BY AMY MROTEK
C.J. Guzan ’14 felt the creative call well before he set foot on the St. Norbert College campus.
“I first discovered I had a passion for it in grade school when I would draw comics and little two-dimensional battles when I should have been paying attention in class. Over time, and throughout high school, I wanted to be able to do more and coming to SNC became the best thing that ever happened to me artistically.” said Guzan.
His years of commitment and artistic work have finally begun to pay off, as Guzan was selected as this year’s Wisconsin Visual Artists Northeastern Chapter (WVA) merit winner.
The prize comes with a $100 dollar stipend, along with a yearlong membership with the WVA organization. This is no small accomplishment, as the WVA serves as the state’s oldest and one of its most accredited art societies.
Renowned for showcasing some of the finest contemporary art in Wisconsin, the WVA additionally includes website and magazine access for its members to upload and promote their latest work and gallery events.
Guzan played with the idea of storytelling when mapping the concept for his winning stand-alone piece. Entitled “Claytastrophy,” Guzan used a comic-style series of photographs to tell a story of an inanimate clay man—only five inches tall—taking an over-confident full-size man for everything he’s got in an intense game of Texas Hold ‘Em.
Guzan admits the money used in the photos was everything he had to his name at the time. He later spent it developing “Claytastrophy” for the award’s juried show.
Nominated by St. Norbert College’s own art faculty, the accolade came at a perfect time for the graduating senior.
“I plan on continuing my art career after college by getting an apprenticeship or artist residency, and then eventually go to graduate school to get my MFA (Master of Fine Arts). After which I plan on being a studio or commissioned artist,” said Guzan.
The exposure brought about by the WVA membership serves as the ideal pedestal for SNC’s own up and coming artists.