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Oxford and Beyond Student Success

Miami student’s painting heading to the moon: a Q-and-A with Preston Anderson

The junior from Nashville, Tennessee, with a double major in business economics and finance, has had his painting “Tunnel Vision” selected to go to the moon.

painting of tunnel vision with a boy pulling a red wagon toward a tunnel
Preston Anderson's painting "Tunnel Vision" was selected to join the Nova Collection time capsule.
Oxford and Beyond Student Success

Miami student’s painting heading to the moon: a Q-and-A with Preston Anderson

#Preston Anderson's painting "Tunnel Vision" was selected to join the Nova Collection time capsule. ()

Preston Anderson, a junior from Nashville, Tennessee, with a double major in business economics and finance, has had his painting “Tunnel Vision” selected to go to the moon.

The Lunar Codex/Artists on the Moon has announced that Anderson is among 76 artists from the curated exhibit “Shelter” whose works are joining The Nova Collection time capsule. Art images will be laser-etched on nickel microfiche to be enclosed in the time capsule on a Nova-C lunar lander slated for a future launch via SpaceX

“Shelter” was an exhibit in direct response to the global pandemic seeking works that evoked shelter, solace, safety, done in collaboration with Chicago-based 33 Contemporary Gallery and the #poetsartists platform.

We caught up with Anderson (pictured below), a self-described illustrative and figurative painter, for this Q-and-A.

preston andersonDid you ever imagine one of your paintings would end up in a time capsule on the moon?

Definitely not. I had no idea this was something that even the most successful artists would ever be a part of. It still blows my mind that this is an opportunity for creatives let alone myself!

How did you learn about this exhibition?

Once Covid hit, I looked more into what the landscape of the professional art industry looked like. I started by talking to my high school painting teacher, Grant Gilsdorf, who is an exceptionally renowned artist and mentor. Searching locally, I found a couple open calls for art so that I could gain more experience as to what being a professional artist would entail. After finding success with open calls, I explored presenting my work to more established shows and galleries. Learning from artists who I aspire to be like, I found a couple galleries that stood out. 33 Contemporary, a premier figurative art gallery in Chicago, was definitely at the top of the list as I felt my work in a show of theirs would fit in yet stand out. I applied to their exhibition ‘Shelter’ since “Tunnel Vision” was so suitable for the show’s theme. After the ‘Shelter’ show, I was able to connect with other professional artists and to continue developing my understanding of the art world and where I wanted to be within it.

How were you notified that “Tunnel Vision” had been selected (and what was your immediate reaction?)

I received an email from 33 Contemporary that had a long list of artwork titles and artists names. I definitely didn’t expect to see my name so took my time looking through the other artists accepted. Once I came across my name I was in disbelief. I was overwhelmed and honored to have had my work selected to be shown next to so many established artists who I still look up to. I’m pretty sure that was all I talked about that week.

Tell us more about the story behind “Tunnel Vision” and why you entered it.

The theme of the exhibit was to show a collection of art, exploring the interpretation of an object, place, or memory that in these times offers safe harbor from the storm, offers tranquility, comfort, solace, and shelter.

The underlying message of “Tunnel Vision” is that it can sometimes be easy to neglect the beauty of the things around us and focus only on what is directly in front of us. Whether it be the relationships we have or the nature of life circling around us, when we choose to look beyond our own immediate perceptions, we see so much more than we thought possible.

When did you start painting?

My first-time painting was the spring semester of my sophomore year in high school, about three and a half years ago. I took the first three painting classes that my high school offered and proceeded to spend every free period I had in the art room.

What do you enjoy about it?

There is a lot that I like about painting. It is deeply satisfying to see your hard work accumulate into an image that you have had only thought about in your head. Even more so, I love being able to see that for every hour I put in, I get that much better at it. Seeing my progress year after year is super encouraging. Every painting has unique and often unforeseen challenges, but I enjoy the process of overcoming those challenges and watching it meet the vision I have for that painting.

For me, painting is also one of those things that I can just get lost in. This past summer, I found myself planning to sit and paint for an hour only to see that two or three had gone by.

Have you taken art classes at Miami?

I took Observational Drawing last spring, and I will be taking Intermediate drawing this fall. Both of these are prerequisites for the painting courses, but I am excited to see what new techniques and skills I learn.

With your double major in business economics and finance, what are your career goals?

At this point, this is a very challenging question to answer. I am strongly considering a career in advisory services such as consulting or risk management, however I am leaving as many doors open as possible. I plan to maintain a creative energy in whatever work I end up doing and to always keep ample time for painting!

Where does your painting fit in with those goals?

I hope that as I begin my career and grow professionally, I can continue to develop artistically. I’ve set many goals including taking part in a solo show and expanding my outreach in the artistic community.

It looks like your Facebook page, paints.by.preston, was created in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Did you find yourself painting more during that challenging time?

Once school went remote in the spring of 2020, I had a lot more free-time and thus more time to paint. I finished over 10 paintings large and small from that time until the start of my freshman year at Miami. Since then, I’ve started documenting, sharing, and selling my paintings through that Facebook page and through my Instagram @paints.by.preston.