December grad creatively merges diverse fields of studies
By Mindy Green
When Haydyn Jackson first enrolled at Texas State, she declared art and design as her major. As she started getting into her upper-level classes, however, she decided to pursue a different field. Jackson found herself drawn to anthropology, and eventually she switched her major. “The idea of studying culture and the way people interact and socialize seems really important,” Jackson says.
After switching majors, art was no longer Jackson’s primary focus. Her professors, however, encouraged her to continue to develop her artistic talents. She credits Ashe Laughlin, senior lecturer in the School of Art and Design for helping her decide to keep art as a minor. “He wouldn’t let me give up on it,” she says.
Dr. Teri Evans-Palmer also played a big role in Jackson’s college career by supporting her and helping her find the connection between anthropology and art. “Haydyn always seemed to want to go beyond learning about techniques and skills to find out more about the artists that produced artifacts left on the earth,” says Evans-Palmer. “What cultural or social phenomenon initiated this type of imagery? What happened in the lives of these cultures, the social context, that initiated this type of work? Her investigations that led her into producing art have such an obvious scientific methodology to the process.”
There is no conflict between Jackson’s two passions. Instead, anthropological studies have given Jackson new sources of inspiration. “Anthropology informs my art,” she says. “My subject matter and ideas all stem from the way I see myself interacting with society and the way I see society interacting with me.”
There are additional benefits: “Anthropology has given me the best skills learning how to listen to people and work cooperatively,” Jackson says. Jackson is using these skills in a variety of art initiatives, such as curating exhibitions, showing her own artwork in galleries and coordinating art walks around town.
After graduation, Jackson plans on seeking a job in an art gallery and eventually continuing her studies in graduate school. One of the greatest lessons she learned at Texas State is also her best advice to others: “Follow what you love to do,” Jackson says, “and everything you need will fall into place.”