January 21, 2009

Student Artist Spotlight: Weston Baker

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Weston Baker is a real one-man-band in the art world. An architecture major who recently exhibited a collection of paintings and collages at a Seattle gallery, Weston also designs t-shirts, hats and freelances in graphic design. His work is hip and urban—he prefers graffiti over oil paint, motorcycles and sky scrapers over landscapes. He is also an accomplished musician who lived in JAM his freshman year, but has moved on to serenading the occupants of Rand Hall (where he spends the majority of the time.) Contact Weston for a personalized t-shirt, a sweet promotional poster or an acoustic rendition of any Death Cab for Cutie song at: [email protected].

Sun: Weston, you recently had an exhibit in Seattle, what kind of works did you show?
Weston: My pieces were all collages of my photography and spray painted textures. I really like mixed media art and installations, so I used different images from urban areas and natural scenes and collaged them with pretty edgy textures, which kind of blend into the image.

Sun: A lot of the works seem to be images of the city, how Seattle has inspired you?
Weston: I think the urban/nature interest comes from growing up in Seattle, you have hills and water everywhere with views of the mountains and everything, but you’re still in a city. I think it’s that kind of attitude that I bring to the art.

Sun: Seattle’s home to a bunch of historic artists, right? Musicians too?
Weston: Oh yeah, Seattle has a huge history with all kinds of artists and musicians. A lot of musicians you wouldn’t even think of started and became famous in Seattle… Ray Charles and Quincy Jones played with my jazz band teacher for years, Floyd Standifer. I didn’t even know that until he died during spring of my freshman year.

Sun: That’s sweet… How does it feel to be an artist in Ithaca?
Weston: Oh yeah, it’s always really hard to get inspired when you’re packed with work, have a job and you’re trying to be in the social scene while studying architecture. But I’ve always been able to squeeze in my art desires wherever I can. I actually composed and digitally mixed all of the pieces for my show in class last semester, so you make it happen when you feel like it, you know?

Sun: Yeah, I know. You’ve involved your art with Cornell, right?
Weston: Yeah, I’ve done a lot of on-campus stuff. I’ve designed t-shirts and logos for different student organizations. I did the logo for “Into The Streets” last semester and did some new logos for Slope Media. Actually, I’ve been involved with a few different projects with Slope Radio and also some apartment logo designs for Student Agencies… which I still haven’t been paid for!, but it’s being taken care of. [laughs]

Sun: Speaking of getting paid, how often does your art pay off— literally?
Weston: Well I do this stuff just cause I like doing it, I didn’t even think of getting paid until I had people approach me to design a t-shirt or draw on a hat or shoes for them.

Sun: Ever wooed a girl with art?
Weston: Actually, art is a very good way to show your talents without being cocky. When I was in Spain for an internship during freshman year summer the majority of people I met was when they came up to me as I was sketching. So I’d show them my stuff and they’d wanna see more. And that kicks off all kinds of conversations with all kinds of people, it’s definitely an icebreaker.

Sun: Way to avoid the subject. As long as the girls you meet don’t read the Sun…
Weston: Well I have a girlfriend and she loves the art [that] I do. So I guess yeah you could say that it works pretty well.

Sun: Ok, got it. Anyway, where do you see your career as an artist going? In relationship with your education as an architect?
Weston: I think that the art I do and the inspiration I get from it is completely tied to my architectural design. I see myself as a designer… whether that’s doing completely crazy pen drawings or doing a graphic logo for a business card. I like doing it all and in the end I want to be designing real things for real people, not just the funky projects we do in school.

Sun: So can people contact you for a sweet t-shirt?
Weston: Yeah of course.
Sun: But not a date?
Weston: [laughs] No, not a date unfortunately, I’m pretty tied up right now in that department.

Related Content:
The Best of Cornell at the Student Arts Showcase.
Taking Hip-Hop Higher: Students Raise Awareness and Liven the Scene.