The Owls of Oakton Community College took home bragging rights at a reception and awards ceremony for the Illinois Skyway Collegiate annual juried art competition on March 6 at Elgin Community College in Elgin. Two Glenview artists were among several receiving honors for their original artwork.
Carol Goodman received an award for excellence on an original piece, “The Conquistador,” and Vijay Paniker took home “Best of Show” honors for his “Safety Can” piece.
Goodman said it meant a lot knowing how greatly the jury valued her work, adding that the way her friends and family received the news came as a surprise to her, as well.
“(It was) very exciting,” she said. “I was overwhelmed. I didn’t realize how important it was. People would ask me, ‘Why didn’t I tell them?’”
Paniker expressed similar sentiments, explaining how great it felt to be one of several artists recognized among a talented pool of students.
“It was a great honor for my piece to be picked as "Best of Show," he said. “Really, just getting into Skyway is an honor, especially when you see the artwork that other students are producing.”
Goodman credits her knack for art to her mother.
“My mother painted,” she said. “I think got (my talent) from her. My daughter and my son are very artistic as well.”
When it comes to Paniker’s earliest inspirations, he said his idols go back to his days as a student at Glenbrook South.
“As a kid I was a tinkerer,” he said. “That has always been the case. In high school, again at Glenbrook South, Mr. Hill (woodworking) and Mr. Germanier (autos), definitely taught me how to properly tinker and thusly how to fabricate real cool stuff. I think that informed me hugely.”
He said these experiences as a teen lead him to take formal classes in art at Oakton Community College.
“When I went to Oakton Community College after Glenbrook South, I took Peter Hessemer,” he said. “He was my first major influence into formal art. He introduced me to the greater world of ceramics. He taught me a lot and really guided me through what I wanted to do and where I was headed.”
Art will continue to play a large part in his/her work in the coming years.
Goodman said her work will soon be displayed in the Oakton Student Art Show.
She said her friends and family have been especially supportive through it all.
“A friend of mine is urging me to make enough [pieces] for a full show and start putting together a resume,” she said. “Because it takes 5-8 hours (to create a piece), I don’t think people realize how [much] time goes into it.”
When it comes to his future as an artist, Paniker said he doesn’t see himself going in a different direction any time soon.
“I work in the ceramics industry and that allows me to meet other ceramicists from all over the country,” he said. “As well, I teach a ceramics class at the Brickton Art Center in Park Ridge to adults and teens. Being at Oakton allows me to continue to work with what I love in an environment that allows me and others to share ideas and experiment with what we do.”
Paniker said he’s pleased to see the reactions people have when they see his work.
“I think my work is well received by friends and fellow artists,” he said. “It's definitely rewarding when a viewer has to do a double take before he/she realize it's clay he/she is looking at.”