Twelve for ’12 (continued)

Artist Lucy Bellwood wrote and drew a comic book (True Believer) as part of her thesis. She also acted in Hum Play, designed the lighting for some one-act plays by Tennessee Williams, and tracked coyotes through the Canyon.
Photo by Matt D'Annunzio

Lucy Bellwood art

Hometown: Ojai, California

Adviser: Pato Hebert [art 2010–]

Thesis: True Believer: An Exploration on the Practice and Practicality of Art

What it’s about: Facing the challenges of making art that speaks to you, particularly in cases where you’d like to make a living from it. There’s a tendency to think that art isn’t real work, that it isn’t a viable career path. Where do those preconceptions come from?

What it’s really about: Having the guts to do what you love.

Who I was when I got to Reed: An impassioned theater rat with a penchant for sailing tall ships. 

Influential book: The Gift and Trickster Makes This World by Lewis Hyde.

Favorite Spot: The Pierce room in the Hauser Library, which houses the college’s collection of art books, is furnished with big mahogany tables, busts of past college presidents, and other objects of interest.

Random Thoughts: My high school English teacher, Dylan Rice-Leary ’02, graduated from Reed and taught in a way that blew my mind. He could bring Macbeth, ramen noodles, game theory, and David Sedaris all together. At the end of the year I said to him, “What is going on here? How did you learn to teach like this?” and he said, “Oh, I went to this place called Reed College. You should check it out.”

Cool stuff I did: I ran a student group called DrawHard, dedicated to stimulating artistic production and connecting students with Portland artists. Got involved in bookbinding and self-publishing. Acted in the Hum Play. Directed a collection of Tennessee Williams one-act plays.

How Reed changed me: I cast my intellectual net as wide as I could, drawing on the things that interested me in all sorts of disciplines, but the real miracle was finally recognizing how I could best combine all those passions and interests into a single identity.

Scholarships, awards, financial aid: Reed would have been a pipe dream had it not been for the generous financial aid. I was a Presidential Scholar, received commendations for academic excellence all four years, and began working on a graphic novel with the help of the Locher Summer Creative Scholarship in 2011, founded by Kaspar Locher [German 1950–88].

What’s next: I’m heading back out to sea aboard the tall ship Exy Johnson and then back to Portland to carve out a spot for myself in the city’s vibrant comics community.

Thesis expanded: 

We have a cultural obsession about genius that either you’re creative or you’re not. If you’re creative, the hand of God has touched you and things flow effortlessly from your pen. Since there’s no effort, you don’t really deserve to be paid for your work. But nobody talks about the fact that creating things, getting your butt in the chair and making things day after day, is really hard, just as hard as going into the lab. It’s all hard work, but if you love it, if it inspires you, it doesn’t feel that way.

VIDEO: Lucy Bellwood

Thought Bubble. At Reed the homework never ends, but Lucy Bellwood ’12 figured out how to use it to channel her passion. Comics will break your heart, she says, but a labor of love gives back to its creator.