Everett Community College student Ryan Cade isn’t always confident in his photography.
He’s at peace with that feeling, though.
“One of the things I’ve learned is self-doubt as an artist is totally normal,” Cade said. “Just because I’m not totally confident in my work, doesn’t mean other people won’t see something they like.”
The 19-year-old’s portrait abstraction “Miriam” is featured on the poster for the college’s annual student exhibition at Russell Day Gallery, which is displaying art by graduating students through June 6 in the Parks Student Union Building.
The exhibit features 76 works of ceramics, graphic design, photography and fine arts by more than 30 students.
“It’s a very beautiful gallery,” said Greg Kammer, director of the gallery and graphic arts instructor at the college. “These types of shows are important because they not only give a student a professional venue for looking at their work, but it also puts them in a space that has a different importance from a classroom or a hallway.”
Cade’s artwork shows a young woman with black hair, lipstick and clothing against a white background. White patterns drawn in Photoshop slice across the portrait, leaving only glimpses of her face and body.
The patterns represent Cade’s impression of the woman’s personality; he spent time getting to know fellow student Miriam Price during the photo shoot.
“She’s very cool, very stylish and sleek,” said Cade, a third-year student. “The lines are waving around.”
The piece caught Kammer’s eye, who saw it hanging in a hallway on campus. He liked it so much that he selected it for the show’s poster.
“I said, ‘Gosh, there’s something about that that’s a little different,’ ” Kammer said.
Cade turned the concept into a series, which is displayed near the entrance of the gallery. His vertical black-and-white panorama of a barn called “Just Look Up” also is featured.
He started taking pictures when he was a junior at Marysville Getchell High School. Cade is on track to earn an associate of fine arts degree in photography next month. He’s currently deciding whether to transfer to the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, or the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.
Kammer launched the annual spring exhibition when he took over the gallery eight years ago. The gallery honors the contributions former Everett Community College instructor Russell Day made to the school’s art curriculum.
The exhibition gives students the chance to be professionally displayed, provides community exposure — which can lead to some job opportunities — and be critiqued. It’s also a chance to reflect on the work they’ve made during their post-high school careers — like a resume, but for all to see.
Kammer said it’s a healthy exercise for students to see their work in a spotlight, even if they’re not completely satisfied with it.
“The fun part is making it,” Kammer said. “Failure is not only acceptable, but it’s important. That’s where you’re learning something. To succeed means that you figured it out.”
Photography instructor Nancy Jones has a similar outlook. She said art should be interpreted and dissected, which is precisely what the student exhibit allows.
“One shouldn’t have to make art in a vacuum,” Jones said. “At the end of the day, art is to make art. It’s what they want to do. When you can show the viewer the way you see the world, I think it opens up a dialogue and allows us to have more conversations.”
Evan Thompson: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 360-544-2999.
If you go
The Russell Day Gallery is in Parks Student Union Room 219 at Everett Community College, 2000 Tower St. The student exhibit is free.
Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. It is closed Saturday and Sunday.
Meet the artists during a public reception from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. May 17 at the gallery.
Find out more at www.everettcc.edu/gallery.