Artists and designers, it’s been said, should leave the world better than they found it, and that’s exactly what students in the School of Art + Design are doing. With undergraduate and graduate degree programs ranging from art (with its nine media areas) and art and technology to product design and sports product design, the school is a hub of creativity, challenging students to develop rigorous studio practices, design thinking, concept development, and experimentation, all while working alongside faculty members who are leading professionals in their fields. Meet six current and former students who are leaving the world better—and more beautiful—than they found it.
Sarah Mikenis, MFA ’16 (art)
Fresh from presenting a new collection at Miami’s Untitled Art Fair in December, Mikenis is making a name for herself in contemporary painting with canvases that are luxe, large-format, and often three-dimensional. The lauded art magazine Juxtapoz recently featured the artist’s “compelling” oil paintings, which are inspired partly by the location of her studio in the fabric mecca that is the Los Angeles Fashion District. Paintings of candy-striped textiles come to life in pieces such as the four-by-three-foot (Super) Imposition, 2018, pictured here.
Julia Sherman, BA ’18, and Thomas Sprott, BA ’18 (material and product studies)
Sherman and Sprott, the team behind the art and design studio Peaches in Eugene, found inspiration to start their business as undergraduates in an industrial ceramics course. Now their minimalist, pastel-hued porcelain sells in chic boutiques such as Portland’s Johan and Mantel. A new line, inspired by a 2018 summer residency in Jingdezhen, China’s porcelain capital, hits shelves this year.
Irene Chau, Class of 2019
When working, Chau meditates on their Taiwanese ancestors and Asian American identity. With artwork such as 吃了沒 ? Have You Eaten?—pictured here and featuring a small table with bowls of overflowing rice—Chau effortlessly blends sculpture, installation, ritual, and performance, inviting the viewer into what feels like a memory. In 2018, the piece won the Dean’s Award at Spring Storm, the School of Art + Design’s annual exhibition for art and design students completing their degrees.
Izzy Cho, Class of 2019
Cho’s storytelling installations honor Asian immigrants and Asian Americans who have, in the U.S., recreated traditional spaces—through décor and ritual—tying them to their heritage. Cho was also a recipient of the 2018 Spring Storm Dean’s Award for Here-and-Now (pictured); the installation references domestic vestiges from her family’s Korean background with objects such as low tables, common in Korean homes, and bojagi, traditional wrapping cloths used for storage, transporting items, and presenting gifts.
Morgan Rosskopf, MFA ’13 (art)
When viewing Morgan Rosskopf’s mixed-media collages, it’s no wonder she calls herself a “maximalist.” Her beautifully dizzying compositions are so saturated in detail and dynamic in color, it takes hours to identify all the parts of the sum, as with Night Garden (pictured). The world is taking notice—Rosskopf’s work has been featured in Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose magazines, as well as exhibits in Portland and the Philippines.
—By Alex Cipolle, MA ‘11 (journalism), College of Design
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