June 3, 2016 3:06 PM

Emma Morrison, a junior studio art major from Forsyth, Ill., was named Blue Connection's 2016 and first-ever Robert Harrison Crowder Artist-in-Residence. As the recipient, she receives a paid summer position at Blue Connection, Millikin University's student-run retail art gallery. Her paintings will be displayed May 30-July 1.

Morrison focuses her efforts on portraits, and through her art process, she tries to explore things she finds within each person. She begins her painting process with a photo of a subject and transposes details onto a large canvas.

"From this point, I build up the facial structure with layers of acrylic paint, charcoal and graphite to create the history I find," she says. "This up close and personal examination introduces the individual in a very intimate setting, allowing my viewer to know the individuals just as well as I do, as real, authentic human beings."

The late Robert Harrison Crowder, a member of the Millikin class of 1933 and a native of Bethany, Ill., owned a Los Angeles design firm that specialized in Japanese-style paintings and murals and garnered a Hollywood clientele including Elizabeth Taylor, among others. Today, his name lives on through his successful company, Robert Crowder & Associates. The design firm is now owned by Mr. Yasumasa Tanano, who established the Blue Connection Artist-in-Residency in memory and appreciation of his mentor and former employer.

"Emma was chosen by a process that started with the Blue Connection students reviewing applications and making a recommendation to the Center for Entrepreneurship, Art Department and Alumni and Development Office," said Julienne Shields, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Millikin University. "We're excited for Emma to be using the gallery as both a studio and a display place."

Millikin juniors were given the opportunity for the residency by submitting an application, artist statement and work proposal. Morrison's artistic method helped the award panel's decision.

Click here to read more about Emma Morrison's artwork in an article from the Herald & Review.

blue connection
Photo courtesy of the Herald & Review