With a paintbrush in hand, business administration junior Ally McPartland transforms abstract conceptions from her mind into vibrant paintings on canvas.
“A lot of times I almost feel like an alien or something goes into my brain, and I’m just doing this art piece and I’m not even thinking about it,” McPartland said. “And then I look at it, and I’m like, oh, it’s done. That’s how it turned out.”
Ideas for paintings come to her as vividly and quickly as a dream in deep sleep. She said her current emotions flutter through her mind as images at any given time, and she then rushes to get them onto a canvas.
“Almost all of my pieces are inspired by the human mind and its beauties and faults,” McPartland said.
Some of her pieces are abstract self-portraits delving into her identity. Others are detailed depictions of her favorite musicians — from The Beatles to Chance the Rapper to Tyler, The Creator — whom she calls “artistic icons” and inspirations to her own art.
“I’m really passionate about music,” McPartland said. “Even my pieces that don’t have artists as the subject are inspired by a certain genre of music or what I’m listening to in that time period.”
Easily grasping the attention of a passerby, her oil paintings radiate with a vibrancy that express a creative side that may be lost as a finance major. Although some of her pieces may not have a direct message, her art serves as a medium for expressing her inner thoughts and struggles.
“My main interest is my own exploration through my realities,” McPartland said. “I don’t necessarily hope that others interpret the same idea as me from each piece of work I create.”
McPartland said she hopes the viewer can observe how her art pertains to their own life. What she considers her most notable piece, “Entropy of Mind,” depicts this message, serving as her personal diary and exploring her sense of self deeper.
“Entropy of Mind was made when I was at a point of growth and clarity in my life, so it has a lot of meaning to me,” McPartland said.
McPartland was first introduced to her talent of painting in her junior year of high school when she took an arts elective as a required course and fell in love. Even as a beginner, her art showed a complexity that would typically take years of experience. As a senior in high school, her Art II teacher recommended she submit a handful of her pieces for the AP Art exam, even though she was not in AP Art.
“When I passed the exam, I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to create, which led me to be more excited in making art,” McPartland said.
McPartland is now a junior in college, and her art has grown and transformed as she has moved through school. She decided to declare a minor in Studio Art as a way of expanding her creativity and exploring deeper into her potential.
As a finance concentration, she views her art as an escape from reality. She said it allows her to delve deeper into self expression through brush strokes. However, she said she feels no need to carry her passion of art into the workforce.
“I see art as a hobby, an escape from reality, and I don’t want it to become a chore or something I have to do for money,” McPartland said.
Her eye for creative processes has allowed her to cope with her life’s ups and downs as well as share it with an audience that can relate. Something that started as a task in a classroom setting has transcended into a passion that she now shares with others.
For money or not, McPartland will continue to create. She runs an Instagram account, @artbyallymcparty, where she updates followers on her latest pieces and sells prints.