Photo courtesy of Husson University

Wheat paste wall images of original tattoo designs fill the Robert E. White Gallery

BANGOR – Husson University students enrolled in the “FA230 – Mixed Media Explorations” class have created an art installation called “Anchors Away” that honors the artistic design of “Sailor Jerry” tattoos. The installation consists of large wheat paste tattoo designs affixed to the walls of the gallery.

“‘Sailor Jerry’ tattoos have a distinct style.” said Kathi J. Smith, MFA an associate professor in the College of Science and Humanities. “These works are characterized by bold, crisp lines with pops of color that create emphasis within the image. These tattoos are primarily nautical in theme.”

An artist reception where the public can meet the student artists and enjoy this exhibition runs from 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 9 in the Robert E. White Gallery, adjacent to the campus center in Peabody Hall. Peabody Hall is located at 54 College Circle in Bangor on the campus of Husson University. Anyone who cannot attend the opening reception is welcome to visit the show over the course of the next month. The exhibition runs from through Dec. 7. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for viewing and reflection.

The show is student designed and curated. “FA230 – Mixed Media Explorations” is a fine arts elective that is open to all Husson University students. In this particular course, students work with a variety of different materials including: drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and design. Through their sketchbook and course work, students develop creative thinking and problem solving skills.

“I am very proud of these students. They worked so hard to create this installation,” said Kat Johnson, MFA, an adjunct faculty member who shared her insights with Husson students in the mixed media class. “The entire class worked together on what became a true collaboration. It’s our hope that anyone who visits the gallery enjoys this installation.”

More about the Exhibition:

One of the several different types of media introduced in the mixed media class was wheat paste. The history of wheat paste can be traced back to the 1890s and has often been used to post political or revolutionary messages.

Artistic expressions using this medium require students to create an adhesive composed of water and flour. This glue is then applied to a wall with a paint brush. A printed paper image is then placed atop the glue. Air bubbles are pressed out as the paper is pressed to the wall. Student artists then apply an additional layer of wheat paste over the image to complete the process. 

Each student was required to come up with multiple nautical inspired designed. After they each developed multiple options, the students narrowed their selections down to the one image they would include in the show. This image became their very own wall-sized “tattoo.”

This was achieved by creating a thumbnail of their image and then tracing it to paper using an overhead projector to scale the image to full size. The silhouette had to be thickly outlined in black paint before filling it in with brilliant color, mirroring the “Sailor Jerry” tattoo style. The entire process, from start to finish, was a class collaboration.

More about the Robert E. White Gallery at Husson University

Artists with connections to Maine who work in every possible medium including watercolors, oil paintings, pastels, sculptures, acrylics, photographs and etchings, are featured at the Robert E. White Gallery.

With a new show approximately every eight weeks, the gallery provides students with a glimpse into how New England artists express themselves, giving them added insight into the place where they’ve chosen to go to school. The gallery was established in 1992 and named for, and endowed by, Husson alumni and former Board of Trustees Chair Robert E. White ’65.

For additional information, contact Kathi Smith by phone 207-941-7004 or by email at

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