UNC Pembroke art student Elena Lopez won the top prize in an international competition for her mixed media painting titled “1984.”
The contest, Premio de Pintura Joven 2008, was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce in Murcia, Spain, Lopez’ hometown. She won the under 21-year-old division.
“I think this is a wonderful achievement,” said James Biederman, UNCP’s Martha Beach Distinguished Professor of Art and an instructor of advanced painting. “This is encouraging for all of our students, and for Elena as she works to become a professional artist.
“We’re fortunate to have her in our program,” Biederman said. “Elena has enormous energy and insight.”
A student at the University of Murcia, Lopez decided to enroll for just one semester abroad at UNCP, but then she changed her mind.
“I feel very comfortable here,” she said in an interview in the painting studio. “It started out as just one semester, but I asked for an extension.”
Besides advanced painting, Lopez is taking pottery from Stephen Robison, advanced sculpture and Elements of Design. She is new to pottery.
“I feel free to do new things and improve on the things I am familiar with,” she said. “Professor Robison convinced me to write a book in Spanish and English.
“I like the results,” Lopez said. He is correcting my English.”
She admits she needs to work on English, but she would rather focus on art. Although Lopez is experimenting with different media, she is comfortable painting.
“1984” is acrylic, charcoal and wool yarn. Another of her works (pictured here) is spray paint and tape on wood.
Lopez does not place a label on herself as an artist, but she admires the work of artists like French Dadaist Marcel Duchamp. While in the U.S., she has toured many museums.
“So far, I have visited Miami, Charleston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia,” Lopez said. “I plan to spend 10 days in New York next semester.”
The award and the cash prize are pleasing to the young artist.
“I want to be a professional artist, but that is really hard,” Lopez said. “I’m showing my paintings in contests.
“If I keep winning, it might be possible,” she concluded.