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Community Advocacy Organization

COVID causes MSU Paint Major to bring Senior Showcase to Lansing

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

Courtesy Photo-Autumn Hopkins

(Lansing, MI) – Award winning visual artist Autumn Hopkins of Aura Lee Gallery presents The Capital City Premiere of “Disfigured Memories” at the Opportunity Arts Artitorium on Saturday, August 28th. This show is a representation of her journey through mental illness, dysfunctional families, and self-discovery during her 5 ½ years at MSU. The Exhibition Showing (dress code is casual) will be open to the public & free of access from 12:00pm - 3:30pm. A limited ticketed Artist Reception (dress code cocktail attire) will then take place from 5:00pm - 7:30pm. This reception will include an artist meet and greet, refreshments, as well as signed prints by Autumn herself. All proceeds from the tickets will go towards the Autumn Hopkins Professional Development Fund to further her artistic endeavors & career as a Professional Artist.

You can purchase a ticket from Eventbrite:

Michigan State University student & Paint Major Autumn Hopkins was excited for her BFA showcase exhibit, & that her collection would be on display at the Kresge Art Center from April 5-8, 2021. However at that time, the general public was not able to come and see her exhibit in person due to COVID 19. “The exhibit was open to strictly MSU students, primarily in the AAHD department,” said Hopkins. “It’s was hard that my family and friends couldn’t come see the work and progress of 5 years of my life, and experience it with me.” Hopkins, the 2021 Ralf Henrickson Award winner, (an award recognizing a graduating senior painting major, whose work is deemed by the faculty to be the most successful in the final year of study) decided that if the people who were important to her couldn’t come see the exhibit, she would bring the exhibit to them at a later date. “As much as I am extremely bummed about how much COVID has effected this experience for me, I’m still excited to be presenting the work in Lansing,” said Hopkins. “I grew up in Lansing, so I saw this as an opportunity to show the exhibit not just at my University, but in my hometown as well.” The Capital City Premiere of “Disfigured Memories” will take place 3 weeks prior to Autumn’s graduation ceremony on Sept. 19th. “It’s cool that I’m at this stage now, that I dreamed I would be. When I look back and see how far I’ve come, and the love I’ve received on the way, it’s humbling. This is just the beginning.”

About “Disfigured Memories”:

Mental illness started from the beginning, but I became aware of it much later at the age of 18, during my freshman year in college. I felt like I was drowning and unwelcome in a society of educated privileged peers while in the same year, I found my grandmother alone and lifeless in her cluttered one-bedroom apartment. I wasn’t aware I was suffering; I blamed my lack of motivation on my ADHD, but that dorm became a prison and my grades and relationships suffered. Once I started my journey towards growth and awareness, I started to contemplate my life and the people I surrounded myself with, this unveiled harsh realities and completely changed how I looked at the photo album of my life. As I flipped through the pages and the years, I realized the false expectation of a picturesque family and became annoyed by the phrase “blood is thicker than water”.

While receiving my BFA in Painting at Michigan State University I especially fell in love with Mixed Media where it became an emotional therapeutic process by ripping, burning, and smearing the materials. I find materials such as paper, spray paint, stencils, photos, spackling, and let these materials and my emotions take control. The unexpected and occasionally uncontrollable materials became a metaphor of my life where I form them to create something beautiful and powerful. My current work is focused on my personal journey with family dynamics, mental health, and trauma. I also want to represent the toxic environments and suppressed feelings that women or youth often suffer in family or romantic relationships, while also showing that it's ok to not be ok because growth is an emotional process that has no time frame. In many of my pieces I incorporate a moment or a text between my family that created an impact on myself and/or those around me. Instead of just writing my feelings in a journal like most therapists recommended, I realized that the emotional and physical process of painting a big F-you with a hole burned through it seemed to release that internalized negative energy. Some of my works vary from being bold to intimate depending on the emotion that moment evokes. I want to represent art as essential and necessary to rewrite those broken memories and traumas. Life is often uncontrollable however it can be formed and rewritten into something beautifully raw when you create time to piece those memories together. We all heal differently.

About the Artist:

Autumn Hopkins is a creative entrepreneur, painter, mixed media artist & illustrator who is also knowledgeable in printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, wood making, & sewing. She is the owner of Aura Lee Gallery, a company she founded to honor her grandmother. In addition to helping to raise her 9 siblings, Autumn is completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Michigan State University, where she was the recipient of the 2021 Ralf Henricksen Memorial Award in Art. Her work has been presented locally at Old Town ArtFeast, at Michigan State University, where her ceramic work was selected for the Undergraduate Art Show, and at The Artist’s Umbrella, where she has been the speed painting champion on multiple occasions, and at the Kresge Art Center. She has been featured multiple times in multiple Mid-Michigan news outlets for her work & art. She is a hardworking and devoted local artist and is fighting the stereotype that being an artist isn’t a real career and the issue that women are not currently as respected in the art industry as they should be. Autumn has set up a Go Fund Me campaign.

Funding Credit:

“Disfigured Memories” premiered at the Kresge Art Center at Michigan State University on April 5, 2021. The Capital City Premiere of “Disfigured Memories” was made possible with financial support from Zeedia Media through The AU Fellowship, as well as through individual contributions to the Autumn Hopkins Professional Development Fund. Donations to The Fund will further Autumn’s artistic endeavors, allowing her to give back to her community & inspire young women & girls to pursue their goals & dreams.

You too can give to the Autumn Hopkins Professional Development Fund via the link below:

For more information on Autumn, her work, & her initiatives, visit the following links:

Autumn Hopkins Art Website:

Aura Lee Gallery Business Website:

Autumn Hopkins, The Ace of Hearts:

"Disfigured Memories" Facebook Live from the Kresge Art Center on April 5, 2021:

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