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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Tapestries of Texas

Danika+Ostrowski+enjoys+the+quiet+and+solitude+in+places+like+West+Texas+and+Big+Bend%26%23160%3B
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Danika Ostrowski enjoys the quiet and solitude in places like West Texas and Big Bend 

The newest exhibition in Downtown Bryan’s SEAD Gallery will feature Texas landscape-inspired paintings by Danika Ostrowski, Class of 2015. Her exhibit, set to open Sept. 3, consists of desert environments painted in bold colors reminiscent of quintessential Texas scenes. The Battalion life and arts reporter Olivia Knight spoke with Ostrowski about the Texas landscape that inspires her work.

THE BATTALION: Where and what do you draw your inspiration from?

Ostrowski: Most recently I’m working on a series of landscapes. I did a bunch of travelling around Texas, going to all the small towns, and getting inspiration from all the small places. They say “everything’s bigger in Texas,” but I like to go to all the lesser known places. Then I ended up out at Big Bend, so the show is actually going to be all landscapes from the Big Bend area of Texas. Every time I’m out there, I’m in awe of how gorgeous it is, so my work attempts to capture that and share it with others. 

I haven’t always done landscapes. Where I gain my inspiration is from daily observations and things that fascinate me. I’d say a lot of creative people have the same experience that there are certain things that you just need, and you have this energy within you built up that just makes you feel like, “I have to paint that,” and other creative people can come up with different ways of manifesting that. I think that the whole traveling around Texas started from the weekends when I was driving across the state, and I would spend a lot of time sitting in a car looking out at all the different landscapes as they change throughout the state. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when I felt like I had to paint them, it’s just something that happens intuitively.

THE BATTALION: I’ve noticed in most of your landscape paintings you use contrasting colors to make certain features pop. What draws you to this technique?

Ostrowski: One of the things I really focus on in some of my pieces is color. One of the things I notice when I’m out in Big Bend, surrounded by the landscapes, is how vivid the colors are. It’s striking and unbelievable how intense the colors of the rock formations and the plants can be, so I try to exaggerate that and use a little bit of abstraction to accentuate all of the different colors and how vibrant everything can be.

THE BATTALION: Is there a certain message or idea that you want your audience to perceive from these landscape paintings?

Ostrowski: Yeah, so the show is called “Lively Desert.” The idea is that the whole area is known to be this barren desert, super harsh environment, but when you’re out there, you really feel as if it’s alive. 

There’s so much character and history that you can see from geological forms, and there’s a lot more to it than just the desert. It’s bringing out the beauty in the desert, a barren and untouched-by-humans environment. 

I’m trying to convey how the beauty of Earth and what that area of Texas has to offer and how special it is. One of the interesting things in that area is all the landforms changing a lot. So you have the really intense mountains, but you have the really fascinating forms to them.

There’s also the vast desert plains that are very flat and very dry, but then it’s interesting seeing as you move up in elevation the different changes that happen. 

It’s not just aesthetics — there’s also the overall feeling that I get being there. West Texas and Big Bend are some of my favorite places. 

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  • Danika Ostrowski enjoys the quiet and solitude in places like West Texas and Big Bend 

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