Bantam Artist of the Week: Caitlin Southwick '20

3 min read
Erin Gannon ’19
A&E Editor
COURTESY OF Caitlin Southwick '20. Southwick  also competes as a coxswain on the Trinity Women’s Rowing Team.
COURTESY OF Caitlin Southwick ’20. Southwick also competes as a coxswain on the Trinity Women’s Rowing Team.

Lining the shelves of a quaint Medfield, Massachusetts home are a series of nostalgic items preserving the early accomplishments of the children of an archetypal suburban family. Amongst the collection are multiple “about me” projects made by kindergarten-aged Caitlin Southwick ’20, proclaiming an early desire to someday be an artist, and reflecting and developing interest in drawing and painting.
The young Southwick dabbled in the arts from an early age. Her mother, a former semi-professional ballerina, is currently the director of Physical Therapy at the Boston Ballet Company. As a gift from her grandmother, Southwick received a book of Edgar Degas art, which features several paintings and sculptures of ballerinas. “As soon as I saw them,” Southwick said, “I knew I wanted to make images the way he did, rather than be the subject of the image.”
Southwick mainly works with pastel on watercolor paper in either stick or powder format. She occasionally incorporates other media like watercolor, charcoal, pen,and keeping to muted color schemes. Southwick focuses primarily on the human form. “I think even if a person has a very neutral expression, the face can still be charged with emotion,” she said. “People tend to project their own experiences onto images of others. Most of my recent stuff depicts people with their faces partially obscured by a hand, arm, or clothing article to make
open-ended as possible. I like the idea that everyone can see the same piece of art differently and I try to make things that lend themselves to lots of different assumptions and reactions.”
Southwick is influenced by the people around her. “I draw myself, I draw my friends, I draw strangers.” When particularly uninspired, she will go to a museum and take notes on the different techniques she sees, to rediscover inspiration in a desire to recreate her favorite aspects of different works. Her favorite piece, featured below, is a large, horizontal portrait of a friend she created last year.
“It’s chalk and charcoal, and she’s lying down but also sort of suspended in space,” Southwick describes. “Her hair is pulled down by gravity even though the rest of her body seems pretty stable. To me, it’s a very intimate piece because she looks so vulnerable like that.” The piece does not reflect any particular style, herself on approaching subjects with a constantly changing outlook.
She is currently leaning towards a major in Psychology, with potential minors in Studio Arts and Human Rights. Southwick is also a coxswain on the Women’s Crew Team is in the first- year InterArts program and is currently enrolled in a drawing course at Trinity. She included an art portfolio with her application to Trinity.
Since beginning her formal pursuit of art, Southwick finds herself exploring more meaning in her work. “I used to look at something and think, ‘Oh, that’s pretty, I’ll draw it,’ but now I tend to question that reaction more, and think about the why and the how of mak- ing things.” She jokes, “In short, I’ve gotten more pretentious since starting.”
Southwick is currently working on a variety of projects given to her as homework assignments, but hopes to do a portrait series when and if time allows.

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