When you walk into Penn State Schuylkill’s Classroom Building, you expect to see classrooms and computers, technology and biology labs. What you would not expect to see is an art studio. However, that is exactly what you see walking into C-206. Lining the wall, you will find current student projects involving color theory and international symbols, including peace signs and the Deathly Hallows symbol from the Harry Potter series.
This is the domain of Robert Stickloon, instructor in art at Penn State Schuylkill. He teaches two to four art classes per semester, demonstrating to students the basics of art, design and color. When describing his favorite aspect of teaching at Penn State, he said, “Like every artist, it’s kind of a lonely existence in your studio all day, so coming to class is like a little social event, a little human interaction.”
The similarities between the life of an artist and the life of a student are actually strikingly similar. And as midterm season approaches, Stickloon has his own project coming up. From October 19 to November 16, the Freyberger Gallery in the Penn State Berks Perkins Student Center will host a variety of Stickloon’s work.
His drawings and paintings—many of which will be displayed at the exhibit— include subjects such as seed packets, flowers, shirts, cutouts and grocery store icons. He explained, “They’re usually things that are very familiar and just around the house, things out of pop culture. I wouldn’t say they are strictly pop art, though. My style is more a traditional painting technique.”
Stickloon hopes that this gallery exhibit will reflect his growth in the last 35 years since earning his master’s in fine art. He is even considering including some pieces from his thesis show into the gallery. Stickloon notes that many undergraduate students worry about developing a style. “Even when you finish graduate school, it’s not your mature style. I don’t paint anything now like I did when I was in grad school. As an undergraduate, you’re learning how to paint; as a graduate student, you learn how to be an artist.”
“You don’t have to be an art major to appreciate or produce art,” Stickloon explained. In his classroom, students learn important lessons that can be applied to daily life. For example, he described how color harmonies can be applied when designing an apartment or selecting an outfit in the morning.
Stickloon also mentioned that the hard work that goes into an art project can translate to other projects in life. He said that managing art projects from conceptualization to completion can assist young professionals prepare compelling presentations. He also hopes that his students gain an appreciation for art and the artistic process. He explained, “When you graduate from Penn State Schuylkill, you’re going to be doing things that you didn’t do before. You graduated from college. You’re most likely going to take in art exhibitions, galleries, museums and so forth. You will now have a better appreciation for what you are looking at, and you’ll know what goes into it."
Down the road, when his students look at a drawing or painting, he hopes they remember when they were creating similar work. Stickloon believes that this memory will give his students a better appreciation for the time and effort that goes into works of art.
To view his work in person, visit his exhibit at the Freyberger Gallery. The exhibit is open Oct. 19 to Nov. 16. Operating hours are: Mon.-Fri., 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thur. 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., noon to 4:00 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the gallery's website, or contact the gallery director, Marilyn Fox, at [email protected].