Squeaky Art - Y Magazine
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Squeaky Art

Studio arts major Madeline McNeil’s (’13) focus is ceramics. But it’s her 2-D art that is garnering attention at the Harold B. Lee Library’s fourth floor help desk where she works. Without the help of projectors or stencils, McNeil uses the library’s stash of dry-erase markers to re-create masterpieces of Monet, Herring, and, her favorite yet, Lichtenstein.


Madeline McNeil points drowning students toward help.

The library has long used whiteboards to advertise its help desks, but when McNeil was hired, she revamped the board’s doodles. “I kind of stole it,” McNeil says of the fourth-floor board. “Art history is on our floor, so I figured I might as well be using the images that we are supporting.”

McNeil began in January 2011 with simple pop-art pieces like those of Piet Mondrian and worked up to impressionist paintings like Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses. The pop art is easier, she says, because “color blending is impossible on a whiteboard.” Marker testing is crucial. “Sometimes,” she notes, “different markers that are almost out of ink will work for a lighter blue.” And all dry-erase brands aren’t equal. Her preference: EXPO. “They have a really broad brush.”

McNeil left in April to student teach, but her final Lichtenstein will stand until a new employee picks up the markers.

— Courtney A. Manwaring (’15)