Senior project brings art, music students together


Amanda Kleinhans, art major at The University of Southern Mississippi, arrived at the idea of her Senior Sculpture Collaboration through a series of thoughts about her senior project.

“I have always tried to picture what a song would look like,” Kleinhans said. “What is the color, texture and atmosphere of whatever I’m listening to?”

Last semester, Kleinhans heard about students from the music production department choosing sculptures from the Annual Student Show in the George Hurst building before producing sounds they believed might come from them.

The art students were then invited into the studio to listen to the various sounds their sculptures had inspired.  There, Kleinhans’ ceramic instructor Allen Chen mentioned how interesting it would be to have the assignment reversed and given to his own students.

Kleinhans decided it was just the practice she needed to prepare for her senior project.  

She was paired with music production majors Bryce Ballinger and Clint Raborn and began her project with an abstract piece entitled “War.”

“Instead of catering to the expectations that people have when they envision war, Clint and I took it in a completely different direction,” Ballinger said, describing the “dark and disturbing” turn their composition took as it developed. “We layered multiple samples of distressing radio broadcasts, droning notes, static and even reversed foreign-language clips.”

Ballinger is a self-taught musician who plays the piano, guitar, bass and drums. His mastery of the guitar, coupled with Raborn’s production skill, culminate in what Ballinger calls a “definite experience” made all the more exciting by the nature of Kleinhans’ project—which will feature five or six tracks in total—and the nature of their collaboration.

“In the collaborative arts, the more open you are to shared inspiration, the richer your work,” – director Rupert Goold in The Guardian.

Kleinhans agreed.

“I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to work with Bryce and Clint,” she said.  “When I received my first sound, it wasn’t what I expected – which was great.”

“I really like their style and I have a feel that our styles will work well together. I hope that our collaboration will continue even after our undergrad years. ”

Growing up, Kleinhans was frequently placed in dance, piano and band programs. She had no traditional art education before attending USM but said there is no way she would pursue a life without art.

Although she has no current plans to display her works, she said she may have a solo show in the future to debut them to the general public.