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Academics, The Arts

Innovation before graduation for USF fine arts student who invents his own ‘faux-encaustic’

Japeth Roe, a USF senior majoring in fine arts with a focus in drawing, has experimented with acrylics and gels to create a new material to achieve an original look and style for his work.

“I wanted to use encaustic in my drawings to add layers to my work,” Roe said. “It’s really good for drawing skin because our skin is made up of transparent colored layers and this material creates depth and luminosity.”

Encaustic is a process of applying a material to artwork using heat to burn in colors.

Roe was inspired to invent a replacement material because working with the standard encaustic wax-like material was inconvenient. Space and a heating element are necessary to properly use encaustic, and these two things aren’t possible for him to use in his small, crowded art studio on campus.

He resolved the problem by innovation and experimentation and created a faux-encaustic. He persevered through the process of trial and error.

“I looked online at the recipes that already existed and I got close to the consistency but there was still something missing,” Roe said.

It was on his sixth try in which he created a substance and the perfect color that were just right for the work he wanted to create.

Though it’s not required for art students to invent their own medium to complete their senior thesis before graduation, Roe dedicated over 10 hours and a chunk of change (more than $150, he said) to produce work that uses a unique medium.

“It was definitely worth the time. I used it in my work, and it did what it needed to do,” Roe said. “Now there’s a lot more possibilities and room for other experimentation.”

So far he has created four pieces with this new material and will make three more before the Senior Art Show, a big showcase event only for the students who will be graduating with their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees this semester. The show will be held April 27.


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