- Art |
- Alumni and Friends
Department of Art & Art History graduates have gone on to careers as visual artists, educators, curators and arts professionals who have made important contributions to art in the U.S. and abroad.
Whitney Wood Bailey
City: Brooklyn, NY
Major: Studio Art, 2005
I received a BFA with a concentration in Painting from Auburn University in 2005. I came to Auburn not knowing whether or not I wanted to pursue a career as a professional artist. I left Auburn with certainty as well as the tools that I needed to continue my determined journey as a painter. I attribute that to the excellent faculty at Auburn who grounded us in studio practice and motivated us to challenge ourselves. I also gained an artistic community at Auburn that remains vital to my life as a working artist.
During my time at Auburn, I studied with the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art in Cortona, Italy. After graduation, I did a postgraduate study with Rhode Island School of Design in France. A professor in the RISD program, who became a friend and mentor, encouraged me to move to NYC for a time before starting graduate school. I took her advice and lived in New York for nearly two years where I worked at Paul Kasmin Gallery and studied under painter Larry Poons at the Art Students League. This experience was invaluable in that it provided a true and up-close view of the art world and the struggles and joys that are a part of it.
I received my MFA in painting in 2008 from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta where I was awarded the Artistic Honors Fellowship. These were intensely challenging as well as inspiring years of growth as an art maker. I found that I benefited greatly from the strong and balanced foundation I received from my professors at Auburn. During this time, I interned with numerous artists including Radcliffe Bailey and video artist Patricia Esquivias, and also studied with SCAD in London.
In 2009, I received the New Artist Initiative Award for the Hambidge residency fellowship in Rabun Gap, Ga., and later completed a second residency at the Vermont Studio Center. During a sponsored return trip to France that year, I was fortunate to explore the ancient art caves of southern France. This began my intense fascination with the structural aspects of mark making and it’s relationship to the natural elements. The combination of the two and the suggestions that it poses continues to inform my work today.
I have been fortunate to exhibit internationally in cities including Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as New York and the southeastern U.S. My work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Atlanta, GA, The Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Atlanta and Hong Kong, the Nashville Music City Center in Nashville, TN, and other public and private collections.
I am a professional working artist today in part because of my experience at Auburn. I continue to benefit in studio practice from what I learned from my exceptional professors who were also professional artists, and from the artistic community that surrounded me.
I am currently living and working in Brooklyn NY.
City: Los Angeles, CA
Major: Studio Art, 1996
Nearly a year after receiving my BFA at Auburn University I headed out West spending a couple of weeks camping across the country in a 1979 Volkswagen bus. I was headed for San Francisco, but by accident wound up in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip where I spent almost 10 years until I relocated my studio to Inglewood... I still haven't made it to San Francisco. I met a screenwriter who knew someone at Otis College where I ended up going to graduate school and where I now, 10 years later, am teaching. I've been very fortunate having met some extremely interesting people, amazing artists and other like-minded professionals during my adventure.
I received my BFA from Auburn University in 1996 and an MFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2001. My work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including solo shows at Steve Turner Contemporary, Emma Gray HQ and Circus Gallery in Los Angeles as well as Galerie Andreas Binder in Munich. I have participated in group shows at the Tiroler Kunstpavillon in Innsbrook, Austria; Co-Lab, Copenhagen; Denmark; and MAK Center and Angles Gallery in Los Angeles among others, and Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago. I was the recipient of the prestigious Lari Pittman award and the Otis Grant. I have been reviewed in Artforum and the Los Angeles Times as well as other publications. My work is in the collection of the Royal Danish Academy of Art as well as numerous private collections.
Cooking Light Magazine
City: Birmingham, AL
Major: Studio Art, 2009
When I was freshman in High School I knew exactly what I wanted to be: Staff Photographer for Rolling Stone Magazine. At the time a man by the name of Fred Woodward was the Design Director. I happened to have a friend whose father was a college roommate with Fred at Mississippi State and having that connection, my goal was set. My journey began when I attended Auburn University from 2004-2009 and graduated with a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Photography. After graduating that December I booked a one-way ticket to New York to interview for a photography internship with all my dreams packed into a small suitcase and my fingers crossed.
It turns out I became one of the four selected interns to work four days a week for six months. After completing the six month internship I was ready to book a meeting with Fred, now the Design Director for GQ. Almost a year after landing in New York my meeting was set and I was prepared to create a job out of that meeting. My starting role was assistant to the Art Department. I felt completely out of my element working with the best designers in publishing, so I reverted back to everything my professors taught me at Auburn University. One of the things was to "not overthink the creative process, but allow yourself to learn from osmosis;” physically learning from watching and listening to others around you and trust your training and talent. In New York talented professionals surrounded me and I really took the time to embrace what they had to share. I entered the GQ Art Department at the same time Apple released the iPad, and Condé Nast, GQ’s publishing company, signed on to do digital editions of all their magazines, which put me in a perfect position to thrive. Working with this new format designers had to learn a completely new set of skills and explore how to create new interactive layouts. I immediately became part of this advanced team and spent 2 years as Digital Designer while learning something different daily from brilliant individuals. The knowledge learned from a fast paced company in a fast paced city added another layer to my creative process.
I am currently back in Alabama as the Digital Designer for CookingLight Magazine. A new chapter to my journey is currently in process, but without the foundation and knowledge I acquired from the professors at Auburn University I would not have a career. My education at Auburn was so well rounded I was able to seamlessly transition from a photography graduate to a digital design professional.
University of Denver
City: Denver, CO
Major: Studio Art, 2009
BFA – Center for Creative Studies 1978
MFA – Southern Illinois University 2008
Auburn University 2003-2005
My educational and artistic path has been non-traditional to say the least. Beginning as a Graphic Designer and Art Director in New York and Philadelphia, I branched out to start my own business as an illustrator for 13 years before deciding to return to school full-time to pursue my career as an artist. My focus while at Auburn was in Painting and Sculpture and it was during my time there that I began to find my own voice – I finally began to see what set me apart from everyone else.
Upon leaving Auburn in 2005, I attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois where I received my MFA in Sculpture in 2008. Upon completion of my MFA, my thesis work was included in the Baum Biennial at Central Arkansas University and I was invited to a 9-month Artist Residency at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston, TX. By the end of this residency, I was offered an adjunct teaching position at the University of Denver where I would be teaching Sculpture, 3D-Approaches and Concepts courses. Simultaneously, I was also offered a four-month residency in Fort Collins CO at Art342 – which made my transition a bit easier.
I currently teach as an adjunct at DU and in the winter will also teach a Graphic Design course at Regis University here in Denver. Combined with my teaching responsibilities, I am constantly pursuing an active studio practice and, along with my personal explorations, am currently working on two public commissions. During the summer of 2011, I was an Artist In Residence at Platteforum here in Denver where I finally completed a large-scale piece I had begun in Graduate School, which involved the sewing of a 700 sq. ft quilt into the form of a house – in my case it was exact reproduction of the 10 x 15’ cabin built by Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond.
Much of my work involves a reinterpretation of language and culture and often times involves using materials and histories that are passed over or discarded.
My personal background and the arc of my creative endeavors reflect my willingness and preparedness to pursue opportunities that come my way and while I have been very fortunate in my pursuits, all of this has come as the result of diligence, hard work and tenacity.
Graduate School: Rhode Island School of Design
City: Providence, RI
Major: Studio Art, 2011
I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting from Auburn University in December of 2011. My senior project consisted of works that explored society’s reliance on the automobile and the consequences of this dependency. They further evoked the emotional attachment felt towards our vehicles, the blending of masculinity and femininity, and the endless innovation of technology.
After graduation The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities generously offered me a position as their artist in residence. I did a couple of paintings for their house, as well as designed images for postcards and advertisements. They also offered me studio space for one year. During that time, I continued to work on my own paintings and pushed my work forward. My work was exhibited locally in Auburn, as well as Georgia and New York.
Over the next year I participated in two artist residencies. In April of 2012, the Art Students League of New York offered me a full fellowship to attend a four-week program at the Vytlacil campus. This was such a wonderful experience that allowed me to interact with artists from around the world outside of an academic setting. It completely changed my work and forced me to consider new ways of creating.
The second residency I attended was the Vermont Studio Center, to which I received a partial scholarship. It was completely different than the first residency, but just as rewarding. This one took place in February of 2013, the month before I went to interview for graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, and the Rhode Island School of Design.
This past Fall I started the Rhode Island School of Design graduate painting program. The workload is extremely challenging, but I can already see how much it has improved my work both formally and conceptually. I think the most important thing I have learned so far, from all of these experiences, is that you have to be true to who you are. Always make work that you want to see in the world. I am so fortunate that I have attended such wonderful programs and get to spend my time working towards my dream of becoming an artist.
I know that none of this would be possible without the support of the faculty from Auburn University. Having education and the ability to paint is such a gift; I want to seize every opportunity to share it. I will be forever grateful to the faculty at Auburn University.
Artist, Photographer, Wholesale Account Manager
City: Cleveland, OH
Major: Studio Art, 2008
A year after graduating from Auburn, I became involved first with the local arts community of Auburn by contributing where possible to The Layman Group (local non arts non-profit). I showed work locally in the Auburn area, and got into some juried shows elsewhere in the country during 1st year out of college. A year after graduating, I felt ready to apply to grad schools for painting. With the mentoring and support of the Auburn Art Department's faculty, I felt confident in the work I produced at Auburn, and prepared for the experience. I was accepted at Maryland Institute College of Art, Indiana State in Bloomington, and the Tyler School of Art receiving scholarship/fellowship offers at all three. I chose to go to the Tyler School of Art (Temple University), receiving a Future Faculty Fellowship that funds the entire two year program.
Between the first and second years of grad school I took an opportunity to study abroad in Rome for a month, taking in the art and art history as a means to fuel future work. It was an incredible experience that I found myself prepared for, having gone to Paris in 2007 with auburn art students. I will be graduating from Tyler with an MFA in Painting in spring of 2012, and as an Alabama native, I look forward to further exploring what Philadelphia and the rest of the northeast have to offer. If it weren't for the Auburn Art department, I would have never imagined that where I am now would even be possible.
Receiving the Ritz Foundation Scholarship during my senior year and the Trustees scholarships both had an incredible effect on what I was able to produce as an artist. It allowed me to be more creatively ambitious with my projects, feeling that I not only had the moral support of faculty in my creative endeavors, but financial support as well. Materials as a painter can be expensive, so one can't underestimate how empowering it can be to be only limited by your own ambition, not one's ability to afford supplies. It is hard to imagine that I would have been able to produce nearly as much work during my latter years at Auburn without the Ritz Foundation Scholarship. It was great motivation, working hard to get it, and likewise working hard because I earned it. The Purchaser Awards and the Merit Awards in Art were also great motivators to constantly put out your best work, and to feel that your creative efforts are being appreciated.
City: Charleston, SC
Major: Studio Art, 2010
I can trace back a love for art at a very early age. As soon as my high school teacher affirmed any bit of skill I possessed, I decided to run with it to Auburn University. There, I completed my Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in painting. Looking back, I walked into the Art Department thinking I knew all there was to know at age eighteen. This was where the growing pains took place, as my professors stretched me in relearning the basic fundamentals of shape, line, color, composition, intellectual concept, reference to the “masters”, scale, value, technique, cultural relevance...etc. I went through periods of utter frustration and confusion, questioning “am I even an artist?” “Is this painting by any standards 'good'?”. I continually compared myself to other artists, which discouraged me, but also highly impacted me.
After graduating, I moved to Charleston, SC. As a post-graduate entering into a devastated economic workforce, what was a twenty-two year old art graduate to do? Wait tables. I juggled working at a restaurant, changing diapers at a preschool, and taking commission paintings on the side. After one year of multitasking, I came across a few local artists in town- all young women- who were not only working as full-time painters, but getting national publicity in renowned publications for their work. At that moment, I called my parents and told them I was quitting my jobs and putting all of my effort into painting full-time. I concluded that I would live off of income from commission work in supplication with a small loan, and spent the rest of my time simply completing paintings that I felt compelled to do. After about a year-and-a-half of many destroyed paintings but enough successful pieces to survive, my artistic career was completely sustainable.
As more time passed, my artistic path was successful, but I still felt an urge to work at a faster pace. I had joined a few local galleries and gained more experience in that realm, however it didn't seem to be the most lucrative avenue for providing a fulltime living. Had it not been for the extra commission work, my income would not have sufficed due to the 50% cut that most galleries rightfully keep for selling work. This is when I decided to enter the online market. I learned from other business-minded artists around me tap into popular online publications as means of exposure. I also switched to water-base paint. This allowed me to thrive from quicker drying time and fearlessness of working with less costly materials. From there, a new body of work was born and introduced to a wider audience. As I noticed more traffic to my site, I altered it to enable visitors to purchase work directly from my shop. Since these changes have been made, my artistic career has soared! The more exposure I receive, the more doors open! I have been featured on Glitter Guide, One King's Lane, Design Love Fest, VSCO Journal, Charleston Magazine, Charlie Magazine, and many more. The encouraging response has brought an exciting new wave of motivation to create better work. I couldn't be more thankful. I hope this business model can kill the notion of “the starving artist” and promote creativity for much more than a hobby.
Artist, Gallery Director, Senior Academic Professional
Georgia State University
City: Decatur, GA
Major: Studio Art, 1992
Without a doubt, my experiences as an undergraduate art student at Auburn laid the foundation for my career in the visual arts. In addition to acquiring technical skills and a conceptual framework at Auburn, I participated in my first exhibitions and was encouraged by the professional artists who were my teachers. I have great memories of late nights spent in the studios at Biggin! The faculty really demanded a lot of us and treated us like serious artists. I am grateful for that.
After I graduated from Auburn with a BFA in 1992, I traveled in the United States and abroad. I spent several years in the Czech Republic and supported myself as an ESL teacher. Although as an undergraduate I concentrated on ceramics and painting, I became involved with photography while living in Central Europe. Photography suited my nomadic lifestyle at the time. In the late ‘90s I was accepted to the photography program at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Living, working and studying in New York City was an amazing education. On the basis of a body of work I created as a student at ICP, I was then selected to participate in the MFA program in photography at The Rhode Island School of Design.
Subsequently, I set out to carve a career niche for myself in gallery and exhibitions work. I gained experience through a series of administrative positions in not-for-profit galleries. These work experiences eventually led to my current position as the Director of the Welch School Galleries at Georgia State University in Atlanta where I curate, administrate and teach. It is a challenging and fulfilling position. Atlanta has a vibrant international arts community, and I am fortunate to be able to participate in it as an artist and arts administrator.
Alabama native Cynthia Farnell is a multi-disciplinary visual artist whose projects encompass a range of media including photography, video and installation. Much of her work addresses the shifting meanings of home, place, community and identity in contemporary life.
Farnell has exhibited her work internationally including venues in New York City, France, New England and the southern United States. She has been awarded residencies at The Sloss Furnaces Visiting Artist Program in Birmingham, Alabama and at the Virginia Center For Creative Arts in Amherst, Virginia. Her work is in the permanent collection of the International Center of Photography and the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. She has received grants to support her work from the South Carolina Arts Commission, The Horry County Arts and Cultural Council, Coastal Carolina University and the Humanities Council, South Carolina.
Farnell earned her M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design, her B.F.A. from Auburn University and a Certificate of General Studies of Photography from The International Center of Photography in New York City. She is currently the director of The Welch Gallery at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Farnell’s work is featured in upcoming solo exhibitions at Artspace in Raleigh, North Carolina, and The Myrtle Beach Art Museum in South Carolina. For more information, visit her web site: www.cynthiafarnell.com.
Boston Architectural College + Virginia Tech
City: Boston, MA
Major: Studio Art, 2008
I received a BFA in the Fall of 2008 with a concentration in Painting and Drawing. Although my focus was two dimensional work, much of my time was spent exploring ways that art can have agency in the world around us. At Auburn, I was (and still am) so grateful for a diverse and passionate faculty that was able to help me explore this idea. Post-graduation, I received an internship to work as an arts administration and education intern at the Coleman Center for the Arts in York, AL. I instructed an after school art program and worked with community youth to design and paint a garden mural. In the summer of 2009, I participated in Foresight Design Initiative's Immersion Program (formerly Urban Sustainable Design Studio) in Chicago, IL. Through the program, I collaborated with other participants from diverse backgrounds to develop an approach to community-based sustainable design.
My experience volunteering and working at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art (Auburn University's art museum) provided me with skills that lead to my volunteering for Urban Habitat Chicago, an urban sustainability non-profit. UHC is run by a multi-disciplinary group of architects, landscape architects, biologists, and artists. Here I became involved in a variety of projects that ranged from designing school gardens and green playgrounds to coordinating communication and marketing efforts for the organization.
One of the most important lessons I took from Auburn was a way of thinking of art as layered, complex, and as a great foundation for a multitude of creative careers. Being an artist doesn't have to mean making paintings, sculptures, or even installations (although it certainly can). It has become a way of approaching the world around me. I am currently a candidate for a masters degree in landscape architecture from Virginia Tech, and I've never stopped considering myself an artist. Not a day in studio goes by that I'm not reminded of lessons learned, or utilizing a strategy or technique I learned as a student at Auburn.
I was fortunate to receive several scholarships during my last two years at Auburn. This time of school was especially important in developing my artistic goals and honing my skills. Prior to my senior year, I had been working several jobs in order to support myself through school, and it was particularly difficult to continue doing so as a full time student. The scholarships that I received helped me focus on my studies and remain a full time student during this critical period. I was able to devote more time to volunteering at the university museum, which then lead to my post-graduation internship at the Coleman Center for the Arts.
Creative Designer & Technologist
City: New York City, NY
Major: Graphic Design, 2008
What I do is hard to describe, for it combines practical creativity with information technology and social engineering. But, this thing I do, is a part of me; that of an exciting life of making art pieces and consumable products for people to enjoy.
The best part of a creative mind is not being absurd, silly, or outrageous. It is about taking different ideas to build a new story or solution that is understandable. For instance, thinking differently about censorship, pop culture, and social media has turned a weekend project into an ongoing series of works that not only solved a desired solution for many people, but has also grown into a story of praises, criticisms, and threats from hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Likewise, many late nights collaborating with friends have produced incredible points of interest for global communities, of which began as an understandable idea to document online culture around us.
My education from Auburn was a combination of art, design, and philosophy (BFA in Graphic Design and Philosophy minor, 2008), and it presented me with opportunities to explore and strengthen my creative and critical abilities. So too had those late nights in the art building at Biggin, trying to reach a conceptual clarity and perfectionist craftsmanship.
Since those late nights, I have been fortunate enough to explore the world, including creating highly public pranks with fellow members of the Free Art & Technology Lab in Europe, meeting hackers and creatives in Asia, building unique platforms for online social interaction, or growing a network of inspiring artistic and technical friends in New York City, San Francisco, and beyond. But, hard work or not, none of this would have been possible without the bright talent of the faculty and students in the Art Department allowing for the exploration to try new mediums and concepts.
Greg Leuch is a creative designer & technologist in New York City. He is a virtual fellow of the FreeArt & TechnologyLab (FATLab), member of Artzilla, and has experience building products, technology, and community on the web, including KnowYourMeme, BuzzFeed, and Magma. More information available at gleu.ch.
Austin Peay State University
City: Clarksville, TN
Major: Studio Art, 0
After graduating from Auburn with a focus in illustration, I earned an MFA in drawing from the University of South Carolina. Since that time I have pursued a career in both, exhibiting in galleries and doing editorial illustrations for clients such as Southwest Airlines and How Magazine. I am grateful for many things about my time at Auburn, but especially for the way that the faculty allowed me to move freely between commercial illustration and fine art. That has served as a model for how I've conducted my career, both as an artist and a teacher.
The old, retired, images and documents that I use, many from outdated grammar school texts, have a peculiar beauty and often an accidental esthetic. In these images, diagrams, and maps, the world is represented both as sensible and miraculous, systematic and astonishing. The images in my collages were originally made to be clear and objective, a rational distillation of a mechanical world. Out of context, though, they are rich in beauty and poetry.
My work is made with old-fashioned manual labor. Because I am interested in the lives that these paper fragments led before they entered the studio - as objects rather than simply images - I've elected not to work digitally. My illustration clients come to me for that tactile quality; this sensibility owes as much to my ceramics classes at Auburn as those in illustration.
I have taught illustration and drawing at Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, TN) for 22 years. My clients include Strategy and Business, Poems and Plays, Klutz, Rigby Publishing, Vanderbilt University. I've had solo exhibitions in Cincinnati, Nashville, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Berlin, Germany.
Licensed Art Therapist
SUN Behavioral Health
City: Erlanger, KY
Major: Studio Art, 1992
I completed undergraduate work at Auburn University, with a concentration in sculpture (BFA). My senior thesis was made up of large, found object sculptures, constructed with thousands of reclaimed materials from barns in Southern Alabama. While at Auburn, I explored and expressed more than I ever had before, artistically. With the encouragement of phenomenal professors who held the bar high, excellent courses,and life-changing opportunities (one of which included living in Guatemala--through an arts scholarship earned while attending AU), I became completely devoted to creating daily, and after Guatemala, was forevermore energized about colors and collage, mixing media together, and connecting with others in deep, authentic ways. My purpose is to live from a place of authenticity--and art helps me do just that.
I continued my education at Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio. Art therapy was the focus of my graduate degree -- a Master of Arts in Art Therapy. Combining the visual arts with my interest in helping others seemed like a natural progression. I was completely captivated by the quantifiable psychological benefits of art, and the healing that can happen when one is given the opportunity to create in a supportive, nurturing environment. Over the decades, as a registered and board certified art therapist, I've worked with incarcerated teens, mothers and children in shelters, seniors in nursing homes, with women's support groups, and with county-wide therapeutic art programs. I have displayed work in dozens of public and private venues and galleries throughout the USA and abroad since 2000, including Belgium and Australia, and recently participated in the art-for-all event, ArtPrize, in Grand Rapids, MI, in 2011. Active participation in creating and connecting will continue to be a driving force in my life for the rest of my life. Its like I can't not make art!
City: Houston, Texas
Major: Art History and Business, 2014
I graduated from Auburn in May of 2014 with my bachelor’s degree in art history and a minor in business. After interning throughout my junior and senior years at Auburn with the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, I decided I would continue pursuing a career in art museums. After my third internship, in the development at the Phillips Collection, I was offered a position in the office of corporate relations at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Beginning at Auburn, I was a pre-journalism major and thought, “maybe I’ll minor in art history, because what can you really do with a major in that?” But just after the first few months of my art history intro class, I knew I had to make this my major because of how much I loved it and trust that it would work out.
My first few museum internships were in the education and registration departments of the JCSM in Auburn and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Although I was unsure of the specific spot I’d like to be within a museum, I knew anywhere would be good place to learn. During my first summer at the Phillips, I was encouraged to have coffee with someone who worked in the development department. I knew nothing about development at the time, but I knew I wanted to work in a museum and fundraising must always be a crucial part.
As I continue to learn about development and fundraising, I’ve observed how relationships are often the main ingredient in motivating a willingness to give. I also learned, more personally for me at the time, how relationships or networking are often what motivate a willingness to hire.
In my current position at the Gallery, I continue to see how relationships can inspire communication and productivity. If you have good relationships, you have good communication. If you have good communication, you will get things done. For me, my career was launched by good relationships and is continually sustained and grown by them. Regardless of what you study or do, work at it with all your heart and do your best to make strong connections.
City: Atlanta, GA
Major: Studio Art, 2005
In my family, we have a strong tradition of Auburn graduates. When I went to Auburn, I was the sixteenth member of my family to go there. From a young age I always knew I would go there. However, I didn’t start out thinking that I would get a degree in art. I always had a love of science and art. For the first 2 years of my education, I was a double major in art and chemistry. While I found the theoretical side of chemistry fascinating, I loved the problem solving of the creative process more. This led me to transfer to be a full-time art student. The small class sizes and dedicated professors made the art department a wonderful environment for an undergraduate education. One of the aspects I liked most about the curriculum of the BFA program was that there was an equal emphasis on the development of conceptual, technical, and presentation skills. Since there was flexibility and a wide variety of available classes, as I was pursuing a BFA in painting I was also able to take all of the sculpture classes. Having a broad knowledge of media has helped to make me a well-rounded artist. The strong foundation I received at Auburn allowed me to develop the habits and skill sets to be successful in my art career.
Upon leaving Auburn, I attended the University of Michigan where I received my MFA. My work is currently represented by whitespace in Atlanta, GA. I also have shown in galleries around the southeast and New York City. I have attended residencies at Penland School of Crafts and the Vermont Studio Center and I was the artist in residence at the Atlanta Printmakers Studio and Anchor Graphics.
Hannah Flora Villio
City: Franklin, TN
Major: Studio Art, 2007
Shortly after graduating from Auburn with a Bachelors in Fine art and a Concentration in Painting, I moved to New York City. I suppose I was one of those 'Suitcase and a Dream' cases, as I moved to the city with no job in sight - just a roommate, a handful of connections, a supportive family and loads of optimism. After countless meetings, funny side jobs and only two months, I found myself in a temporary position with a college classmate of my dad's. It turned out, he was a Group Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather and needed a replacement for his assistant while she was on maternity leave. I eagerly accepted and started my journey in the colorful world of advertising.
Jumping in at Ogilvy as a creative assistant was a perfect way to learn, from a birds eye view, how a large worldwide ad agency and it's departments functioned. After three months assisting, I began to form a relationship with the Art Buying team and transferred into their tight knit department. Delighted, I realized that this department was where art met commerce and creativity met production. What an interesting juxtaposition in skill sets! Seemed perfect for a type A painting major that didn't see herself as a professional painter. The Content Production department, formerly known as Art Buying, was responsible for producing both local and worldwide photography and illustration campaigns for a variety of clients. Over the past 6 years, I've moved through the ranks from Coordinator to Junior Art Buyer and now Content Producer and have been able to work with clients like IKEA, IBM, Coca-Cola, BlackRock and American Express.
While honing in on my Art Production skills over the years, I've also pursued a side passion of interiors and DIY projects. I created a lifestyle blog 5 years ago to chronicle the Street Merch I'd constantly run across on the streets of New York. I'd use these thrifty finds to update the Upper West Side apartment I shared with three dear friends. Through necessity and city living, my design philosophy was to make the right now lovely, which is possible for all budgets and spaces. While my blog and design philosophy started as a personal project, it quickly turned into larger scale on-air DIY and Styling projects with features ranging from Time Out New York, Brooklyn Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, HGTV, The Nate Berkus Show, The Queen Latifah Show and The Knot. As I continue to work in advertising full time as well as blogging and taking on design projects, I'm excited about my next big project in the works - becoming a mom in May!