February Student Artist of the Month

February Student Artist of the Month: Kolt Sizer

by Kate Luce

“For me, art gives you a chance to have a voice. It’s something we definitely take for granted. Society is changing. Everyone has a voice, but can you actually portray something that is going to change the way that people think,” says Kolt Lucius Sizer, BFA in painting and drawing and sculpting minor. 

This question of art and society is what drives Sizer to create and come to IU South Bend. His ever changing style and philosophical viewpoints on art makes his work recognizable to faculty and students. Throughout his time at IU South Bend, his style has turned away from tight and refined to something that is freer with loose brush strokes, textural elements, and pure experimentation. The new look “makes him happy.” 

“When I came [here] my work was definitely much more illustrative. I focus on creating cool things. So, then I took all my classes. I’m to the point to where I am in the studio. I’m driven. I’m ready, and I was like ‘Ron [Monsma], I’m going to do all these traditional pieces.’ And he said ‘I don’t think you are a baroque artist. I think you should explore.’ Now my work is much more different than I imagined. It’s concept driven. It’s emotional, and it’s kind of introspective,” Sizer says. 

 His driving force is for his work to have its own voice. The majority of his work revolves around taboos and how society perceives things. The work is interactive since perspective changes from person to person. The meaning of his work is not an absolute, but the viewer can decide what it means to him or her. 

“I focus on points in our life. Some of the mundane tasks such as, in the studio, I have a piece where someone is folding clothes. It’s a task that we all do and take for granted. It’s a point in time. We all spend so much time doing laundry, especially in my house. That is an experience for me because I bought a house. Now I have to work to pay my mortgage, but I’m still a student. When I get home from work and school and I’m tired, I still have to fold laundry.” Sizer says, “It’s something that I feel like we take for granted, but it’s societal. It’s meant to illicit a response from the viewer. Whether that response is emotional or just them thinking more about the work.” 

Sizer had his start in world of art as a tattoo apprentice. After spending a year as an apprentice, he came to IU South Bend to improve his work. Once he took a few fundamental classes, it was clear that art was much more than a job. It was now a passion. 

At IU South Bend, he discovered his love of painting. It definitely did not come easy for him. When he first took the painting class, he struggled with figuring out the medium. 

“My first painting is hanging up in my house, and it is god-awful,” he laughs, “I remember being so frustrated with this painting that I couldn’t stand it. I would leave the room like ‘what is painting?’ ‘Why is this so difficult?’” 

Through finding his own style, he has been able to produce work that he is truly proud about. Now, he creates large, concept driven work that brings light to the mundane.  

After four years of starting his journey, Sizer is one semester away from completing his BFA. He has no set plans on going back to tattooing, but rather he wants to work with troubled children and teens in correctional facilities. He would be happy to give them the power of art he wish he had known about at that age. 

“I think it would be cool to see if I can find some work with the juvenile facility as a way to show other people how to express themselves. I got in trouble when I was younger, and I think all the time about what if I had a way of expressing myself then. I didn’t start making art until five years ago. I never really explored it,” Sizer says. “I would get a lot out of that.” 

Of course, Sizer is certain about receiving his MFA not to teach, but only improve more as an artist.  

 “I’m going to take a year or two [off of school]. My goal is to just make art and really explore making art without instruction and see where I go. See things differently. I want to do more shows and show more people. It’s very exciting, I just want to make work,” Sizer says.  

As of now, Sizer is volunteering with the South Bend Museum of Art and helping to working with them on the Scholastic Arts Awards. This will be his second year doing this. Sizer finds it important to stay involved in the community as an artist. It is not just his voice that can be heard. He wants others to be inspired to express themselves through art.  

Spending hours in his studio is typical for him. Working on several piece at a time is also typical. For Sizer, giving his all is what it means to be an artist. By the time he graduates, the seriousness that drives him as an artist is not going anywhere by any means. To him, all that matters is that his voice is present. 

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