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Published December 01, 2011, 10:36 PM

NDSU art exhibit explores the concept of perception

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - An art major at NDSU is turning his thesis into a social test. Do appearances change the way people are treated? Travis Beauchene's yearlong project will be the main attraction at the NDSU Gallery.

An art major at NDSU is turning his thesis into a social test. Do appearances change the way people are treated? Travis Beauchene's yearlong project will be the main attraction at the NDSU Gallery.

Travis Beauchene is hard at work putting together his art exhibit. Over the last year he has transformed himself into different people by coloring his hair, dressing differently, and even changing his personality, just to see how people would react.

Travis Beauchene – Artist: “My longer hair I would dress in really raggedy clothes you know and sort of gave off that vibe in a sense and then once I cut my hair I started wearing suits around and so all of a sudden I went from A to Z how people treated me.”

He would ask strangers, close family and friends, and students to describe his appearance in one word. The words used to describe him are now written on one of the walls he built in the Gallery.

Travis Beauchene: “The majority of people fell right into the sort of system that I thought would happen, where, yes, they more so reflected the outward appearance.”

Beauchene didn't only use the participants to help further his research, he also painted a portrait of each one, all 111 of them.

Travis Beauchene: “I took photo documentation also video documentation of each person, so from there I was able to get the image of each person and then also that video and those photographs will be played in the exhibit as well.”

The common theme throughout Beauchene's one year journey was to show people not to judge a book by its cover.

Travis Beauchene: “I knew that would be the case in a sense where I knew people would look at you differently, but until you actually do it, and you know confront people face to face.”

Although Beauchene graduates next week, he says this project is just the beginning.

Travis Beauchene: “This show isn't really the end of my undergrad career, but it is more of the start to everything else.”

The exhibit will be on display in the gallery until January 10th.

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