Fine Arts alumnus places first in NSAL Visual Arts Competition

Tillman Reyes, Ivy Tech alumnus, received the $1,000 Chapter Career Prize in the 2018 Visual Arts Competition for Emerging Artists from the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) in January 2018, for his assemblage, 1135 Cruft St.

BLOOMINGTON – Tillman Reyes, Ivy Tech alumnus, recently won the $1,000 Chapter Career Prize from the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL), for his artwork in the 2018 Visual Arts Competition for Emerging Artists. The prize is the largest award for regional competitions, voted on by all members of the NSAL chapter. The juried competition was held in January at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center.

Reyes won the prize for his assemblage piece, “1135 Cruft St.” and describes his work as a mix between painting and sculpture.

“I am inspired by things passed by and overlooked,” said Reyes. “What I am interested in is re-contextualizing these through art. I can use the faded paint or rotted wood as color fields forming a new context the viewer is able to think through, examine, and question.”

Reyes is pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the IUPUI Herron School of Art and Design, after transferring his Associate of Fine Arts degree from Ivy Tech in 2014.

Tillman with Painting.jpg
Tillman Reyes, Ivy Tech alumnus, exhibited two artworks including the painting above, Sinema,
in the 2018 Visual Arts Competition for Emerging Artists, National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) competition.

“I was confident coming into Herron after graduating from Ivy Tech,” said Reyes. “Ivy Tech had some amazing professors like Maureen Forman, Amy Brier, Kelly Jordan, and Julie Roberts. There was a focus on classic fundamentals of rendering, exploration of material, dedication to my practice, technique, and a degree of professionalism instilled in me that were very important to continue my artistic schooling and career.”

Reyes enrolled at Ivy Tech immediately after high school to save on college costs.

“I knew I wanted to go to Herron eventually, but I didn’t want to go right away when I knew I could get my gen-eds and foundation art classes out of the way at Ivy Tech for a fraction of the price,” he said. “After a semester and a half in Indy I decided to transfer to Ivy Tech Bloomington. The art program in Bloomington seemed more suited to me. There was much more of an emphasis on the Fine Arts Program there.”

Reyes was excited when his professor at Herron encouraged him to submit work for consideration for the NSAL competition.

“I remember sitting in Julie Roberts’s office at the Ivy Tech Waldron and seeing these wonderful paintings and sculptures being prepared for an NSAL installation in 2014. So now as a senior at Herron I submitted two of my most recent works hoping to get one of them in. As it turns out, both of the pieces I submitted were accepted into the show. When I submitted, I was just worried about getting one in. Not two and definitely not one winning first place.”

After graduation, Reyes plans to continue his education and earn a Master of Fine Arts in painting, and work in an artistic community.

“I appreciate the art scenes in places like Bloomington and Indy so I plan on traveling and experiencing more art communities through different residencies,” he said. “Right now I am applying to these residencies in hope of doing that.”