Last school year, during her first semester at Parsons School of Design in New York City, Anna Archibald found herself a little overwhelmed. She was thousands of miles from home, surrounded by highly competitive peers.
As a result, she had some artist’s block.
“I spent a lot of time this past year feeling intimidated, often causing me to overthink and compare myself to others, and I wound up never feeling satisfied with my outcomes,” Archibald recalls.
But then she started creating pieces that dealt with home — and her closest friends from Hawaii.
“After months of feeling blocked, I began to work back into a style that was more fun and natural for me and focused on using what was personal and familiar to me as subject matter, namely experiences I had with the people close to me,” Archibald explains.
Little did she know that one of those friends, Ayaka Takao, who was a sophomore at The Maryland Institute College of Art, also was creating artwork about their social group.
Following this theme, the two artists came together to create a collaborative exhibit, Sum of Five, on display at The Outpost gallery at Hound & Quail Aug. 5-13.
“Each piece I created for this show is my way of expressing a particular situation, dilemma or set of feelings. A lot of these works are about simple experiences that most people can relate to, like meeting new people, finding comfort in familiar friends, feeling inadequate, finding a fresh start, missing home, or struggling to get your bearings in a new place,” Archibald explains.
“The works are … made for ourselves, made for friends, and made for others to relate to,” Takao says. “The exhibition as a whole is a display of appreciation and a thank you to the people that keep us doing what we are doing.”
Taking cue from that saying by Jim Rohn that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” the exhibit features paintings and drawings by Archibald and Takao that explore the bond they have with their friends and contemplates what that means to them as individuals, focusing on themes of growth, friendship, compromise and joy.
“We used this sentiment to express that the people we hold closest to us are reflected in ourselves and therefore what we create,” Archibald says. “It’s about the victories and trials we go through in our day-to-day lives, and the people who share them with us.”
Sum of Five kicks off with an opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 5. For more information, visit houndandquail.com.