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An art project that will meld pictures, words, and music is giving a student free rein to follow his creative muse “all day, every day, all summer.”

“I’ve spent much of my time in the past week doing my own artwork,” says Chris Michaud ’04, a jazz musician as well as a visual artist. “Right now I’m working on 10 different paintings.”

As an EXCEL Scholar, Michaud is earning a stipend while collaborating with Ed Kerns, Eugene H. Clapp Professor of Humanities and Art, and Ross Gay ’96, a painter and poet. Kerns, Gay, and Michaud plan to build on each other’s contributions to the project, ultimately creating paintings with text on the canvas, says Michaud.

“Eventually I may be playing saxophone as they respond in paint,” he says. “We each come into it at our own time and react to what the previous person has done. Ross is doing the work now.” Gay is exploring the concept of icons.

“People keep asking me which I want to do — art or music. (Both) is what I am,” Michaud explains. In the visual arts, the strengths he hopes to lend the project are drawing skills and “a more realistic element,” although lately his style has inched closer to that of Jackson Pollack. “I’m now in the 20th century,” he adds.

The artwork generated by the project, entitled “A Word-Image Collaboration: Poetry and Painting,” will be exhibited in the Williams Visual Arts Building.

Michaud says that when he attended high school, his enthusiasm for art far surpassed opportunity. Now at Lafayette, he says, “I’m sitting here in this incredible building, designed for making art, using the facility with all of the supplies and given free run of it to do whatever I want — all day, every day, all summer. At no point in the rest of my life will I have this much material supply at my fingertips. I want to learn as much as I possibly can.”

Michaud performs in the Jazz Ensemble, Pep Band and Concert Band, and played in the pit orchestra for the Marquis Players production of Guys and Dolls. He takes saxophone, guitar, and piano lessons.

Categorized in: Academic News