An Inspired Work

Robby Sawyer ’14 on how the liberal arts influenced his print making and why he loved being an art major at Wheaton.

For studio art major Robby Sawyer ’14, Adams Hall is the heart of creativity at Wheaton. “You get to know everyone,” he says of the art department home. “There is so much inspiration and so many ideas. Adams Hall is a wonderful place to be and create.”

The fourth-generation Wheatie spent the fall semester of his senior year studying at an art school in New Zealand by way of the office of Global and Experiential Learning. Robby returned to Wheaton with renewed appreciation for pursuing art in tandem with other disciplines. “Being an artist in a liberal arts institution is fantastic,” he says. “After studying in an art school, I was so thankful to return. My study of philosophy, math, and science informs my art and vice versa.”

Robby spent his final semester on campus completing his senior art show, “O Land,” a 10-piece exhibit inspired by the forest regions of his home state, Colorado. “It has a rustic, western feel, and it is inspired by the notion of human place and connection to things that are wildly beautiful,” Robby says. “I spend hours a day in preparation. I am a printmaker, so I am working on several types of media. I prepare paper, I print, I refine, I cut. My brain is in different places at all times.”

Robby’s faculty advisor, Assistant Professor of Art Jeremy Botts, has guided him toward becoming a professional artist and “a humble worker,” Robby says. The newly minted alum hopes to pursue graduate studies in art so that he can teach at the collegiate level, following in the footsteps of Botts and his other mentors.

Robby sees a message of redemption in his chosen art form. “If you make a mistake on your piece, you have to integrate that into your work—which is very much like life,” he says. “When you make a mistake you can’t just erase it; it’s ingrained in who you are. So being a printmaker, slipping up on a piece of linoleum or wood, is very much like life, where you have to integrate it into your piece and make it beautiful still. I feel like that speaks of the redemption of Christ in our lives, because we make mistakes and he turns it all for good.”