Art - Like Life - Is Not Exact Science for TCC Graduate

“It is not an exact science.  It is more of a free flowing thing,” said Teresa Biles, a Tulsa Community College graduate, while discussing how she created a piece of artwork during a fall Printmaking I class.

That piece of artwork was selected as the cover of the college’s 2013 holiday card by TCC President Tom McKeon and his wife Stacey from a handful of student entries.  The card is sent to TCC faculty and staff as well as members of the Tulsa area community.

Biles could use those same words that describe her art, to describe her life, when this wife and mother unexpectedly found herself in different circumstances.  Her life was not as she had sketched it out and she needed to think about her future.  It meant returning to college, picking a career and getting a degree.

She initially thought the medical field would be good but after a few classes she realized it wasn’t what she wanted to do.  “You shouldn’t hate the career you have picked.  Medical coding and billing was something I could have done and been okay – but I didn’t want okay.  I wanted more than that.”

Although it had been nearly 30 years since she started college at OSU, Biles learned through TCC that she was two classes shy of graduating with a Liberal Arts associate degree.  She got her degree in May 2013.  Still not finished with her education, she enrolled in TCC art classes with the desire of pursuing a Fine Arts degree from OSU.

Biles heard about the TCC holiday card competition through TCC Professor Dewyane Pass.  She created the winning entry by monotype, a printmaking style, which uses a clear plexiglass plate to transfer the ink to paper through the use of a printing press.

Her first attempt didn’t go well.  “I forgot to remove the tape around the snowflakes and tore the paper since I wasn’t going to keep it,” said Biles.  “My professor said there are no mistakes in art and convinced me to do another one.  I did like the way it looked and the texture.”  The end result was picked as TCC’s holiday card.

Printmaking is not as detailed as drawing and can be complicated because of the multiple layers of ink but it doesn’t overwhelm Biles, who at the age of 49 is learning that art reflects life because it turns out different than you intended.

“Go for your dream.  Don’t settle for less,” said Biles who has come full circle.  Ironically, she considered majoring in fine arts more than 20 years ago before life colored her future.

Biles received a box of holiday cards she designed and a $500 check from the Tulsa Community College Foundation.

“I am so excited and grateful.  It’s been wonderful to see my design in the form of a card,” said Biles.  “Not that I am downplaying the money – but the experience and joy of people telling me they love the work is beyond being able to express in words.”

PHOTO: TCC graduate Teresa Biles and TCC President Tom McKeon are shown with Biles' artwork selected as the cover of the 2013 TCC holiday card.