Homage to Corita Kent

Student work
School: Ohio University
Year: 2015

For this valentine print exchange, I chose to pay tribute to Corita Kent. Besides the fact that she’s Catholic and I could relate to that, I enjoyed the simplicity and fun of her most popular works. I also identify with some of her teachings. For example, she encouraged her students to really observe their surroundings, and I feel like I am so much of an observer sometimes that I forget to be present myself. Another reason I wanted to pay homage to her is that she used her work to spread awareness and create change in the world. I like to think that someday I might be able to do the same thing.

Corita Kent is known for her vibrant serigraphs she made during the 1960s and 1970s. She was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa in 1918. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA and in 1936, she joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and became a nun. In 1946, she began teaching at the Immaculate Heart College (IHC). She became the chair of the art department there in 1964. In 1968, she left the Order and moved to Boston to pursue her passion for art. After losing the battle with cancer, she died in 1986.

Her serigraphs were unique in that they used language as a visual element instead of a functional element. Other characteristics include: bright colors, overlapping colored text, iconography, and messages of hope and acceptance. She was known as the West Coast Warhol for her pop art serigraphs. She often used her artwork to speak out for social causes.

I wanted to make a valentine that could be for everyone, not just people who had sweethearts. I also wanted to make a piece of work about Jesus because I had been toying with the idea that I should use my gifts to give back, and this opportunity was too good to pass up.