Student pursues lifelong artistic passion

COURTESY // Sophia Larsen

Most young children don’t have a clear idea of what they want to do when they grow up. If they do, their plans for the future rarely reflect what they actually end up doing. There are however, the occasional people who discover their passion at a young age and actively pursue it all the way into adulthood. Sonoma State University student Sophia Larsen was one such child.
Larsen is a fourth-year art studio major and she has known about her love for art since her youth.
“I’ve been doing art since I was really little. I remember being in elementary school and making art in class,” said Larsen. “One time, my teacher asked, ‘Do you want to do art when you grow up?’ and I said, ‘I can do that?’”
Larsen partially attributes her passion for art to the way that she was raised. She went to a Montessori elementary school that helped foster her creativity. In addition to attending a school that focused on art, both of Larsen’s parents are artists. Her dad has a master’s degree in ceramics, and her mom studied ceramics as well. Because of this, Larsen has always had encouragement in her creative endeavors.
Not only did Larsen’s unique childhood contribute to her general interest in art, but it also served as an inspiration for the works that she’s creating today.
“I’ve been making a lot of art right now that’s reflecting on my childhood which is an easy subject to delve into,” said Larsen. “I feel like I had a really interesting childhood.”
The pieces that Larsen is making today are primarily etchings and lithographs.
“I’ve always drawn with pens, but now I’m a printmaker, so I draw using a needle,” said Larsen. “There’s no way to shade per-se. It’s all about line work and line weight. With etching and lithographs, you can achieve an aesthetic with that you can’t get with anything else. The vocabulary of mark making is very specific.”
When looking at her work, it’s easy to understand the unique aesthetic she is talking about.
Larsen’s art is characterized by detailed line work, hatched shading and pronounced textures. Her more recent work deals with themes of gender identity, childhood and gluttony. She talked about how she is doing a series about tools and how the socially imposed concept of masculinity associates tools with manliness.
On the other hand, she has a series called “Girlhood” which focuses on portraits, flowers and vehicles. The final series that Larsen is currently working on is titled “Gluttony.” As the title suggests, this series deals with gluttonous, hedonistic and promiscuous behavior. One of the works titled “Date Night Essentials” features a hamburger, french fries and a large phallus. Another titled “Saturday Mornings” has a plate of food, a fork, a glass of water and a gag or muzzle that connotes some sort of erotic BDSM. Larsen seems to be working with the juxtaposition between food and sexual deviancy for this series.
“On a personal level, I get a lot of gratification just from making things. I really like cooking and sewing and anything when I get to make something,” said Larsen. “Also, I’d like to encourage a creative environment because I think society needs creative people in it.”

COURTESY // Sophia Larsen