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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Actualizing an Artistic Path

By Daniel Melin

“I want to keep myself involved in art in any way possible,” says 2021 graduate Kas Brittenburg. Originally from Allentown, Brittenburg found their initial passion for the fine arts when they attended Parkland High School. From gaining a foundational understanding in introductory courses, to building professional skills in capstone courses, to learning that perfecting their artistic craft is an ongoing process, they earned their A.A. in Fine/Studio Arts from LCCC with an additional A.A.S. in Computer Generated Animation Digital Arts.

Image shows Kas Brittenburg in front of the Student Union steps with the LCCC logo painted on the steps.Brittenburg’s interest in LCCC was due to a family member’s positive experience taking classes, but once they got here themselves, they could see the benefits first-hand. “[LCCC] taught me all the core ideas of art like composition and line weight,” they say. “Now I know the rules and can either play with them or break them.”

While 2D art offers comfort for Brittenburg, they find the most satisfaction in creating 3D sculptures and paintings. Even throughout their learning of animation, they leaned toward 3D modeling. Learning how to connect with audiences through sculpture is enriching, but an ongoing opportunity for more learning. “I often forget that physics comes into play when you’re playing with sculpture…I’m still learning how to curve,” they say.

In continuing down an artistic path after graduating from LCCC, Brittenburg now attends Kutztown University, dual majoring in art and animated arts. Their coursework through KU has taught them more about art than they’d considered, including the importance of narrative and audience perception of one’s work. “The sculpture studio is very open-minded,” they say. “They give you feedback on things to take into account, and we decide what we take from it.”

Through providing feedback to peers in art workshops and the variety of assistance they provide to KU’s Art and Design Department, Brittenburg discovered a passion for helping others. They’ve worked as a dark room tech in KU’s dark room photo studio, and will continue working in the department as a sculpture studio tech. “That includes helping students make sculptures and making their ideas come to reality,” they say. In addition, they currently work at the Miller Gallery on campus as an installation assistant, helping with installing art shows and performing maintenance.

Wanting to stay “involved in art in any way possible,” Brittenburg also works at Board and Brush Creative Studio, assisting guests with their creative projects. Most recently, they signed on with Paint Some Pottery, serving in an instructional position that has them considering a career in teaching. “I’m not sure yet if I would want to be a professor or if I’d want to work in non-traditional teaching through workshops,” they say.

Image shows one of Kas's sculptures on display in the Glass Box Gallery in the Rothrock Library.

One of Kas Brittenburg’s sculptures on display at the LCCC Foundation’s Art, Rhythm & Tasting event.

While teaching may be on the horizon, Brittenburg hasn’t stopped getting their work out in as many ways they can. Recently, they were featured as an alumni artist at the LCCC Foundation Art, Rhythm and Tasting event in August. “It was nice seeing some of my former classmates again and other alumni that were there,” they say. “To have a gallery space like that is awesome for student artists. I think we need more of that in the world, especially on college campuses. It shows students starting out that there’s a market for your art and that you can do this for a career.”

Art as a career is a hot topic for Brittenburg, as many do not see it as a viable profession. They didn’t lose hope, however, thanks to the guidance of Jeremy Siedt, assistant professor of art at LCCC. “He was really hands-on with students and went above and beyond,” they say. “I was in his first capstone class, and he taught us how to make art a job, how to sell your art and how to network. That really got me thinking that art could be my career.”

Currently, Brittenburg is working on their KU Honors Program capstone project, an art exhibition surrounding the concept of aphantasia, a characteristic that they have. Aphantasia relates to an individual’s ability, or lack thereof, to visualize images in their mind. This brings a unique perspective to being an artist for Brittenburg, one that they plan to showcase in their capstone. “[For my project],” they say, “I’m specifically curious as to what in the brain differs for those who can’t visualize during the day, but can visualize in their dreams.” Though they have much work left to do to make the project a reality, they’re excited for the end result.

Even in the midst of so much artistic success, Brittenburg remembers their roots at LCCC and the advice they wish they’d received. “Keep an open mind,” they say, “because what you may think you want to go into and want to study might not be what you end up studying.”