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Fe for a cure

Acclaimed Kansas Artist Designs Festival Shirt

KSAL Staff - April 6, 2017 8:55 am

Angie Pickman of Lawrence, KS, a nationally recognized cut-paper artist, has been selected to design the 2017 Smoky Hill River Festival T-shirt.

Pickman combines the art of traditional paper cutting with collage to create intricately detailed works of art and animation. “I like to use a lot of animals in my paper cuttings, but I’m best known for my birds,” Pickman says. “They are the best character to convey the generally whimsical nature of my work.”

Pickman was first introduced to her chosen medium while studying at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in New York City, where she discovered the work of silhouette animation artist Lotte Reiniger (1899 – 1981). Pickman’s love of nature and the tranquility of Midwestern rural terrain, as well as Reiniger’s style and technique, inspired her to set off on the artistic path she continues today.

The Festival 2017 T-shirt design features a circular shape with familiar Midwestern icons. “I thought a mandala-like design would work well to symbolize what a well-rounded and layered event the Festival is, with so many different artists, musicians, and food and drink vendors,” says Pickman. “Small icons to represent each of those aspects are scattered throughout the design. Most importantly, I wanted to convey the feeling of Kansas and the Smoky Hill River. Hopefully the waves and sunflower in the middle and the wheat on the outside of the design do just that.”

Artistic talent seems to run in Pickman’s family. Her mother is chairman of the Music Department at Benedictine College in Atchison and her brother is a musician in Kansas City. “I knew from a very young age that being an artist was my life calling, but it took me a long time to figure out in which medium this would manifest itself.”

“The traditional forms taught in school never felt quite right,” Pickman explains. “I began cutting paper in 2003 after seeing “The Adventures of Prince Achmed,” a cut-paper, stop-motion silhouette animation made in 1926 by Reiniger. “When I saw Lotte’s work, something clicked,” Pickman says. “My tools of the trade are a rubber-gripped x-acto knife, acid-free paper, mechanical pencils and a self-healing cutting mat.”

Pickman does illustration, animation and design work, exhibits at galleries and fairs nationally, conducts public presentations on cut-paper art, and teaches classes and workshops. Most recently, her work was featured in Midwest Living and Martha Stewart Living magazines. Pickman’s animation premiered in summer 2016 in the PBS documentary “Daughters of the Forest,” about a Paraguayan girls school built to lift local young women out of poverty.

A native of Atchison, Pickman received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an art minor from Benedictine College in 2001. She completed a master’s degree three years later in interactive telecommunications at the Tisch School of the Arts in NYC.

A participating Festival artist on and off since 2010, Pickman was a natural choice to design the 2017 T-shirt. “Angie’s work is so whimsical and fun; it fits perfectly with the Festival,” says Visual Arts Coordinator Grace Peterson. “Her mandala design incorporates all aspects of the Festival into one beautiful and thoughtful design.  We are thrilled that she is our 2017 T-shirt artist.”

Story by: Kay Quinn