Photography professor is example to all

December 20, 2007

by Elizabeth Degrie

Art professors are required to keep their hand in the workforce, always developing their craft and furthering their personal careers.

Throughout the month of November, Frank Hamrick, a professor of photography, participated in an exhibition in Portland, Ore.

“There was an open call for entries for this show called ‘Printmaking Currents 2007,'” Hamrick said.

While posters are not Hamrick’s usual venue, he said it is a good way to express ideas that photography can not always convey. The work that was featured in the show is a poster featuring the quote, “All the fun in the world is a light switch away…you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s too late.”

Hamrick said, “Sometimes words capture it better.”

Hamrick made this print while working for a letterpress for three weeks over the summer in Nashville, Tenn.

“I started out doing work for them,” Hamrick said. “Then I made two different posters for myself.”

Hamrick said the posters are all hand-made designs, which create a very different feel from the mass-produced ones.

“The hand-made design is more commonly 19th century than 20th,” Hamrick said. “It’s very time consuming, but you get a certain look and feel that’s very hard to mimic.”

He said he took this quote from a conversation with a colleague at Georgia State University. Hamrick also said his colleague had recently ended a marriage and was in a stage of his life where he brought home various women from bars each night.
Hamrick said he believed the quote meant one thing to his colleague, but it meant something different to him. His design, with the first half of the quote bigger and the second seemingly tacked on at the end, is carefully constructed.

“It’s like a barker at a carnival,” Hamrick said. “The realization doesn’t come until afterwards.”

Hamrick said this particular work will probably be shown in the faculty art show, which begins Jan. 15, and then it will continue on to a Valentine’s Day exhibition at Northern Kentucky University – Highland Heights.

Hamrick said he hopes to see students benefit from this experience, by sending a few to do internships at the print shops.

“We do not have a letter press facility,” Hamrick said. “I’ve already written a recommendation. I want students to have that sort of experience. To successfully blend the creative and business worlds together, that’s a good thing to put in front of our students.”

Jonathan Donehoo, director of the School of Art, said professors’ work being on display helps encourage students.

“All faculty are expected to maintain professional and creative,” Donehoo said. “It’s hard to get a student to do this if we’re not.”

Donehoo said Hamrick is particularly good at encouraging his students beyond just being a good example.

“He has a way of pushing students into becoming active in exhibitions,” Donehoo said. “Students have a tendency to think their work is not worthy. He shoves them and they realize their work is really quite good.”

Jennifer Robison, a senior photography major, said she thought it was great that professors such as Hamrick participate in shows around the country.

“Students wouldn’t know how to get their work seen without them doing it first,” Robison said.

Robison said she started her education 11 years ago, but did not finish. She said she was not really into it until Hamrick encouraged her.

“Frank is a really interesting person,” Robison said. “I would not be pushing myself as much as I do.”

Robison said Hamrick has encouraged her to make the most of her education.

“He makes a really big difference,” Robison said. “He’s made me interested in learning the things I should have learned a long time ago.”