Amanda Finstrom
Amanda Finstrom

Amanda Finstrom

Year Graduated: 2019
Amanda Finstrom is graduating with a Bachelors of fine arts in graphic design from the University of South Dakota. Throughout her time at USD she has been involved in many community groups, teaching art classes at the Vermillion Public Library, Austin Elementary, and Washington Street Arts Center. Being a graphic designer has given her the opportunity to do freelance work outside of her classwork and connect with the community. As an upcoming graduate of USD, Amanda plans to move down to the Arizona area and begin her career as a graphic designer in the area of UI/UX and branding.

Artist Statement

I have been interested in the fine arts ever since I was in elementary school. Entering college, I knew I wanted to lead on a similar path. Graphic design has a diverse range of paths I can explore and also allows a creative outlet beyond the screen. Passionate about the correlation of the physical and digital experience, my work explores dendrology and how external factors impact the lifespan of a tree. I delve into the process of exposed tree rings and how time impacts organic elements. Acknowledging the influence society has on the development of trees, my work displays progression of the industrial footprint. Always interested in the environmental impacts of present day today, I am driven to make a green mark through my work. Focusing on the experience, my motivation and purpose is guided through the positive impacts my work has on people and the world. Whether it be for myself or other individuals, knowing my work has brought joy and meaning is the motivation of my calling as a graphic designer.

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Andrew Lawrence Cooper
Andrew Lawrence Cooper

Andrew Lawrence Cooper

Year Graduated: 2018
Andrew Lawrence Cooper was born in Muscatine, Iowa on May 20, 1994 to David Cooper and Anna Cable. Not long after, he moved into their place and started freeloading with his older sister. After six years of brief stints in other small, Iowan towns, of which one had summoned another sister, the family made their way to Vermillion, South Dakota, the place Andrew would call home for the next 18 years. At a very early age, Andrew had shown an interest in mark-making and was well known as that curly-haired kid who didn’t talk much but could draw a pretty sweet dragon. Much of his childhood was spent absorbing cartoons and regurgitating his own set of oddballs inspired by the likes of The Simpsons and Cartoon Network’s Friday night lineup, each with their own unique personalities and stories. These days, Andrew absorbs music and films more than anything, with a particular fondness for the odd and experimental. Visual media has always been one of those things that would remind him that his heart still beats and nothing will ever get in the way of that; after graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design, his plan is to continue creating, learning, and growing. Andrew would like to thank his family, friends, and anybody else he’s interacted with. Everybody leaves an impact in some way.

Artist Statement

The relationship between sound and image has always been something that moves me. During my time here in the fine arts program, I have deepened my personal connection with the visual and found new emotional association in the auditory. Music became more than something to occupy another one of my senses. This led me to listen more actively, and in doing so, the habit of playing with sound became almost compulsive. I felt like I was using the sound to draw; making marks that are felt rather than seen. In experiencing several instances of failure and flourish while going to school, I had also deepened the understanding of my emotions. Loop Hold is a personal reflection on emotion itself; the inescapable cycle and pattern of the lows and highs, the similarities between them, and their grasp on our abilities to progress. The colors that are used represent the impact and prominence of these feelings, with some being produced gradually, others happening without warning, and all of them being adopted into a progressive moment of self realization.

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Ashley Zimmer
Ashley Zimmer

Ashley Zimmer

Year Graduated: 2019
Ashley Zimmer is an art education major/psychology minor with a studio specialization in painting from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She will be graduating from the University of South Dakota in May, and will begin graduate courses at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts beginning July of 2019. Zimmer was recently accepted to Lesley’s dual degree, low-residency program for Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling, and will be working to complete those degrees for the next few years. She hopes to teach in the Sioux Falls area throughout her schooling, and will continue her current body of work simultaneously. Her current work features a series of oil paintings that stemmed from her frustration from the recurring societal pressure of needing to conceal and constrict various parts of the human body in an indisputably uncomfortable way. She began her work by researching the constriction of her own body, expanding to women who shared the same experiences, and hopes to explore further with her work to a wider variety of body types, genders, and ethnicities.

Artist Statement

My body of work comes from a place of personal and honest frustration with the fact that it is seemingly imperative for me to wear a bra in public. There are people who may find that a bra is completely unnecessary in their wardrobe, and there are some who may need the support before their backs give out. The point is that the bra isn’t always necessary. With this realization at the forefront of my brain, I began to consider positive and negative space and how this could relate to my content. My first paintings started with a zoomed in, confined composition of two different bodies. The bodies are depicted in exaggerated imagery in order to emphasize the end-of-the-day need to rip off an incredibly tight and uncomfortable undergarment. I decided to paint the undergarments as white as the gesso behind the oil layers in order to create the negative space I desired. However, I thought about how I could completely eliminate painting that space. The negative space started revealing itself as raw canvas, therefore displaying the negative to me earlier on in the painting process. This idea appealed even more to me. There was an undeniable parallel being presented: the canvas stretches and secures itself around the frame of the stretcher, much like an undergarment can be stretched and latched around a body. I wanted to leave the raw canvas exposed in a couple of different ways to display this parallel, so the canvas can be seen spilling outside of the stretcher frame and within the painting’s borders. My paintings are continuing to evolve in terms of composition and content, and this series will be ongoing until I feel I have done my concept justice

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Beckett Smith
Beckett Smith

Beckett Smith

Year Graduated: 2018
Beckett Smith was born in October of 1992 and lived in the same house in small town Aurelia IA all his life. His father started and ran a successful construction company and his mother handled all of the bookkeeping for the business. Smith lived in the town of about 1200 but worked on the family farm fixing and driving equipment. Growing up Beckett had many jobs from working construction for his dad to wind turbine tech and bicycle mechanic just to name a few. Throughout high school Smith drew and painted in art classes and non-art classes alike.After graduation Beckett attended Western Iowa Tech Community College with an emphasis in graphic design. His transfer to the University of South Dakota was prompted by taking painting classes from USD graduate students teaching painting classes at WITCC. After a tour and a meeting with the art department chair, Smith knew this is where he would finish his college career. He transferred in as a graphic design major but found his niche in sculpture. The faculty really took Beckett under their wing and he attended Iron pours and metal casting conferences. This solidified the choice made by Smith to become a sculpture major.

Artist Statement

Materials are an important part of my work, I often look to common building materials as a medium of choice. This is in part due to the ready availability of materials, and heavily draws on my previous experience working construction for my father. However, the way in which materials are used can be vastly different from their intended use. The literal weight of an object is of great interest in the work you see here today. Materials should not always be taken at face value or as an honest truth. I hope that my work gets people to stop and think about truth; how even if you feel familiar with something and you think you know it inside and out it warrants a closer look. I think those who do look closely gain more of an understanding of my work, but in contrast, those who quickly glance are an important part of these works being successful. Shadow has been a very intriguing subject to me but by its nature has been difficult to adopt. In my use of space I wanted to use lighting to create a mood that shares some of the same irony as my works. The result is a space that is as dim as it is well lit.Much of my work can be seen as a comment on how things are not built to last in the “throwaway society” in which we live. Additionally, I am very interested in giving my pieces the appearance of a long history sometime before I ever touched them. In closing, I hope to fool a passing glance into thinking something is something else, and reward a keen observer.

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Briana Earl
Briana Earl

Briana Earl

Year Graduated: 2018
Briana Earl was born in 1994 to Tammy and David Earl. She was raised in Yankton, South Dakota where she graduated from Yankton High School in 2013. In high school, Briana was interested in fine arts and was pushed by faculty to pursue her studies. She then continued her education by enrolling at the University of South Dakota to obtain Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts with a specialization in Photography and a minor in Art History. During her time at the University she took part in many different opportunities including participating in student groups such as Student Art Alliance and Sculpture Culture. She also had the chance to participate in work-studies where she worked underneath John Banasiak as a lab assistant and continued working with Sara Hansen-Parek in the archives and special collections in USD’s library. In her undergrad experience, Briana has also had the opportunities to show her talents in juried exhibitions such as: Women, Gender, and Sexuality: Culture for Change at the University of South Dakota (2017), the State of the Union presented at the Memorial Union Gallery at North Dakota State University (2018), and multiple Stilwell exhibits, ending with a grad school purchase award in 2018. In the last year, Briana was also chosen in a competitive application process by University of South Dakota’s art department faculty to be able to partake in an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to visit artist studios and museums. After graduation, Briana plans on obtaining a Master’s degree in Art History and Library Science. With her interest in art history and historical process, Briana plans to enter the work field as a Photo Archivist.

Artist Statement

During my senior year, I have chosen to focus on the distortion of how society views women based on stereotypes, stigmas, and experiences. I was interested in hearing stories from other women about how they deal with many different subjects including gender, sex, sexualization, objectification, gender bias, healthcare, assault, and other topics that relate to the documentation of the “woman’s experience.” These conversations guided me to topics that were issues for a large demographic and I began to explore these problems through my work.One of the leading factors to my work is my process and how it relates to my topics. Some of my favorite processes I work with are mordancage, cyanotypes, and waterslides. Each one of these has unique effects that relate to themes such as transparency, reflection, degeneration, and color in relation to emotion and experience. I have also always been interested in alternative processes and historical methods and how it positions itself in the technology age. I think this relation also informs my work because my art positions itself in both film photography, digital photography, and sculpture. Mordancage and cyanotype are thought to be non-digital processes, but for the majority of my work I incorporated both formats, ranging from traditional film development, scanning, photoshop, or printing.I also believe that these historical and digital techniques physically “blend” my narrative of historical perceptions of women with current issues. Many of the stereotypes and perceptions of women are ground in a long and deep history of a patriarchal society. I feel like this perception of women throughout history, especially art history, is still affecting how we see, identify, and relate to gender today. I would like my work to facilitate a place of reflection on these perceptions of women and identity along with continuing a conversation to help change current women’s issues.

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Brooke Larsen
Brooke Larsen

Brooke Larsen

Year Graduated: 2018
Brooke Larsen is a senior graphic designer major from Marshall, Minnesota. As a child, she became very interested in art projects, crafts and painting which continued to develop as she grew older. People were impressed with her work and started requesting her to create a variety of different projects for them. She was featured in the Marshall Independent newspaper during high school because of her work and her freelance clientele.When it came time to select a college and career, she decided to attend the University of South Dakota and major in elementary education because of her love for children. She soon realized that furthering her artistic abilities was something she wanted to pursue as a career instead. While attending USD, and pursing graphic design, she dual enrolled in the Iowa School of Beauty and received a nail technician license. This career helped her develop and express her creativity even further. Graphic design helped Brooke create a solid brand for herself in her nail career. From developing a logo, making business cards, to creating a website, graphic design was helping her market herself in a skillful way. When Brooke received a position as a nail technician in Vermillion, after graduation she helped design different publication designs for the business she was working for. This helped her determine that an art career was truly for her. Brooke’s work is detail orientated and she spends a great amount of time on projects to make them creative and exceptional.

Artist Statement

This piece is a brand identity for a 2018 vintage themed wedding. Weddings in today’s society are known for being particularly extra and extravagant. Brides striving to create a “dream wedding” is raising total expenses of weddings remarkably fast. Reality TV Shows like Say Yes To The Dress, My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding, and several other reality wedding shows have influenced our culture to try and create their “fairytale” style wedding. Many brides choose specific themes for their “big day,” and “vintage” seems to be one of the most admired reoccurring themes of this era. If you were to google, “vintage wedding” your feed would be filled with beautiful modern brides in stunning lace dresses, neutral toned color palettes, and gorgeous flower accents. What you wouldn’t see would be photos from couples’ weddings from the past. Yes, social media and photo access was not established like it is now, but this “vintage” theme truly isn’t an imitative style, but more its own singular standing style.After helping with the decorating of my sister’s wedding in 2014, I realized how much work and expenses it took to create a certain desired wedding look. I enjoyed the excitement of planning out a wedding and then bringing it to life. While looking back at my parents’ old wedding photos, an idea arose. I had the idea to rebrand and recreate their wedding accessories as if it was 2018. I expended their color palette of white and blue with a few other added colors of my choosing and generated a logo for them. I then renovated their wedding invitations, program and created many other items that are usually included in today’s wedding accessories. Custom bride and groom wine glasses, water bottle labels, stickers, labeled coasters and maid of honor and best man gifts were just some of the added accessories I created for their wedding. As a graphic designer I enjoy doing typography and branding work and very much enjoyed incorporating my wonderful parents and their special day into this piece.

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Brooke Maag
Brooke Maag

Brooke Maag

Year Graduated: 2018
Brooke Maag (Novacek) was born in Omaha, Nebraska on February 27th, 1995. Maag’s parents Keri and Terry Novacek, encouraged art from an early age. In high school, Maag got the privilege of taking many art classes. The program at Millard West High school offered advanced classes in painting, drawing, and ceramics. Maag took every art class offered, but decided to push art aside to pursue another passion in college.Starting college as a special education major, Maag found herself missing the art world and switched her major to Art Education. Through taking classes at the art building on the University of South Dakota campus, Maag discovered a love for working with clay. This became such a passion; she decided to switch her major again, but to fine art with an emphasis in ceramics.Through the program at USD, Maag has gained a great understanding of the material. The ceramics program has a wood kiln as well as a salt kiln. The atmospheric firings are the center of the program and offer great opportunities to immerse oneself in this particular medium. Visiting artists at the university have also contributed to her pieces. A quote from Chuck Hindes remains the center of her work; “Irregularity is beauty.”

Artist Statement

This group of ceramic work is functional featuring wheel thrown and hand built variations. Much of the focus is put on the utilitarian value, as well as possessing a visually interesting design. Functional work creates a dialogue with the viewer and how viewer can use the piece in everyday life giving it precious value. Through atmospheric firing and the overall making process, textures are created, causing the piece to engage the sense of touch. The atmosphere in the wood kiln and salt kiln emphasizes the texture put on the outside of the piece through melted wood ash and volatilized salt.

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Carly Ribstein
Carly Ribstein

Carly Ribstein

Year Graduated: 2018
Carly Ribstein is a visual designer from the Sioux Falls area. She grew up surrounded by a family full of artists, which proved key in discovering her career path. Feeling drawn to nearly every medium, she found it difficult to land on an area of emphasis for her degree, but found a passion for graphic design midway through her time at USD. Since learning about architectural styles in early art history courses, Carly has held an interest in the trajectory of architecture through time, and its correlation to artistic movements.Carly currently works part time for Lemonly, a graphic design agency in Sioux Falls that specializes in visual storytelling through infographics. She will be moving into full time work this summer, where she can continue to build her design skills and create interesting visuals.

Artist Statement

The Coalescing Constructions series features a collection of architectural combinations exemplifying the visual connections between two separate buildings. These combinations represent a wide range of architectural styles, and stem from a number of different regions, including: China, Italy, India, Denmark, Russia, Mongolia, The United States, Belgium, Malaysia, France, and South Africa. While the styles, regions, and time periods vary widely within each composition, the two buildings pair together visually – creating a resolute link between the halves. The two design styles represented within each composition creates a distinction between the buildings, but affirms a connection nonetheless through clear visual similarities and closure. These connections seek to represent a level of equality and harmony within each composition and throughout the series as a whole. In these studies, each building is removed from its surroundings and placed in a clean environment to be interpreted as a new coalesced construction.

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Chad Hatanpa
Chad Hatanpa

Chad Hatanpa

Year Graduated: 2019
I was born and raised in Southwest Minnesota, as the youngest of four children. I was first exposed to ceramics at the age of 6, and instantly became enamored with the art form. I first began working with clay as a freshman in high school, and quickly decided that it was to be my career path. I continued with clay into college, at the University of South Dakota, where I am currently receiving my BFA in Studio Art, a minor in Art History, and a certificate in Printmaking.

Artist Statement

In my current body of work, I am exploring engagement, community, familiarity, intimacy, utility, and relationships. I am exploring these themes through the forms that I make, the ways in which I decorate them, and the methods I use to fire them. I am currently focusing primarily on functional dinnerware, but I have also been exploring larger forms such as pitchers and vases.I fire the majority of my work in wood kilns for a number of reasons: I enjoy the wide variety of surface results that this method of firing produces, as well as the community that this type of firing creates. The cooperation, coordination, and engagement of the different people that come together to make the firing happen are important to the work that I am creating.I have also been utilizing slips detailing and textural elements to explore themes of familiarity and intimacy through imagery that relates to my own experiences growing up. I apply these elements to my functional forms to foster discussion and engagement with those who choose to use my wares.

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Charlee Riker
Charlee Riker

Charlee Riker

Year Graduated: 2019
Charlee Riker was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota in 1996. Throughout grade school she immersed herself into performing arts such as theatre, choir, and orchestra. She was in several design and drawing classes throughout high school, and in her senior year she took her first photography class with her mentor and teacher, Lisa Evans, who inspired her to continue to pursue her curiosity into this area of visual art. Charlee had originally planned to take a gap year to work and travel after her high school graduation; however, a month before graduating she decided to apply to attend the University of South Dakota that following Fall. Her freshman year, she began her general education classes on the path for nursing. When the Fall semester of her sophomore year came around, she took a film photography class, which reignited the passion for art that she had discovered in high school. Charlee then decided to declare an art major with an emphasis in photography and a minor in art history. Over the past four years, she has grown an appreciation for everything the Fine Arts Department had to offer. Her junior year, she found a deeper love for art history while on a Faculty Led Program to New York. She returned to the big apple her senior year to visit professional artists’ studios to get an inside perspective on the lives they lead. This again reinforced and validated her interest in continuing her education after receiving her undergraduate degree. Charlee has yet to decide which area of the artworld she would like to study next, but her dedication to the arts will live on.

Artist Statement

This body of work is a product of combining my passion for both photography and makeup. My interest in makeup goes way back, as my childhood consisted of growing up in salon culture while watching my mother teach cosmetology. Every week she would come home with a new hair style, cut or color, and I fell in love with the smell of acetone and hair developer. Walking into the salon was as though I was being welcomed home. Naturally, the salon continued on to spark my fascination with the power of makeup—one can completely transform into a new version of themselves in a matter of minutes. I started wearing makeup in high school after watching makeup artists such as Jeffree Star, Tati Westbrook and Jaclyn Hill. For me it was magical, becoming the canvas for your own self-expression to manifest. You have the ability to create something so unique and tailored to a specific person, allowing them to be anything they want to be. Like makeup, color has the ability to evoke emotion, which both stimulates and calms the brain. My vision throughout the process of this series was to use my skills as a photographer to bring to light the commonalities in which color and makeup simultaneously affect individuals in a space that allows them to feel their best.

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Cody James Robinson
Cody James Robinson

Cody James Robinson

Year Graduated: 2018
Cody James Robinson was born in Sioux City, IA in 1993 on December 25th, Christmas day. He was first inspired by art through his mother, Christy Robinson; as a child he would watch her sketch images of superheroes and animals for him. Cody’s family currently resides in Sergeant Bluff, IA. He was involved in art through high school and Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) and went on to receive his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from the University of South Dakota, where he met sculptor/sculpture professor, Chris Meyer, who was an inspiration to him to become a sculptor.As an undergraduate, Cody developed an interest in many different styles of art, including Abstract Expressionism, Expressionism, Surrealism, and Earth based artwork. He incorporates these styles in his artwork to this day along with other styles he is experimenting with, such as Kinetic, Minimalism, and Optic Illusion art. Cody was involved in two exhibitions, one in 2016 at Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota and the other at Exposure Gallery in Sioux Falls South Dakota where he displayed some of his sculptures. He mainly works in metal fabricated and resin cast sculptures. His future goal is to own a scrap yard where people can drop of junk metal they don’t want/need where he will make fabricated sculptures from said junk metal.

Artist Statement

The subject of my work is about plant life, minerals, and metals that are indigenous to a planet different from ours, but has the same types of elements such as gold, silver, obsidian, etc… What you are seeing is an excavation site from explorers of Earth, where they have uncovered and discovered life from this distant, yet similar, planet.The concept of my projects was to create organic shapes out of geometric materials, which in this case are nuts and bolts. Nuts and bolts have been around before the documentation of history. They have been used as a means to build massive architectural structures ranging from skyscrapers to houses. In contrast to that I have decided to build my own structures that have no use to them. I have always been interested in mechanical organisms and I believe that including other types of mechanical parts in my work I hope to expand on this subject matter.

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Cory Carlyle
Cory Carlyle

Cory Carlyle

Year Graduated: 2019
Cory Carlyle was raised in small town Auburn, IA. He is son of Paula and Larry Pudenz, and has a twin brother and two younger sisters. He was brought up in an industrial and farming community. Where you see a lot of brands of companies that are targeted towards the working class. He was very active in high school students groups and took multiple art classes. After graduation he pursued his art education at the University of South Dakota, and receiving his BFA in Graphic Design.

Art Statement

This work presented this week of a beer company base on Norwegian culture. Inspired by rich history, the landscape, and the beer. The brand that he created was called Skål, was based on the Vikings tradition of saying cheers. His research was based on three Viking warriors of Ragnar Lothbrok, The Beserkers, Hervor Heidreksson. With the beers they were inspired by popular brews in Norway like the pale ales, imperial stouts, and hard ciders. His display showcased the Skål beer packaging by its inspiration of the deep blue colors of Norwegian waters and the bright colors of the white skies. The packaging is brought all together by a bar scene that brings a modern industrial look to the company Skål. He wanted to demonstrate what he has learned from this program displayed in this gallery this week.Cory is planning after graduation to find a career in graphic design that leads out of the mid west. Where he can share his skill set for future careers.

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