Student Feature: Natalie Rainer

February 28, 2013

by Joshua Kelly Published in The Tiger Newspaper

Plug in your dremel, decide on a pattern, and start to drill into a large plate of plexiglass, carving complex and intricate drawings. Next fill your design with some richly colored ink, line the plate up on some paper and run it through a hand-cranked press that weighs about ten times what you do. Or if the dremel isn’t your thing, put some water-downed ink on a plate and introduce an electrical charge to make the ink take on a life of its own. And of course you still get to run that through the thousand pound press. Still don’t know what you are making? How about art?

The process above describes, in very simple terms, how senior art student Natalie Rainer makes most of her works or art.

Welcome back to the column, and let me clarify something that was touched on in last week’s column; art awareness is certainly lacking in Clemson – but there is no shortage of art itself. In fact, the whole idea behind this column is to bring more attention to the opportunities to view the visual arts available to you as students as well as highlight artists that we have as part of our student body. To do this we will be launching a series of interviews with both undergrads and graduate students here in the Clemson Art Program. This week, I sat down with senior printmaker, Natalie Rainer, to get some insight into how she makes the work she does.

Perspective: First off, why did you come to Clemson to study art? How long have you been making art? Was it something that you got into in high school or just started here at college?

Natalie: I didn’t actually come to Clemson to study art. I thought that I was going to be studying biology, but I transferred into the art department my sophomore year. I think a school with a well established art program would be great, but too stuck in the art world for me. Clemson provides me with comfortable settings and I like the challenge of studying art at a southern school full of entrepreneurs.

P: What is your favorite part of the Clemson Art Program?

N: The faculty. Clemson has a number of professors that are well accredited and highly regarded. You would never know because they are such humble and genial people.

P: What is your concentration and what drew you to that?

N: I’m concentrating in printmaking. I have a love/hate relationship with printmaking. I love it because of its history and different processes. I like the democracy of it too. The strict attention to detail and rigid planning it requires kills me though. I’m naturally a disorganized and spur-of-the-moment kind of person.

P: What does your art focus on formally and conceptually?

N: Formally I work either very expressively and intuitively or in a tight, controlled manner. I think a lot about process and how my work process is affected by chance and intention, disorder and order, as well as emptiness and structure. Conceptually I get a lot of inspiration from nature and science, as well as myth. Myths generally serve to contrive understanding of the world around us and all that’s in it. I rely on a sense of adventure and discovery to create otherworldly terrain as well as totems of life and land through the lens of my own mythology.

P: Are you currently showing work anywhere?

N: I currently have work on display in the Acorn Gallery. The show, Liminal Spaces, exhibits the work of grad students and undergrads from last semester’s print exchange.
I’ll also have valentines day cards for sale the week of Valentines Day! Every year, Clemson’s print shop produces Valentines cards and sells them at a really good price. Some of them are really funny and they are all handmade. You should check it out Monday Feb. 11 and Tuesday Feb. 12 in the Hendrix Center from 10-3.