Erick Maldonado '18: BFA in Painting

Created a solo exhibition highlighting African-American student life on campus.

Erick Maldonado - CVPA - BFA Painting - Class of 2018
  • Year: Class of 2018
  • Major: BFA Painting
  • Minor: Art History
  • Hometown: Lawrence, MA
  • Honors: Dean's List
  • Research: Office of Undergraduate Research, Summer Research Grant

CVPA: a community

I first became interested in pursuing my passion in the arts in high school, and have been a painting major in the College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA has helped me build up the confidence and professional merit that will continue to follow me in my career. It's been a pleasure to work with such creative, professional, and dedicated faculty.

CVPA is a community: the faculty, the students, and the curriculum operates so that everyone has to engage in the community. We go to galleries and museums together; we have conversations about work; we talk about our work and share ideas so that our research is strong. What CVPA has allowed me to do is expand my horizon, as part of a collaborative. I enjoyed experimenting with professors who challenged me, colleagues who communicated the same amount of passion I have, and honing my craft.

 

Erick Maldonado Painting 1 - BFA Painting Class of 2018

Opportunities to create, curate, exhibit

One highlight of my experience here at UMassD has been working alongside hardworking, dedicated, and exceptionally skilled faculty. CVPA faculty members have instilled in me the qualities of integrity, passion, charisma, and responsibility.

Whether it was through my work, within the UMassD community, or through conversation, the attention is exceptional. I feel very blessed to have been given this opportunity. I’ve helped co-curate "A Visionary Campus: Paul Rudolph and UMass Dartmouth" exhibition (which will now be a part of the school’s permanent collection); I’ve exhibited my own prints in New Bedford’s downtown City Hall, had my own solo-exhibition in a gallery, and have collaborated to create a Senior Exhibition.

Identity & inspiration

My work is a reflection of my identity. I am constantly trying to communicate stories, purposes, and lives. I combine broad references from portraiture and pop culture. I developed an early interest in drawing and mixed media, particularly the work of Mark Bradford and Romare Beaden, and draw inspiration from contemporary fashion, urban hip hop, and architecture.

Erick Maldonado Painting 2 - BFA Painting Class of 2018

Creative research: solo exhibition

Last year I was honored to receive a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research. I was supported by Dr. Pamela Karimi and Professor Bryan MacFarlane.

I used the funds to do research, purchase painting materials, and organize a solo exhibition featuring African-American students on campus. My intention was to express the narratives of students of color and how they shape history through portraiture, stature, and imagery. My subjects included students from campus who have interpersonally succeeded in bringing awareness of blackness on campus, continue to inspire and change the frame of blackness on campus, and who evoke a tradition of black representation that also displays the beauty of the community on campus.

The overall vision of my project was to unite a group of people in the common goal of embracing culture.

I learned how to do everything from writing a grant to hanging my own work in an exhibit space.

Working as an artist

My plans following graduation are to continue working as an artist and developing as much professional merit as possible. I plan on continuing my work in Lawrence, MA with my own studio. I will be using my skills in painting to implement and improve my craft.

More information


College of Visual and Performing Arts, Features Commencement, Gallery