For painters, poets, and musicians in search of inspiration, no place in the world is as sought after as Paris, France. This ancient city is the home of such well known landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Moulin Rouge, and the Louvre Museum. The Louvre itself has showcased the works of some of the most revered and studied painters in modern history; August Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and Vincent Van Gogh. It was against this priceless backdrop that Alecia McClain practiced her craft a mere month ago. She took full advantage of this historical city; admiring the rich history by day, and painting by night. She took in the vibrant culture every chance she got, and wasted no time.
I asked Alecia what took her to Paris. “It’s really a funny story! In January of 2012, I was working on a piece. I worked on it for two days straight! As soon as I finished, I received a random call from an old friend I hadn’t seen forever. He said he had an extra ticket to Paris, and that his friend backed out of the trip. I said yes!” She grabbed her brushes, and left right away.
Alecia became an Alum of Illinois Central College in 2009, having studied under the likes of Doug Day, Ed Stermer, and Jennifer Costa. I asked her what she remembers most about attending Illinois Central College. “I took a sculpting class from Jennifer Costa, and really learned so much! Ed Stermer was great too!” Alecia double majored in Environmental Science and Political Science. She also continued working on her painting, and even did some local musicals. She went on to explain how she couldn’t wait to give back to Illinois Central College. “One night while I was in Paris, I saw a posting on the web that Illinois Central College was looking for a volunteer to paint a mural in the cafeteria. I did some quick sketches of a guy eating a burger, and submitted it. And I got the gig! I was so excited. I’ve always been the type of person that goes at something until I no longer feel alive. Then I move on to the next thing that makes me feel alive.”
Alecia has recently finished her mural in the cafeteria on the wall behind the deli. It is a unique depiction of a brick oven street deli. While wandering the halls of Illinois Central College the other day, I decided to stop by the cafeteria and take a look at it. As I came around the corner, I spotted a peculiar looking man with a black mustache, and a tall white chef’s hat. He had a warm smile on his face, and fat mustache taking in the heat of the oven. He must have been Italian. He was pulling a fresh pizza out of the oven, loaded with meats, red bell peppers, and mushrooms. Behind him was a long shelf scattered with delicious pastries, pies, and tarts. I could hear the cars shuffling about on the street. Small tables were set along the front of the deli, with couples chatting and enjoying their meals over coffee. While taking in this scenery, all done by an Alum, my stomach started to growl. All of this, no doubt, was inspired by Alecia’s late night walks among the streets of Paris, France.
By ICC Student Intern, Ben Lainhart