At Adelphi University, good faculty defines a positive college experience and has great impact on students’ lives. That’s just what Brittany Baldwin ’13 discovered when she enrolled. A visual artist who found her artistic direction with the help of the Department of Art and Art History, she has found success after success in the years since her graduation.
Baldwin draws inspiration from graffiti and street art. Her large abstract paintings are vibrant, energetic and exciting. She was recently commissioned by the MTA, and her solo exhibition Brainsugar was on display in the Adelphi Performing Arts Center between January 29, 2017 through March 19, 2017.
“Every professor in the art department at Adelphi was influential in some way,” Baldwin said. “Everyone I came across left a mark in one way or another.” One of the most defining courses she took was Color Theory. Through Jen Maloney, associate professor of art and art history, Baldwin learned key principles that projected her career forward.
“My relationship with color is one of the driving forces behind my practice, and it has its roots in the lessons I learned in that class,” she said.
According to Baldwin, graffiti and public art is the most contemporary form of art making. “The artist has an idea, they respond, and then the public sees it immediately,” she explained. “There are no filters, no one stopping you from communicating your ideas.”
In November 2016, Baldwin and a team of volunteers installed Bounce, a public mural in her traditional abstract graffiti style. Bounce was commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority Barrier Beautification program, an initiative to spruce up concrete barriers, fences and walls throughout the five boroughs, and can still be seen just outside the Queens Center mall, on Queens Boulevard between Woodhaven Boulevard and 59th Avenue.
Through projects like the Barrier Beautification Program, Baldwin hopes to expose the public to more art, and if it’s simply on someone’s commute to work, Baldwin said that’s the type of dialogue she hopes to have with the community.
After being so affected by Adelphi’s inspiring faculty, Baldwin felt the desire to give back, and show her appreciation by inviting several professors to her Pratt master’s thesis exhibition. Maloney described her as “always engaged, invested, open to criticism and willing to experiment.” When Baldwin opened her thesis exhibition, Serious Fun, at Pratt just before earning her M.F.A., she invited Maloney and David Hornung, professor of art and art history, her Adelphi senior thesis mentor to the opening reception.
Every step of the way, Adelphi faculty answered Baldwin’s questions and helped her overcome obstacles. “Hornung was my mentor who helped me navigate my decision to work abstractly,” Baldwin said. “Carson Fox showed me how to navigate the art world, not only through lessons in the classroom but with her own experience in her career.”
Baldwin also found great inspiration during a trip to Florence, Italy, in Summer 2011, led by the Department of Art and Art History. The trip, Adelphi in Florence: Experiencing the Renaissance, was led by Maloney and the late Professor Tom McAnulty, who passed away in January 2016.
“Tom McAnulty brought incredible meaning and purpose to every discussion,” Baldwin recalled. “I often reflect on the lessons he left with us all.”