Posted by: Michele Cohen
Maxine Whiteley likes to stay one step ahead of the game when it comes to her future as an aspiring textile designer.
A Fine Arts junior with a minor in Textile Design, Whiteley is diligent about professionally documenting her work on the social media sites Behance and She updates the sites at least once a week.
“I really just want to approach my junior and senior year in the most professional way possible,” Whiteley said. “I feel like I’m ahead of the game and it’s really important to be. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed by the amount of documentation that needs to be done when I graduate. If you get yourself on the Internet as much as possible, it becomes an ongoing practice.”
Whiteley first began documenting her work through a Digital Portfolio class she completed during her sophomore year. She was required to create a Website, as well as Tumblr and Behance pages, and learn how to professionally photograph her work.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Moore began using Behance – the leading portfolio portal – this year as part of the College’s career focused mission.
Behance allows artists to post projects and have a centralized portfolio that links directly with social media networking sites and personal websites. Companies can explore the work and access talent on a global scale.
“After my Digital Portfolio class ended, I just kind of kept up with Behance because I liked that it had all of that documentation of my work,” Whiteley said. “It makes you look a lot more professional. I use my Tumblr page more for works in progress and inspirational images. Behance is more for finished work. My own Website has updates on what I’m doing, gallery shows and a sketchbook project I’m doing right now.”
This summer, Whiteley was contacted by the Double Decker curating agency in London and nominated to be part of the Talents Archive Project of the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens, Greece. She was sent a sketchbook to fill with work that would expose her creative process. When she finishes the sketchbook, Whiteley will send it back to the OCC, where it will be displayed with the books of emerging student artists from around the world.
“Being a part of Talents Archive is an opportunity for me to gain international attention,” she said. “I’m only 20 years old and this is not something I thought I would be capable of doing at such a young age. For me, it feels like an extremely successful beginning to my career. It’s also an opportunity for me to represent Moore at an international level, which is a responsibility I’m honored to have.”
Whiteley has already begun researching where she wants to do her required internship next summer, hopefully in Philadelphia or New York City. In her artist statement, Whiteley said she makes pieces “that resemble textile work through the continuing theme of pattern or the potential of it. I explore these qualities primarily through drawing, painting and sculpture.”
“I recently discovered that I want to work more on interiors than apparel,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of research and it’s important for me to hand draw and hand paint. Companies that hire artists to do preliminary sketches is really important to me.”
Whiteley said she first learned of Moore when she (literally) drove past the College following a high school crew race. Originally from upstate New York, she really liked Moore’s location and Googled the College as soon as she got home. She later came back for a tour and loved it. The rest was history.
“I didn’t apply anywhere else because I felt like Moore was the right place,” she said. “I felt like they wanted me here. Other colleges I felt like I was reaching out to them and trying to get them to notice me and I feel like Moore noticed me right away, which was important to me. They sent me handwritten letters, called and e-mailed me, and it was a more personal process.”
Whiteley has been an artist since high school, where she took Advanced Placement art classes and figure drawing classes at an outside art center.
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist and by knowing that I felt like I really had to think ahead of the game about how to promote myself,” she said. “It’s such a competitive industry so I try to always think of the next step, anything I can do to be prepared for the industry ahead of time.”
As a Visionary Woman Scholar, Whiteley has had the opportunity to network with professionals who are at the height of their industries, particularly at the Visionary Woman Awards, where proceeds are raised to support scholarships.
“Every single year at the gala when I’m sitting next to alumni and people in the industry, I can talk to them one on one, whereas I don’t think I’d get that experience elsewhere. They always give advice that’s really helpful and personal.”
When she’s not busy trying to make a name for herself, Whiteley is active on Moore’s Student Leadership Board and Student Life Committee and recently joined the Textile and Fiber Arts Club. She’s also a work-study student in the Development Office at Moore.