Aliyah (she/they) is a student in the Department of Art and Design pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with an emphasis in Painting and a minor in Spanish. They are also part of the McNair Scholars program on campus which helps to fund their research and allows them to present it around the country. For more information on the McNair Scholars program, click here.
What led you to choosing your field of study?
“Art was the only thing that I was 100% passionate about. It brought me through a full scale of emotion that I have never experienced with another subject.”
Why did you come to UW-Whitewater?
“I was offered a scholarship and the university is very close to home. This allows me to commute and save money on living costs. In addition, I had taken a tour of the art department in high school where I met with Susan Messer, one of the past drawing professors on campus. My experience with her was phenomenal and she now mentors me through the McNair Scholars Program.”
Are you part of any student organizations? If so, which ones and why?
“Yes! I am the Co-Editor in Chief and Head of Layout Design for The Muse, which is UW-Whitewater’s literary arts magazine. I take care of the cover art and overall design of the magazine with the help of the fantastic members in our organization. I chose to be a part of The Muse my freshman year because it was a space for creatives to put their artistic energy towards sharing the passion and talent of students here on campus. In addition to The Muse, I am also a member of the McNair Scholars. I’m currently conducting research on the sustainability of the artistic identity into adulthood and individuals who give up their artistic passions and careers. The McNair Scholars Program funds my research and allows me to present it across the country at various universities and locations.”
Are there artists or mentors you draw inspiration from? If so, who and why?
“I draw inspiration from everything around me. I haven’t developed a personal style yet and I spend a lot of time experimenting with methods that I have seen others use. I have no specific person who inspires my art. However, I know hundreds of artists that inspire my artistic spirit. My fellow students, my professors, my friends, my family, and strangers on the street have all given me the inspiration to create. I have never been able to fully latch onto someone as my sole inspiration because there is an immeasurable amount of beauty and history in the individuals of everyday life. I would like to give a brief shout out to professors Susan Messer, Bethann Handzlik, Max White, and Greg Porcaro. Those four artists have provided me with an incredible amount of support and have pushed me to limits that I never could’ve achieved on my own.”
What’s your favorite part about being in the Department of Art and Design at UW-Whitewater?
“The faculty have really made this place a second home to me. All the professors I’ve had have provided me with unlimited support and knowledge. I have seen the growth of my art in a matter of days and have made leaps and bounds over the past couple years. Mary Eastlick is constantly sharing opportunities for student artists, Teri Frame personally congratulates me when I present at big events or submit work for publication, and Teresa Faris has generously guided me through my Art degree process. The community here is something that I will never forget.”
What’s your favorite part about being a Warhawk?
“I love the community. I have worked on campus since freshman year and have met tons of incredible people. The university is small enough that I can form bonds with my professors and employers, giving me a fantastic system of support.”
What do you hope to do after graduation?
“After graduation I will be pursuing my MFA in graduate school. I will create a second streamline of income from my artwork and travel the world spreading the message that the arts are valuable.”
Favorite class to date and why?
“My favorite class so far would probably be my Intro to Printmaking course. Although I primarily work with 2D work, I have never taken a printmaking course. It introduced me to new perspectives on art. The professor, Max White, has a unique energy that fills up the room and has a vast amount of knowledge on the processes of printmaking. Although it may be a bit intimidating at first, printmaking is a super fun course, and I am delighted to have taken it.”
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
“My proudest accomplishment thus far would have to be being published in a journal called ‘Aisthesis: The Interdisciplinary Honors Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1’. I submitted my piece ‘Anxiety’ and the University of Minnesota Duluth accepted it.”
What advice would you give your former self?
“Listen to those who criticize your choice to major in Art but do not allow yourself to be swept away from it. You will have to learn to adapt and communicate with those who don’t see value in the arts, but never let them make a choice for you. Never doubt yourself due to the judgement of others. You are passionate and you will find success within that passion. This art degree will open so many doors for you that you never would’ve imagined.”
What advice would you give your future self?
“Don’t forget those who helped you find success. You could not have done any of this by yourself.”
What advice would you give to a potential UW-Whitewater student?
“Pursue what makes you happy. You will not find any emotional enrichment if you are not prioritizing yourself and your happiness. At this point, you need to start making choices that revolve around your desires. Don’t let someone else force you into a path you aren’t satisfied with.”
Learn more about the Art and Design degree programs
|“This is my most recent piece, ‘Roxy Perroxy’, and it is dedicated to my first best friend. We grew up together and her loss was the first close death I had ever experienced. This piece is in memoriam of her.”|