In College of Fine Arts and Communications, Department of Art

Convocation for the College of Fine Arts and Communications will take place at 11 a.m. on August 17

Sanford in his studio. Photo courtesy of Colby Sanford.

Colby Sanford began drawing and painting at a young age. However, he credits his education at BYU for giving him a better framework and context for what is going on in the art world and how he can contribute to it. “I chose studio art because I loved the freedom to think about what I loved and why I was doing it,” said Sanford.

He said his most memorable moments have always been when professors went above and beyond. Once, Professor Peter Everett “took an extra school day” to show Sanford and his classmates how to create chalk gesso.

“It’s a super old technique that I didn’t even know how to appreciate until after doing it,” said Sanford. “It’s a stage that takes lots of time and isn’t really ‘necessary’ but makes all the difference in the world.”

Another memorable experience was when Profesor Joe Ostraff took Sanford and several other art students to Wendover, Nevada, on a Saturday. “We drove a few hours and talked the whole way,” said Sanford. “I got to sit in the passenger seat and we figured out three grants for me to apply to. As the result, my family and I went to Maine to paint for the summer.”

Of his entire academic career, Sanford is most proud of how much he learned and the depth at which he did so. He said he does not consider himself the “most astute person,” so learning how to “read difficult texts and write substantial papers on diverse topics” over the course of his studies surprised him the most.

His advice to studio art majors still pursuing their degree is to “read more and create intentionally, and then forget everything you’ve read and create instinctively.”

Sanford is not sure what lies in his future but knows it involves painting full time. He said he has been able to pull it off so far, but figuring out how to grow his career consistently will be a lifelong adventure. 


What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Sanford and his family in Maine. Photo courtesy of Colby Sanford.

“Interestingly enough, I wanted to write fiction.”

Where do you find inspiration?

“The world around me. My daughter playing with toys, my wife knitting sweaters, my home filling with friends and family for late-night conversations.”

What was the hardest challenge you had to overcome at BYU?

“Believing in my artistic vision. I had a big internal conflict of thinking it wasn’t a good enough life venture or wouldn’t prove fruitful.”

What is your favorite snack to eat?

“PB&J Sandwiches. Consequently it is also my favorite meal.”

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