After classes have finished for the day, Keene State College senior Athena Nathan is often thinking of her next work of art on Sunset Rock overlooking the city of Keene. Nathan remarked that Sunset Rock is a great location “to get your mind off of everything, feel more zen and to get some art inspiration.”

A New York native, Nathan is a dual major in studio art and graphic design.

Last semester, Nathan had the unique opportunity to study art abroad in Italy. This experience  was the “biggest challenge” of her college career. She said, “Going to a whole different country, you have to experience new life and learn to live like they do for four months.” While the trip to Italy was demanding, Nathan said “It was a great challenge, and I faced my fears.”

Nathan said the trip to Italy had a significant impact on her art. “You meet so many local artists who are so welcoming and willing to help,” Nathan said. “I’ve had artists teach me how to do all different types of art and new techniques. Street artists offered me the opportunity to draw next to them.”

While in Italy, Nathan also “visited local art galleries and talked to the actual artists from the galleries who explained their art and materials.” Nathan was amazed to see the difference in how the local Italian artists created their works. She said that watching “how they paint or even hold a pencil could be different.”

Tim Smith / Photo Editor

Tim Smith / Photo Editor

James Harvard, a senior at KSC, has known Nathan throughout all four years of college. He said that Nathan “works across all mediums of art and has a very specific style with a new, fresh design.”

Harvard praised Nathan’s artistic abilities saying that she “is an artist who excels at anything she wants to excel at, broadly across whole spectrum of art mediums.”

KSC Senior Steph Giang said that studying abroad can really open a student’s eyes, regardless of their major. Giang said while she was Italy, her roommate was an art major and witnessing her develop with her art changed her perspective on art.

“I realized that other majors, even the non-traditional ones are hard and have to put in a lot of effort as well,” she said. Giang said seeing her roommate complete projects helped her appreciate the work put into them. She continued, “I’m a psychology major so it’s interesting to see what did the person intend, what do they want others to get out of it?”

Nathan said that she is mainly interested in creating abstract art. She said that the quote, “art for art’s sake,” defines her perspective on her artistic projects. Nathan said she is inspired by the avant-garde art scene and the Modernist art movement. She said she is also influenced by the work of Terry Winters, Joan Mitchell and Mr. Brainwash. Salvador Dali is her “favorite artist of all time.” Nathan said her primary art medium is mixed media. She remarked that she also creates pieces with paints and charcoal. Last semester, one of her monotypes was showcased at The Works Cafe in downtown Keene.

Tim Smith / Photo Editor

Tim Smith / Photo Editor

KSC senior Angelo Virone said for himself personally he enjoys landscape artwork. However, he said in regards to abstract art, “If it’s coming from a place within that person, it’s more meaningful.”  Virone said that going to school for art can open up the door to many jobs. “There’s beauty, design, being an art teacher. It’s a good foundation,” he said.

KSC senior Cameron Cummings said that he used to be a music major but then was concerned he wouldn’t be able to find a job. “[Art is] a hard way to make money,” he said. Cummings said that for some it could work if they really have the skills. He said that he would guess it takes a lot of work as well. “It could take a while [to complete a project], but it depends on the talent,” he said.

After she graduates from Keene State College, Nathan hopes to “find a successful job with [her] major, specifically with graphic design.” A profession as a package designer also interests her.

To incoming first-year students, Nathan emphasizes to pursue “a major that you love and enjoy because you are going to be doing it for four years and possibly for the rest of your life.” Nathan advised that while college is stressful, this is the “time to push yourself.”

Ethan Chalmers can be contacted at

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