Art education student takes first place for painting


Junior Tori LoPresto, who recently won first place in an art show in Georgia, works on a school pottery project in the Fine Arts Center.

Tiffany Roper, Staff Writer

An image of a woman swimming in gummy bears and pills with balloons and a bird flying toward a thumbtack overhead earned Tori LoPresto, junior and art education major, first place in the Peach Belt Conference Art Show in Columbus, Ga.

“I was really ecstatic,” LoPresto said. “I was in New York for the National Art Education Convention, and I got the email on my phone, and I was so surprised because I’ve never entered anything or won anything before.”

LoPresto entered her 22 x 20 oil on canvas in the contest after Associate Professor of Visual Arts Steven  Gately encouraged her to. The work, titled “Swimming with Temptation,” caught the eye of several people at the art exhibit that was held at the beginning of March.

“It was for my painting class last spring,” LoPresto said. “I saw the gummy bears and the pills in the magazine article and thought they were pretty, so I cut them all out and made a collage.”

LoPresto said that she did not have any intentions for her painting to represent anything, but other people have drawn their own interpretations of the work.

“Some people believe that the woman is drowning, or that the temptation is drugs or candy,” LoPresto said. “Others see the balloons and the bird with the thumbtack and think that it is going to burst her bubble.”

LoPresto started drawing and painting at a young age, and as she continued to do so, she realized that it is her passion.

“It was sort of second nature to me when I was three and four years old,” LoPresto said. “I started drawing and I taught myself to paint.”

LoPresto said that she finds drawing and painting to be what is most relaxing to her. She also said that she enjoys finding something as inspiration that she can work off of and for the creativity to flow out of her.

“I just get a lot of satisfaction out of the process; it’s kind of therapeutic,” LoPresto said. “As an artist, I’m never completely satis-fied with what I make, but I do get satisfaction out of the process. I get in the zone. I have days when I feel like I can’t paint and then those days when I’m triggered to do it, and I can paint for hours.”

After receiving her degree in art education, LoPresto plans on continuing her education and getting her master’s in art management and getting involved with an art museum or gallery.