Aisha Hamra-Pinto is a senior in the visual arts department, studying a two-dimensional emphasis within the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Hamra-Pinto is a well-established student within the Kimball Arts community, her presence ranging from classes, studios, and as a barista at the Art Elements store.
Hamra-Pinto has always been immersed in art, even at a young age.
“My mom was an artist; she studied in Rome and Venice and Europe, so I grew up in a very artistic home,” Hamra-Pinto said. “It was never something that was out of reach for me.”
Hamra-Pinto continued her pursuits until she reached high school, where she was met with an unexpected challenge.
“I followed my passion into high school, where it was actually pretty hard,” she said. “Everything I was learning was so basic that I felt held down by the chains of the institution and not the study. My teacher understood this and gave me my own space where I could work on my own projects.”
It was at this time that Hamra-Pinto met a second passion — engineering.
“I also took a lot of engineering classes; I competed in a lot of events,” she said. “So I had this dual passion for art, but also this boys world of engineering. So I had to make a decision. What I came to realize is that, while engineering would be viable and financially secure, I didn’t love it like I did art. My own personal happiness made my decision. Engineering would be something that would leave me dissatisfied. We live in a culture that is very family-oriented, and that weighed into my decision. I wanted to put food on the table and be happy, which would make me the best parent. I want a happy home as opposed to a rich home. But if I could have both, that would be fantastic!”
As she pursues both happiness and security, she said, she looks to her future career opportunities with confidence.
“If I had it my way, my dream job would be as a freelance artist,” she said. “It’s like being a director of an art company. I’d have my own space where I’d be approached for art for someone’s home, for professional art for companies. The only way for me to get there is to force my art on people, seeing if they want it or anything else I can do. I’ve done album artwork, WSU ads, graphic design all over. I hope to build a customer base, ranging from local clients to international prestigious clients.”
Hamra-Pinto said she loves studying arts at a collegiate level and feels a bittersweetness in the close of her study.
“Being able to have your own studio space, the atmosphere, the other artists, it all helps you improve,” she said. “I watched kids in high school cry as graduation came, and I was like, ‘Get me out of here, I’m done.’ But as I see graduation coming up, it’s making me a little emotional. I’ve eaten, studied, slept and worked here, and it’s really become a part of my life. I guess it’s more than that, it’s a part of me. And I’m sad to be leaving.”
As Hamra-Pinto prepares to leave, she said has some concerns about the program and its future.
“This is going to be bold, but I feel like we are too constricted in the arts department,” she said. “We need more freedom and support for our ideas to take them as far as they can go. They get held back behind opinions, and if you limit something to a professor’s aesthetic, it can play too much into what you’re able to do. If what I have to say gets me in trouble, if it’s controversial, so be it. I’m an artist, so bring it on! I’m insubordinate, I’m hard-headed, and I’m proud of it — and that’s art!”
Hamra-Pinto’s work will be exhibited in the upcoming BFA Exhibition in the Kimball Arts Building.