Teen of the Week: WVUP student’s artwork focuses on Marvel, Star Wars
PARKERSBURG — West Virginia University at Parkersburg student Joseph Whipkey has a tendency to turn real life into art, including superheroes, athletes and landscape into stills that have been on display from art exhibits to hallways of the college’s campus.
Nearing the end of his freshmen year after graduating from Parkersburg South High School in the spring of 2020, Whipkey first started drawing by tracing Pokemon and other characters from books until he moved on to freehand.
Freehand drawing is the ability to draw something without depending on instruments, like rulers.
Struggling at first when drawing portraits, but with help from his art teacher in high school and continuously working on his craft, Whipkey now believes that it is one of his strong points.
“My freshman year, my art teacher Mrs. White always helped me out with a lot of things. We did portraits because I always had trouble with faces. With her encouragement, I was able to get it finished. I thought it looked pretty good,” Whipkey said.
Whipkey preferred his artwork to be more on the realism side, from scenery to human subjects, with his favorite drawing characters from the Marvel and Star Wars universes. He also found out that abstract was not his style when experimenting.
When drawing, Whipkey uses pencil, digital and watercolor styles.
Whipkey has been participating in many art events in the Mid-Ohio Valley since his first art show as a middle schooler at Blennerhassett Middle School. That includes art fairs in high school, to even having his artwork on display during Artsbridge events.
A member of the honor roll in high school, Whipkey first took classes at WVU Parkersburg as a senior for college credit. During the spring semester in 2020, his class was made strictly online after the campus was shut down due to COVID-19.
With the change and having the majority of his freshmen year participating online, Whipkey did say that the transition of moving to virtual helped him prepare when becoming a student in the fall.
“We had them in person until March and then after that we went online,” Whipkey said. “So that kind of helped me transition into the college online classes. Definitely not what I expected college to be, I mean nobody does. But it has definitely has helped me with the transition and being able to plan everything out.”
Part of the digital communication program, Whipkey said he has a big passion for radio broadcasting, preferring to listen to morning talk shows and music stations. Whipkey also said that the fact WVU Parkersburg is the only community college in the state with a radio station was a big selling point of the college.
Unable to record a show due to COVID protocols during the school, Whipkey hopes to have his first show in the works during the summer but is unsure of what the subject will be.
“I’ve always loved listening to radio stations as a kid. I’ll wake up and instead of watching TV, I’ll listen to the radio. They always just seem like they have so much fun, just laughing and joking around doing all these fun things. That’s pretty cool,” Whipkey said. “Not many freshmen can say they have their own radio show, definitely psyched about that. Not sure yet on what I want to be aiming towards, definitely something that I love and maybe other people enjoy too.”
Tyler Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org