Name: Aleta Dunn
Found at: University of Hartford (West Hartford)
What is it like to live and attend school in Hartford?
It's actually a lot like living in Maryland, which is where I'm from. It's very peaceful and serene, and since our campus is essentially in the middle of the woods, it has a special feel to it, especially when the seasons change. It's just very beautiful. Not too exciting all the time but Hartford is a lovely city.
Which artists have served to inspire and encourage your work?
Recently our university awarded Mary Heilmann an honorary doctorate of fine arts. During her lecture, she made me realize that I could turn my talent into whatever I wanted it to be and the fact that I'm currently a psychology major shouldn't mean that I can't put my all into my art as well. Not having ever taken a drawing class made me a little insecure about what I would or wouldn't be able to do with my skills as an artist, but she and others gave me courage to go on to pursue art.
How does your art compare or is influenced by your psychology major studies?
Psychology for me is like snapping my fingers, whereas art is a little more difficult because I have to spend time digging through my brain pulling out my millions of ideas and then materializing them. I occasionally use my art as therapy, so in those cases where I'd be studying for psych, I'd call it "venting" when I create certain pieces.
When was the time you were most scared?
Probably when I first started college. I attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York City my freshman year, and coming from a small town in Maryland to such a big and dynamic place where I knew almost no one, it was quite overwhelming at first. I learned to love it however and I can see myself returning one day, maybe.
Your art balances an intimacy with an inherently dreamlike quality. How do you manage to marry the two?
I see my art as a direct extension of myself and a reflection of my soul. If you could see the inside of my head, it'd be like a music video with colors, words, memories, thoughts, emotions, dreams, and music all swirling around together in a sea of shenanigans. When I draw, I'm able to organize them in a way which allows me to depict just one emotion, thought or memory with the colors or words that go with them inside my head.
What are your most irritating qualities?
The fact that I tend to over think almost everything and I freak myself out a lot by doing so. I'm also pretty lazy, and I can be quite dramatic at times.
What is the riskiest thing you‘ve ever done?
I'm not a real big risk-taker so this might be boring but it's probably when some friends and I went to a birthday party a few months ago where there was underage drinking. The cops showed up and instead of giving citations they just kicked us all out so we piled an irrational number of people in a four-door car (with someone in the trunk) and drove to our "refuge" location. Our driver hadn't had anything to drink so we were safe, but I was laughing ridiculously the entire time. It was great.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
It's a tie between graduating from high school and believing in myself enough to become an illustration minor here at UHA.
What is your biggest regret?
Allowing myself to be treated like I was nothing. Letting others take advantage of me and then allowing them to make me feel like I wasn't good enough or worth it for a big portion of my life.
Where do you envision yourself in one year? In five years? In ten years?
Applying to grad schools or preparing for whatever I'm going to do when I graduate. In five years, I hope to be helping children in some way with either my psychology, art or both, and then in 10 years, maybe I'll be married, still be doing what I love and possibly either getting ready to have children or already have a few.
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