CSU art students explore different passions

Hannah Ditzenberger

Cei Lambert spent 503 hours and 45 minutes working on his thesis.

Cei Lambert says his installation was very much inspired by an interest in metamorphosis and investigating his personal transformation. (Photo credit: Kate Simmons)
Cei Lambert says his installation was very much inspired by an interest in metamorphosis and investigating his personal transformation. (Photo credit: Kate Simmons)

“I counted every single hour,” said Lambert, a graduate art student of textiles.

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His piece, an airy composition of pen drawings on silk organza, addresses themes of metamorphosis. He uses light and transparency to convey images of himself shifting into tigers, birds and other animals.

“It was a long exploration trying to find this material and work with it in this way,” Lambert said. “Conceptually, for me, this is very much about identity — a transformation of identity.” 

Like Lambert, senior drawing concentration major Amanda Thomas uses animals to represent herself.

Art major Amanda Thomas works in the drawing concentration studio, where she says she spends most of her time. (Photo Credits: Hannah Ditzenberger)
Art major Amanda Thomas works in the drawing concentration studio, where she says she spends most of her time. (Photo Credits: Hannah Ditzenberger)

“I like looking into the spirituality of life,” Thomas said. “The piece that I’m working on now is all about holding onto life after death.”

Thomson says she is in a “positive rut,” in which she pursues the same type of pieces repeatedly and confidently.

“I’ve really found my voice,” Thomas said. “I know what I’m passionate about and what I want to pursue.”

Thomas came to Colorado State University interested in psychology, a field she believed would allow her to help others. However, after taking drawing classes and gaining encouragement from teachers, Thomas switched to art. She said it requires her full dedication.

“I really hate how there is a stigma around being an art major here,” Thomas said. “It really is a lot of work. … Once I brought a cot in (the studio). I’ve stayed in here ‘til, like, five in the morning.”

According to senior Audrey Ancell, the ability to pursue a variety of mediums is why she is an art major. 

“The best part is getting to do what I love in an environment where the possibilities are endless,” Ancell said. “I can explore almost any format of art I wish. I am surrounded by people who, for the most part, have the same passion as I do. … There is an endless amount of creativity and new ideas and potential.”

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Thomas said the community she has experienced as an art major motivates her.

“Honestly, art and these people have just helped me grow as a person,” Thomas said. “You get to know people in really close circumstances. …  The people in my drawing studio are all like my family. My best friend sits across from me.” 

Ancell said the people she works with influence her pieces.

“Everyone is vibing off of one another,” Ancell said. “I have really felt myself grow more in these four years than the rest of my life together.”

While Ancell does not know what she wants to pursue after graduation, she said she hopes to live in San Diego. Similarly, Thomas said she dreams of living in Seattle, where she hopes to open an art studio with a friend.

“I really want to open up a gallery for emerging artists,” Thomas said. “It’s really hard for them to get their work out there.”

Thomas said she loves discovering and encouraging artists in Fort Collins. She encourages students to view the galleries featured in the art building, as well as attend the city’s First Friday Gallery Walks every month.

Lambert expects his work to be featured in the University Center of the Arts April 17 – May 15. Ancell and Thomas display work in galleries in the Visual Arts Building.

Collegian Diversity Beat and Entertainment Reporter Hannah Ditzenberger can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @h_ditzenberger.