Student says art speaks louder than words

Alyse Nelson
Assistant Features Editor

Among the various sculptures, drying pottery and sprouting foliage that constitute the Malone courtyard, Jamall Holmes, a senior fine arts major from LaFayette, sits quietly in the middle.
He considers each question before answering it, focusing his eyes upward as he thinks.
Often Holmes adds to or amends the answer he gives, ensuring that it is exactly what he wants to be recorded.
When he has difficulty explaining the process of creating a monoprint, the medium that he is currently focusing on, he offers to give a tour of the printmaking room to demonstrate the process.
This, Holmes explains, is one of the things that has always drawn him to art.
“It’s a way of expressing yourself that words can’t really do,” he said. “It’s a visual thing that someone can see and hopefully understand how I feel through my art.”
Naturally talented in the field, Holmes has always held interest in creating things.
“I think art stood me apart from everybody else. I always drew—I’ve always been good at it,” he said.
Holmes took this heavily into consideration as he chose his college several years ago.
“Troy was the best option for art in Alabama and the region I was in,” Holmes said. “I was close to Auburn but I didn’t want to stay in the area. It was a good fit for the distance and the art department is nice. I did my research.”
Now a graduating senior, Holmes has grown as an artist and has come to appreciate his years spent at Troy and in the art department.
When discussing his favorite artists, Holmes simply said, “My professors here. I think each one of them were key in my development as an artist. I guess I would say Greg Skaggs, Russell Everett, Larry Percy and Pam Allen.”
With experience in graphite pencil, Prismacolor pencil, oil paint and printmaking ink, he is currently working on his senior thesis.
“I’m pretty focused on senior thesis. It takes most of my time,” Holmes said.
Going into further detail, Holmes said, “It’s going to be a series of four monoprints. Monoprints are prints where there’s only one in the series – there’s not another print like it.”
Walking into the printmaking room, it is difficult to hear Holmes, as various machines operated by other art students buzz in the background.
He moves a few large pieces, searching shelves and shuffling papers until he finds one of his monoprints.
A black and white portrait, it probably did not take as long as some of his larger pieces.
These prints are made by spraying ink onto a sheet of Plexiglas in whatever shape or design desired, then putting the Plexiglas on paper and running it through the press and finally, transferring the image to the paper.
As the complexity of the piece is increased with more colors and layers, it can go through the press many times before Holmes considers it complete.
Of the work he has been doing lately, Holmes said, “The full process takes three or four days.”
He enjoys the act of creating just as much as the outcome, if not more so.
“I don’t grow too attached to pieces. I do it for the moment and then I’m looking to have the next one. I can’t really say I have a favorite,” he said of his artwork.
He has gained recognition for his work outside of Troy as well.
“Last year the school entered my piece in a nationwide art competition held by Creative Quarterly. I got published on the website,” Holmes said.
Hoping to continue his success, Holmes has many plans for the future.
“I’m actually trying to get into graduate school,” Holmes said.
Hoping to get into the University of Georgia, Holmes wants to pursue his Master of Fine Arts.
In the end, though, Holmes would like to pay homage to those that have inspired him.
“I actually would like to be a professor. I would do the whole artist thing but as a goal, I would like to be an art professor and inspire other minds.”

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