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Department of Art

BYU student showcases 7 years of work in abstract art exhibit

Imagine a man jamming out to trap music in his studio as he rhythmically goes to town on a canvas.

This is how Stephen Clawson, a senior art major at Brigham Young University, does his paintings in the basement of his grandmother’s home, also known as his studio. That same trap music could be Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby any other day of the week, a song with a slower and more melodic essence to it, but this is how Clawson likes to work.

His work over the past seven years culminated into what he called an abstract art experience. The gallery at BYU was packed from wall-to-wall with his work.
“Some of these things are horrible paintings, but I still wanted to put them up,” Clawson said. “My teachers didn’t like it, they just wanted me to do eight pieces.”

For Clawson, art is somewhat of an escape. He added there is something crazy about painting, a feeling that he — at times — had trouble describing.

Sometimes his work just seems to click for him, other times paintings seem flat and dull. The beauty of abstract art is that you can paint over things, or as Clawson likes to do, glue things on to the canvas in a collage style.
One instance where a painting fell into place for him was when he had surgery and was still dealing with the pain. He was on some pain medicine to help recovery, and Clawson said he mixed colors to create an orange hue that seemed to fit perfectly on his canvas.
He still gets that feeling sometimes, just without the pain medicine.
Clawson also uses art as a way of expression. During his time at BYU, he had one instance where he was dealing with depression and he could not seem to get out of “the funk.” Read the full articlewritten by Ryne Williams at