Calen Szeflin

I want to be happy. I want to enjoy the happy times without being consumed by the idea that not everything will be happy all of the time.

I have pinpointed a few sources of joy in my life. By focusing on these things, people, and experiences, I can create an environment that empowers me to enjoy life without dwelling on the negative.

Sunsets are a powerful experience of nature that can be easily ignored or forgotten. In order to experience a sunset it takes time, it requires a pause. It will make you feel deep emotions if you let it. For me, sunsets have always meant happiness, peaceful excitement, and often a shared experience with others. I am painting dramatic large sunsets with bright colors and glitter to represent the overabundance of dramatic emotions felt when I am surrounded by the things that make me happy.

While sunsets and flowers are often seen as cliché, I think that this is a mistake. These subjects have been degraded into something “overdone” and therefore not worth exploring. Have we lost our appreciation for these wonderful subjects by too quickly writing them off as “cliché” and not worthy? Have we also forgotten the importance of intentional happiness and joy? I am trying to bring thoughtfulness back into viewing these subjects by representing them in an over the top way that demands to be seen and considered.

I am creating work that explores ways of experiencing genuine happiness and fulfillment through sentimentality. In my experience people are often discouraged from being “sentimental”, “emotional” and “dramatic” because it might cause them to not be taken seriously.  I seek to showcase the beauty and power of these often criticized aspects of human emotion. I believe that as a community we should foster a healthy balance between cynical criticism and a celebration of the joys of life. By creating these works on such a large scale, I hope to create a dramatic experience that gives viewers permission to celebrate and take cliché emotions and sentimentality seriously.

70” x 80” 
Tissue paper, ink, oil paint, dried flowers on canvas

72” x 72”
Tissue paper, ink, oil paint, glitter on canvas

almost too good
83” x 83” 
Tissue paper, spray paint, oil paint on canvas

you’re being tooooo much
17” x 17”
Oil paint, glitter on canvas

72” x 72”
Tissue paper, ink, charcoal, oil paint on canvas

Calen Rose Szeflin is a California based artist studying Studio Art and Marketing at Pepperdine University. She grew up working with painting, drawing and photography and has been working to develop a harmony between these traditional mediums with digital design. She is strongly inspired by intense emotions, relationships, writing, and the nostalgia associated with memory.

Calen hopes to emphasize the ways in which business and art compliment each other bridging the gap between creativity and effective communication. She hopes that this will lead to a differentiated professional career and effective community building.