go together, but Taylor Stamp begs to differ.
The 2011 University of Colorado at Colorado Springs graduate creates art while following his dream of playing professional golf, a pairing that he says helps hone his analytical abilities in both the studio and on the green.
That athlete's discipline and critical thinking means he's not going for art that's thin on concept and heavy on appearances.
"I experienced a lot of kids at UCCS saying, 'Oh, I want to make this because it's pretty.' You get a lot of that, and you have teachers saying, 'Why are you doing this?' and, 'What does it mean?' I think that's what the teachers pushed me beyond, to go deeper into why I'm attracted to color and light."
The 23-year-old Colorado Springs native is one of seven participating in Bright Young Things, a group show featuring recent Front Range art graduates, at UCCS' GOCA 121. He joins Aaron Graves, also from UCCS; Eleanor Anderson and Angela Eastman of Colorado College; Tyler Beard and Laura Lee Shill of CU-Boulder; and Sarah Rockett of Colorado State University.
They were brought together by GOCA director Daisy McConnell, who plans to make this a biennial exhibit. She keeps a "mental file" of interesting artists and asked the region's art professors for recommendations.
Stamp's light piece will be joined by "Icarus," from 2009 grad Eastman. She spent around 80 hours meticulously cutting heavy paper into arcs that mimic the melting feathers of the mythical character's wax wings, which deteriorated from flying too close to the sun.
Like Stamp, Eastman has multiple career ideas in mind; she plans to pursue a graduate degree in industrial design. The 24-year-old North Carolinian now lives in Manitou Springs, but stays plenty inspired with ideas for her work — and for what she wants people to learn as they view it.
"I really think that if people are more mindful and spend more time noticing the small details of the world and their lives," she says, "that can really improve quality of life."
That attitude says a lot about why McConnell chose this group. They see art as a lifestyle.
"They're not all going into academia, necessarily," she says. "They're finding other ways to make a living and use their creativity throughout their whole life. It's not like, 'It's just a job and then I go home.'"