Kevin Bates knew he would apply for thesis after taking his first few art classes at Guilford. He says it just seemed right to do the senior showcase. Bates hasn’t slowed down or looked back since being the only painter chosen for this year’s thesis exhibition. He hasn’t had time to. Getting pieces prepared for the upcoming show is a feat in itself. Pair that with a family at home (about an hour’s commute from Guilford) and you see one busy schedule. Kevin says he is running on fumes and only a few hours of sleep every night, but you’d never know it when you look at his work. He paints entirely from photographs, mostly pictures of family members. He has recently been working with oil paints, and is loving the results. Inspired by one of the first internationally acclaimed African American painters, Henry Tanner, most of Kevin’s work is done at his studio in his home, but Bates is hoping to reach the masses with his work. He not only wants to create something aesthetically pleasing, but to also embed a message in the canvas. Taking a snapshot of something routine or every day such as children running, and transcribing it to canvas adds importance and significance. His paintings remind us not to take a single moment for granted. Using old pictures gives an interesting, rustic feeling, and brings back memories of the time captured on camera. Expect to see a range of Bates’ paintings in April, and probably a sigh of relief that the work is complete, for a short time. Post-graduation Kevin plan is to pursue a career as a painter, but he’s also interested in starting a community outreach program for troubled youth. Grad school is of course in his mind as well. As for right now though, he says “I am going to go home, and I am going to paint.”
Images to come.