Student Artist Spotlight: From taking an art course ‘on a whim’ to majoring in it: Tori Schoen ’20 hopes to continue her work post-grad

Tori Schoen ’20 spends most of her time in the printmaking studio in order to work on her printmaking skills. (Photo by Brandon Marin ’22).

Studying the art of printmaking has always been the fate of Tori Schoen ’20, she just didn’t know it until her first-year at Lafayette.

Since discovering her love for art and printmaking, Schoen uses the art form to express her “free flowing” artistic style. Schoen, who has been interested in art since a young age, was only able to pursue this passion once she came to the college and decided to double major in studio art and psychology. 

“Before Lafayette, I had no experience with printmaking,” she said. “I have really loved art my entire life but in high school I did sports for four years, and kind of stopped doing it.”

Schoen’s first experience with college art was professor James Clark’s beginning printmaking course. After realizing her love for the subject material, Schoen continued to take printmaking classes, including Clark’s intermediate course.

“I ended up loving that course, and everyone in my class ended up loving the course,” she said. “We all just ended up taking intermediate printmaking the next semester.”

Schoen said her decision to take beginning printmaking her first-year at the college was “on a whim.” Since then, she became heavily involved with studio art on campus, particularly screen printing. Her interest in printmaking goes to the point of spending hours upon hours in order to perfect her craft. 

“I am in the studio probably eighteen plus hours a week, whether or not I am working on my art or someone else’s,” she said. 

Schoen regularly works alongside fellow students and professors, as well as visiting artists, in the printmaking studio. This intense involvement has helped her further shape her relationship with art.

I am thinking about it a lot, it is always around me,” she said, adding, “I don’t really use it as an emotional outlet. My art is more free flowing and whatever I am interested in that day,” she said. 

The doodles Schoen has made in the classroom when she was younger has “definitely found a way into details on some of my prints.”

“My art is kind of all over the place all the time, anyways,” she said. “But I do these small doodles in my notebooks ever since I was a kid whenever a teacher would be talking.”

Schoen is currently working on her capstone project, which required her to slightly change her approach to her work. 

“I always work in black and white and very small, and now I am working at a large scale and in color, which is very scary for me,” she said. 

However, Schoen’s approach to this new challenge helped ease any initial hesitation she had about her work and her process.

“I came in with a set process. I am very process based,” she said. “I know I like screen printing, and I know I like working with micron pens and so I came in knowing I was going to create a bunch of drawings with micron pens and turn them into screen prints.”

One of Schoen’s capstone pieces features a giant banana. 

“Currently, my capstone project is me creating a bunch of giant bananas, and I never saw that one coming. Everyone has their different ideas about what a banana can mean, but for me it was strictly like I wanted to draw a banana one day and it just ended up being an image I am reproducing a lot on a large scale.”

Schoen joked that her motto for her capstone is: “It’s not that deep.”

“I am an art major because when the hell else am I going to have unlimited time to work on my art,” Schoen said. She said she hopes to work tangentially with the art world in a more corporate setting. 

Schoen’s work, along with that of other capstone students, will be on display towards to end of next semester. 

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