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Within each work of art, there are eyes behind the canvas; a story within each stroke. Last week I sat down with Florida State University student April Meade to discuss her story behind the canvas. April Meade is a student, an Asian-American woman, a Jacksonville resident, a friend, a daughter and an artist. Meade finds therapy as she continues to create and notes how the commencement of her relationship with art was founded when she was little as her dad allowed her and her sister to “draw on the wall of my room after an incident with his beloved dictionary. This allowed my creativity to begin; as a child, I did not feel confined, and felt like my art was limitless.” 

Ever since that moment, Meade knew that she found comfort inside of sketchbooks.  She dreamed of creating the art you see “in museums, even if it is a lofty goal, it is what I imagine.” As Meade grew, her passion for art was clouded by all of her growing responsibilities. However, as she started her collegiate journey, her “love for art was reinstated” as she met friends who inspire her to create. Meade notes that she grabs inspiration “from my daily life, as I let the medium speak to me as I bring its idea into life.” This way of thought led her to create the piece “Laciate Ogni Speranza,” a piece that was published in issue 67 of The Kudzu Review

“Laciate Ogni Speranza” revolves around Dante’s Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is the first part of the 14th-century epic Italian poem made by writer Dante Alighieri, in which he described Dante’s journey through Hell. As she struggled to find her place in the painting, Meade got “lost within the colors, as working with the colors did not create the vibrancy envisioned within (her) mind.” As she finally got the hang of it, Meade now creates beautiful pieces while painting.

In Meade’s piece “Laciate Ogni Speranza,” a divine figure is stepping out from the darkness, and she says “the prompt was to create your rendition of the entrance to hell; all I could see was a divine being luring one into the entrance, similar to how your vices lure you into evil.” The dark colors within “Laciate Ogni Speranza” display Hell itself while the juxtaposition of the divine being is seen with a halo over its head as if the being is still divine despite its now evil nature. Additionally, the words that are seen at the foot are translated from Italian as being “Abandon All Hope.” This stems from the longer quote found in “Dante’s Inferno,” which symbolizes what Dante finds inscribed at the entrance to Hell. Art and literature complement each other to allow Meade to create meaning within the canvas. As Meade continues to create, she is driven by the beauty within her own life and motivated by where the future will lead her. 

Meade’s artistic journey is shaped by whatever life throws at her. She says, “If I get published anywhere else, hey, I won’t say no.” Meade is also exploring the possibilities of making art for video games and having creative power within the field. All that is certain is that Meade loves to create, her passion elevates her advocating for the importance of everyone having an expressive outlet for one’s emotions. The eyes behind the canvas: April Meade! 

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Hellooooo, My name is Solymar Estrella and this is my second semester at FSU. I am studying Editing, Writing, and Media, I still don't know my minor yet. I am from sunny Sarasota, Florida, and enjoy writing, watching movies, and listening to music. I am an Aries with a Scorpio moon so I guess you could say I look like I would kill you, but I am a cinnamon roll!
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