Having taken an in-depth look at the motives behind wishing to fit in and be “popular,” artist Tracy Hetzel will be presenting the resultant watercolor exhibition titled “Camouflage” at the Hinkle Memorial Library Gallery from Nov. 3-29.
In her artist statement, Hetzel explained the idea for “Camouflage” came from her questioning of “personal adornment in relation to social acceptance.”
“Why do we dress the way we do? Why do we apply makeup? Change the color of our hair? Wear trendy items?” she said. “Perhaps it camouflages who we really are by ‘painting’ on who we wish we could be. To be prettier, more popular, achieve a certain social status. Any way you look at it, there is a pressure to fit in, and in doing so, we tend to conform to popular societal standards.”
However, Hetzel noted, there are “the few out there, the non-conformists, who dress for themselves and dance as if no one is watching.” She said these individuals, in most cases, are “shunned by the popular norm” and called weird, odd, scowled at, and criticized for being different.
“But honestly, to me, these few are my heroes,” she said. “With my paintings, I want to portray my interpretation of camouflage, using it to integrate, to disguise, to escape, to hide, and ultimately portray both those who desire to be like the cool kids and those who shed their camo, embracing their true colors.”
Hetzel, a 1987 graduate of Wellsville High School, received her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University at Buffalo. Her illustrations have been featured in monthly publications, the New York Coffee Festival, Paris Fashion Week, the United Nations, Times Square, and for Colin and Alma Powell’s foundation, America’s Promise.
Additionally, Hetzel has written and illustrated a children’s book about her hometown call “W (Ella’s) ville,” and is the creative director at Graphic Essentials, a marketing and design firm in Baltimore, where she currently resides with her husband and their two children.
The exhibit will be open for viewing during normal library hours. To inquire about exhibiting your work in the Hinkle Gallery, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607-587-4313.