Meet our first-year mfa students University of Notre Dame - Department of Art, Art History & Design

Photography

Brittany Williams

Albuquerque, New Mexico

What is it about the program that appealed to you?

The two main aspects that appealed to me about the MFA Photography program are firstly, the extensive amount of guidance and support that is given to the student to ensure growth and success as an artist. Second, I was not only drawn to the access of different mediums, but the encouragement to explore and apply to them to my practice as I am very interested in expanding my photographic work beyond the confines of the photograph itself.

What inspires you as an artist?

I am inspired by photographers, writers, sculptors, performers, etc. that are able to create a dialog to the viewers about ideas and concepts that are not necessarily physically visualized, i.e. the sub-conscious, psyche, emotions.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

Currently, my favorite artist is Roger Ballen. I am interested in the way he uses space, objects, and the human body to create metaphorical representations of the mind.

What is your favorite artwork that you've created?

My most recent favorite photograph that I have made is titled "Riven", part of my "need; lacking:" project.

Sculpture

Michael Davis

Phoenix, Arizona

What is it about the program that appealed to you?

The diverse academic community available as well as the financial support and grant opportunities offered.

What inspires you as an artist?

The daily interactions of life and what is happening around the world.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

This is a difficult question for me as I have so many depending on what type of art is being discussed. Classically and currently, I would have to say Bernini because I have a fascination and dream of creating with stone. His skill and narratives are truly incredible and awe-inspiring.

What is your favorite artwork that you've created?

My favorite piece I have created is the sculpture Allegory of Conformity #1.

Industrial Design

Carly Hagins

Cincinnati, Ohio

What is it about the program that appealed to you?

Many things about the program appealed to me! The faculty are extremely engaged with the students and are doing interesting and dynamic design and research work of their own. The program is small, which means class sizes are small, and the opportunity to make an impact is big. And I'm excited to pursue an MFA in Industrial Design at a University that has so many incredible resources paired with a truly international student body.

What inspires you as an artist?

Industrial Design has a strong focus on problem solving. But in order to be really good at problem solving, you must first be really good at problem finding. It's because of this that people—from the person pouring your coffee in the morning to the person riding their bike to work to the person watching the local news at the end of the day—inspire me. Talking with all sorts of people leads to insights that help make progress toward problem finding—and problem solving.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

Edward Hopper is my favorite artist right now. He did a series of sun-soaked paintings of New England that really evoke the feeling of the region I've called home for the past 6 years. If I were to choose someone closer to the field of Industrial Design, it would be Jan Chipchase. Jan has redefined ethnography for designers and is doing fantastic work to help designers do better, richer research.

What is your favorite artwork that you've created?

I'm fond of this two-handed electric mixer I designed for children who do not yet have the strength or dexterity to 'drive' a standard electric mixer.

Visual communication design

Sana Khan

Karachi, Pakistan

What is it about the program that appealed to you?

The fact that the program ingeniously knits research methodology with the design skillset, while catering to the requirements of professional practice and academic careers, appealed to me the most. It has a unique framework that allows individuals to grow and create their own voice in a world of design.

What inspires you as an artist?

I can’t put my finger on one thing, it’s an array of experiences and things that have stirred an artistic sensibility, a sensibility I carry with me into my visual design.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

I’ve a long list of favorite artists but Storm Thorgerson is on the top because I see him as a pioneer of modern day surrealism. I love how he merged ordinary things together to create something absolutely extraordinary!

What is your favorite artwork that you've created?

Padmasana - The Ibex and the yoga posture both symbolize strength and vitality. Men and animals might not have the same language but they have similar energies flowing through them. Both have a dependency on each other, because if animals didn't exist, men wouldn't have known how to act like one. Spaced Out – a gif that showcases life to be a combination of being conscious and willingly unconscious.

Painting

Katherine neece

South Bend, Indiana

What is it about the program that appealed to you?

The individual focus and attention of the program as well as the reputation of Notre Dame as such a prestigious institution.

What inspires you as an artist?

I am inspired by the discourse of painting changing and evolving with the external influences of digital culture.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

My favorite artist is Christian Rex van Minnen. I absolutely love the technical execution in his painting and his strange and playful subject matter.

What is your favorite artwork that you've created?

"Parallax", oil on panel, 2017

ceramics

coleton lunt

Seattle, Washington

What is it about the program that appealed to you?

Giant kilns, good funding, and the reputable name of Notre Dame.

What inspires you as an artist?

The red rocks of the South West, the forests and abundance of water in the Pacific Northwest, and being lost in the moment of creation.

Who is your favorite artist? Why?

Alexander Calder- His range of work is diverse, profound, and playful. He made everything from small scale kinetic sculpture to monumental steel structures. He made jewelry, fountains, furniture, video, and incorporated mediums such as time, and light. He pretty much did it all.

What is your favorite artwork that you've created?

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