Interpreting the World Through Art: CREM Senior Show


“The Evolution of American Slavery” by Abdul Jackson

When you think of Creative Media, a number of different things come to mind. After all, the Creative Media (CREM) major is something completely unique and original to Champlain College. It allows students with multiple talents to explore all of their areas of interest, choosing from three artistic specializations. So, as you can expect, the major attracts a wide variety of artists culminating in a diverse senior capstone show every year.

This year’s CREM capstone show took place on Monday, April 15 in the CCM Gallery and lasted until that Friday morning. It’s a busy time of year and other capstones need the gallery space, so the show is only afforded a short amount of time. However, within the span of a few short days, the CREM show was home to an amalgamation of unique projects, including sculptures, fashion design, animation, comics and more.

“All of them are really different from each other. That’s the great thing about the show,” Al Larsen, Creative Media professor explained. He teaches the CREM capstone class where seniors spend the semester working on these projects.

“I really love seeing how they evolve over the time that they’re in the program,” said Larsen. “They become more skilled, but more importantly, they become confident, identify what’s important to them, and find ways to pursue it through their artwork.”

This exact process is what brought Anthony Mahon to construct his capstone. Mahon did an oral history project about the mental illness stigma surrounding people of color. To do this, he interviewed people, created videos and constructed a website.

Mahon was first inspired by Kid Cudi, who opened up about his struggles with mental illness and started the #YouGoodMan movement. From there, Mahon spoke to one of his close high school friends about his struggles and from there, he found inspiration for the project.

From there, I wanted to expand the conversation from black men and mental health to mental health among all people of color,” he said. “Beyond that, this project was especially important to me because my mother suffers from anxiety so her experiences added a more personal element to it.”

Mahon’s mother was also interviewed for the project in a two-part video interview that you can find on the website. He wrote on the video post that getting her perspective was especially important because he had no idea what she went through until he interviewed her for his project.

Mahon’s project was the only audio project in the show.

“MJ Metcalf made this structure, and there’s a poem in there, that was really unusual and cool,” Larsen recounted. Metcalf’s project was a large wooden box that the viewer steps in and closes themself inside. In the box, the words of MJ’s poem are lit up, illuminating the inside of the box.  

“It was interesting to look around and see how the pieces are all so different,” Larsen added. “The students are different from each other, and there seemed to be a different way they were responding to life as a college-age person in 2019. It felt like they were interpreting the world through their artwork, and that was really exciting.”