2023 A.F.A. in Art Exhibition at Gallery 120

Three upcoming graduates showcase their artwork on campus

Three artists, Evita Ekladious, Devon Ba Dour, and Jennifer LaBounty, are graduating from Inver Hills Community College this year with the Transfer Pathway Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.) in Art. Evita, Devon, and Jennifer are showing their artwork in the annual A.F.A. in Art Exhibition in Gallery 120 in the Fine Arts building on the college’s campus in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

The Transfer Pathway A.F.A. in Art is a pre-professional degree that’s ideal if you plan on transferring to a four-year school to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in an art-related major. Completing your A.F.A. in Art at Inver Hills not only gives you valuable experience learning from established artists, but also allows you to start earning your B.F.A. or B.A. with junior-year status.

Completing your Transfer Pathway A.F.A. in Art gives you the power, proficiencies, techniques, and know-how to find your niche as a creative professional in a wildly imaginative artistic universe where people produce, commission, present, preserve, promote, chronicle, evaluate, buy, and sell fine art.

WHAT: 2023 A.F.A in Art Exhibition

WHO: Upcoming A.F.A. Graduates
Evita Ekladious
Devon Ba Dour
Jennifer LaBounty

WHEN: Now thru May 10, 2023

WHERE: Gallery 120

Fine Arts Building
Inver Hills Community College
2500 80th Street East
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55076
General: 651-450-3000
Gallery: 651-450-3101

Evita Ekladious

Evita Ekladious

A.F.A. Exhibition Artist
Gallery 120
Inver Hills Community College

Age: 18
Hometown: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Current residence: Eagan, Minnesota
Eagan High School Class of 2022
Major and degree earning at Inver Hills: Transfer Pathway A.F.A. in Art
Eagan Foundation Scholarship recipient
Inver Hills graduation date: Summer 2023
Education plans after Inver Hills: Bachelor’s degree in physiology and then dental school
Career plans: Dentistry and specialize in maxillofacial surgery
Pastimes and hobbies: Painting, reading, and playing tennis
Family (including pets): Mom, dad, and a younger sister; used to have a pet bunny

Three words that describe you as an artist:

Evita Ekladious Q & A

What do you love most about painting?

What I love most about painting is that it enables artists to freely express themselves with every brush stroke. Although some might say that this is difficult to do when working with realism, it is actually far from that. Every brush stroke that is laid down on a canvas says something about every individual. Thick brush strokes signify boldness, and thin brush strokes signify softness, etc.

What are the biggest challenges and rewards of working in the realism and hyperrealism painting styles?

The biggest challenge when working with realism and surrealism would definitely be getting the right values in. An artist could have the greatest ability to color match, however if the values are not pushed correctly it throws the whole painting off. Nonetheless, the rewards when working with this form of art, is at the very end; when the whole piece comes together and you begin to add those finishing details that just tie the whole piece together.

What advice would you give students thinking about taking art courses at Inver Hills?

I think every student should take at least one art class. Inver Hills has a great variety of art classes fit for everyone’s style and preferences. Every class serves a new experience and opens a whole new path for creativity, and it can help one discover new interests they didn’t know they had before.

Where do you hope to find yourself as an artist in 20 years?

Twenty years from now, I hope to find myself having my own personal studio and taking commissions and making art my long-term career.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Evita Ekladious Artist Statement

I am Evita Ekladious, an oil painter and a sculptor. In my work, I try to establish a sense of reality within each piece that engages one’s senses. Using realism and hyperrealism, my work is meant to attract the viewer into imagining themselves within the piece. Growing up in the Caribbean has greatly impacted the role that nature plays in framing who I am and what I love. Thus, most of my inspiration originates from nature and 17th century art (which was the highlight of Baroque and Netherlandish art).

I quickly grew fascinated with artists such as Caravaggio and Rembrandt’s ability to capture the essence of moments of life around us using light and shadow to enforce drama. I have been able to embrace these great masters’
techniques into my own paintings, such as The Bronze Pot.

Oftentimes, we wish time could stop in order for us to enjoy certain moments forever. My art is the embodiment of that feeling. I believe that we are so small compared to the rest of our world; it is just not easy to comprehend sometimes. We disregard how much beauty is in our world. This is why making realistic art is important to me. I take reality and portray it on a canvas or a sculpture, in hope that people might become inspired to notice
the smaller details that make their personal lives, and our world so remarkable.

Evita Ekladious artwork gallery

Devon Ba Dour

Devon Ba Dour

A.F.A. Exhibition Artist
Gallery 120
Inver Hills Community College

Age: 20
Hometown: Rosemount, Minnesota
Current residence: St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Rosemout High School Class of 2021
Major and degree earning at Inver Hills: Transfer Pathway A.F.A. in Art
Inver Hills graduation date: Summer 2023
Education plans after Inver Hills: University of Minnesota fall 2023
Career plans: Hoping to go into graphic design as a career; not specifically sure which kind of graphic design, but will decide as he learns more about graphic design
Works 32 hours a week as crew member at Trader Joe’s
Pastimes and hobbies: Enjoys playing guitar, spending time with his cats, watching movies, as well as collecting trinkets and many different kinds of collectibles

Three words that describe you as an artist:

Devon Ba Dour Q & A

Who are your greatest artistic influences?

I really don’t think I have a certified influence when it comes to my art; I just kind of think of an interesting setting or character in my mind and try my best to tell a story when presenting my pieces.

I think the closest I could say when it comes to an influence for me is cartoons and anime. The more brash and uncommon design work helps me to try and expand my design work.

Where do you find your strongest inspiration?

I find my strongest inspiration at erratic moments; sometimes I am working on a piece when I suddenly get a strong idea or sometimes it’s when I’m listening to my teacher in class and a random idea comes to mind. I like to work on my art in a quiet and empty space, somewhere I can think clearly and have less distractions around me.

What advice would you give students thinking about taking art courses at Inver Hills?

I would say really be open to experimenting and gaining new perspectives. I came into Inver Hills with not a lot of experience in the art field outside of drawing. I learned how to paint, sculpt, woodwork, and conceptualize my art; it really opened up my eyes into who I am and how I want to express myself as an individual.

I would also be open to criticism; most people are protective of the art they work hard on, but I also believe its important to gain new ideas or perspectives from your teacher or your peers.

Where do you hope to find yourself as an artist in 20 years?

I hope to work in graphic design in my later years, I would especially love to work with the LEGO company as a graphic designer or maybe even a product designer. I find LEGO a key part of stretching my creativity in a unique medium, it challenges me and pushes me, and I want to make that a more important part of my life. I want to be someone I can look forward to being in the future and make art to further express who I am.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Devon Ba Dour Artist Statement

I am an imaginative artist who mainly specializes in many different mediums such as painting, ceramics, and wood. With my art, I strive to address the ideas of human connection and different plains of emotions and connect the viewer to said emotions.

Most of my pieces focus on the human figure and how we can transform it to feel more neutral or amorphic. I believe my art should give the viewer a window into an artist’s mind and let it reflect onto themselves. The human mind can be difficult to explain, so I find art to be the most effective way to portray my emotions and thoughts to others.

My creative process involves exploring many different mediums, techniques, and ranges of colors to try and push my art as well as furthering myself as an artist. My favorite concept to explore is color. I find it a key component in expressing the senses art can provide. Strong and intense colors are commonly seen in my art to give a sense of intensive energy.

I regard art as a form of connection between artists and viewers, giving each other new perspectives and hopefully new emotions to explore. My goal as an artist is to push myself as a creator, keep exploring new processes as I work; I hope to connect with more people as I continue creating art.

Devon Ba Dour artwork gallery

Jennifer LaBounty

Jennifer LaBounty

A.F.A. Exhibition Artist
Gallery 120
Inver Hills Community College

Age: 22
Hometown:  Apple Valley, Minnesota
Current residence: Apple Valley, Minnesota
School of Environmental Studies Class of 2019
Major and degree earning at Inver Hills: Transfer Pathway A.F.A. in Art
Extracurricular activities and clubs at Inver Hills: LGBT+ Club, Student Life
Inver Hills graduation date: May 2023
Education plans after Inver Hills: Probably University of Minnesota Duluth
Career plans: Like to make and sell art along with perhaps teaching art as a career; still open to figuring out what she wants to do careerwise
Works at Inver Student Life about 20 hours a week; used to work in in the Inver Art department as well
Pastimes and hobbies: Music, writing music, video games, trying various art forms
Family (including pets): Mom, dad, stepdad, stepmom, two dogs, two cats, Gus and Daisy, Oscar and Goldie.

Three words that describe you as an artist:

Jennifer LaBounty Q & A

What is your favorite part of the artistic process?

My favorite part of the artistic process is creating something that helps me express myself. I enjoy going into a project and creating something that comes from my subconscious.

How do you define your success as an artist?

I’m not sure, but I am proud of the work I’ve done at Inver. I led a project to create a large mural for the Prism Center of Gender and Sexuality that I’m quite proud of.

What advice would you give students thinking about taking art courses at Inver Hills?

I would tell other students that Inver is a great place to explore many types of art and the best thing you can do is be open to trying new techniques and taking the advice of the instructors at Inver.

Where do you hope to find yourself as an artist in 20 years?

I hope to see myself as someone who is financially stable and has created a large amount of work that I am proud of. I hope to explore specific topics and have the opportunity to put my work on display for as many people as possible.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Jennifer LaBounty Artist Statement

My name is Jennifer LaBounty. I’m an artist who uses a variety of mediums with a focus on ceramics and sculpture. My inspirations include the other artists in my family, including my grandpa who made pottery and taught art. He inspired and encouraged my love of ceramics from a very early age.

My ceramics tend to use color palettes of earthy tones, or bright pastel blues and pinks. I enjoy using multiple mediums and mixing styles to create art that is as expressive as possible. I am currently striving to create art that reflects myself and helps me heal.

My art is always authentic; I take lots of inspiration from my own self, my feelings, thoughts, memories, hopes, and ideas. As someone who is chronically ill, expressing myself through art is one of the best ways for me to vent my frustrations. I see art as an important part of my personal therapy; I don’t just want to make art, I need to make art.

Abstract art is one of my main focuses and inspirations. The reason I take inspiration from abstract art specifically is because I view it as a powerful tool of self-expression. I’ve always used art as a way to heal and grow. My hope is that I will continue to do this as an artist throughout my life, and hopefully make art that inspires others the way it inspires me.

Jennifer LaBounty artwork gallery

Learn more about the A.F.A. in Art Exhibition at Gallery 120 by contacting:

Jay Jensen
Ceramics Faculty
Gallery Curator and Coordinator
Gallery 120 on Facebook
Gallery 120 Online

Learn more about the Transfer Pathway A.F.A. in Art at Inver Hills by contacting:

Rob Kolomyski
Painting and Drawing Faculty

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