August 20, 2019

Meet the artists featured in the HOMEWORK Collection

Launched in 2018, the HOMEWORK Collection is the student-only art rental collection available to student members, with artwork selected by WAM Collective Officers. The below works were purchased at last year’s MCAD Art Sale. Meet the artists behind these works, and, if you’re a UMN student, come to WAM for Study Night on September 18 to rent the works to bring some life into your dorm or apartment.

Fruits on the Counter, Anh Tran

Anh Tran finds inspiration in places similar to other artists—Pinterest, Instagram, and on social media, in general. But there is one place she holds sacred: the grocery store.

“I love seeing the arrangement of fruits and how they contrast against each other and the crates that hold them,” Tran said. 

Tran incorporates tropical plants and patterns from textiles into her works, and Fruits on the Counter was created during her “banana phase.” Layering colored pencil on top of gouache, Tran photographed the fruits in her kitchen first as a reference for the piece. 

“We always have fruit at home. Mom will cut up fresh fruit and bring a whole plate to our rooms for us to eat. I think in Vietnamese cuisine there is an emphasis on the freshness of food—always so many herbs and vegetables and fruit—and I think that has rubbed off onto me,” Tran said. “I love the variety of fruit and its colors and textures.” 

High Rise, Barret Lee

Intending to create a scene that instilled the sense of a fading dream-like place, Lee used both spray paint and acrylic paint in the creation of his piece, High Rise. He is inspired by cartoons, graffiti, comics, and old magazines and newspapers. If it could be displayed anywhere in the world, Lee envisions this piece not in a museum, but on the wall of a Minnesota cabin. 

“Enjoy it. Hopefully it helps to take you out of a stressful day,” Lee said. 

Native Minnesota Clovers, Dana Kristine Koehler

An Oakland native, Koehler is a designer, illustrator, and adjunct professor of illustration at MCAD. She used digital illustration and an original screen print in the creation of Native Minnesota Clovers. Koehler received her BA from Oberlin college, her MFA from MCAD, and currently specializes in children’s book design and illustration. 

NYC–1930, Isaac Passwater

An avid outdoorsman, Passwater enjoys hiking, frequent viewings of films like Jaws and Tremors, and a “damn fine cup of coffee.” He derives his inspiration from film and nature.

“The motivation behind this piece was to bring a new life to relatively unknown and archived photography that could be seen as unexciting, by interpreting it into a new medium,” Passwater said. 

Passwater says if you like the look and feel of vintage items, this piece is for you.

Aberrated Leaves, James Francis Schallenkamp 

Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Schallenkamp’s Aberrated Leaves is part of a larger, loose series. If not displayed in a National Park, he pictures it in the tidy room of a student who has, “an eye towards sleek, natural, man-made materials—like polished stone, wood, and metal.” Schallenkamp advises renters to look at the piece, and then look even closer. There are many colors in areas that may be overlooked.

Tres Gatitos 1 of 5, Juliana Pederson

“I am a tiny Colombian woman that loves to travel, but I’m currently stuck in Minneapolis to finish a Master’s degree. I love my cats, my family and my plants,” Pederson said. “I am interested in finding more Latinx/PoC connections around the city and more empanada restaurants! Coffee and food will win me over any time or day.”

Inspired by Kova, Pederson’s youngest kitty, Tres Gatitos 1 of 5 was originally created for a traveling show. Slight measurement mistakes led to the archives, but Pederson revived the print, noting it’s been a recent hit. She finds inspiration in new places, artist talks, hearing others’ stories, and socializing. 

“I would tell the renter of this piece, ‘I hope you enjoy it!’ I have been selling these all around town this year, so it would be cool if someone came over and recognized it! After you return it to the museum and you want to have a print of your own, I have a sliding scale price for this particular cat print. Just send me an email!”

MPLS MapJulie Van Grol

A freelance illustator and instructor at MCAD, Van Grol used digital illustration and Photoshop to create MPLS Map. A playful and loose take on the map and neighborhoods of Minneapolis, she envisions this piece in city hall or Paisley Park. To potential renters, Van Grol hopes it captures some of your favorite Minneapolis spots.

Cezzane, Kameron White

A self-described nerd who’s obsessed with fashion, White created Cezzane with the intention of making a series with Black men and religious imagery. “I am very interested in the aesthetic of it. Gay/feminine/pretty Black men are still kind of taboo in the Black community and places, and they are expected to be the manliest men due to toxic masculinity given to and in the Black community. I wanted to put them in a religious, iconic imagery, “ White said. 


Aiming to make a full-time art career a reality, KJ is well on her way with her personal work and community engagements—most recently, she has been co-organizing Waiting Room

“My artwork since college has changed directions intentionally. Beginning as a way to cope with my mother’s illness (Multiple Sclerosis) I heavily focused on my relationship to my mother and my family. I spent countless hours drawing and painting objects, photographs and videos that me and my siblings would eventually inherit,” KJ said. “When I graduated I took a look at all of the work and thought, ‘This is only part of me. I can be happier than this. I am more fun. I don’t always dwell on the invariable end of things.’ I made it my goal to add the ‘fun’ back into my work.”

Bored, Lucy Comer

An illustrator, zine maker (and zine reader), bicycle riding, sun soaking, cloud loving, pomegranate eating, memory organizing person, Comer is, most importantly, a summer camp counselor. Part of a twenty-piece watercolor series created last spring, Comer based Bored off of personal pictures taken during the previous year. 

“Each piece varied in how it was represented with the color, size, level of looseness and more, to convey the image as a memory affected by emotion. The treatment of the image is put under the lens of how that moment feels almost a full year later,” Comer said. 

Bored is specifically based off of an image from the week Comer was a summer camp counselor when she realized her group of kids, who were once strangers, were now incredibly close and important to her.

Summer Collection 4 of 4, Kerri Mulcare

Josephine Baker: Life and Spirit, Morgan Moen (moencat)

Inspired by Josephine Baker, Moen aimed to portray Baker’s vibrant personality, career, and life. 

“Not only was she a beautiful and fun dancer and singer, but she also smuggled information in her sheet music during WWII, adopted 10 children from around the world, and became an international star for decades,” Moen said. “She took possession of her identity and used it to propel herself into fame.”

Moen is currently considering creating and publishing a poster book of women throughout history, and with Josephine Baker: Life and Spirit, she has a pretty good start. 

Rosie, Nate Christenson

Using Japanese woodblock printing to create Rosie, Christenson—a U.S. citizen who grew up in China—was interested in creating a parody of the phrase, “We Can Do It.” 

“I thought it would be interesting to create a parody of the iconic ‘We Can Do It’ poster in a Japanese style, given the context of World War II. The result was imagery of power and strength meeting a style that is traditionally very delicate and elegant, which gives me a greater sense of empowerment than the original image,” Christenson said. 

Imagining where this piece may hang, Christenson supposes it may end up in the room of someone who appreciates Japanese art.

Sunbeam, Nora Grade

Lady Godiva, Sarah Urquhart Evenson

Identifying both as genderqueer and atheist, these two traits immensely influence Urquhart Evenson’s work. Created with silkscreen and graphite and in a moment of joy, Lady Godiva was created when the artist decided to grow out their hair. 

“It was kind of a big deal because I have a body that doesn’t really read  as genderqueer, and having short, shaved hair had been my outward presentation/hint of being queer for a long time. But then I was thinking, I don’t want to have to look a certain way in order to ‘read’ as who I am … this is just who I am, and I’m already not the norm, and I don’t want to try to fit into something that is a new norm. I just want to do whatever I want,” Urquhart Evenson said. “I had long hair when I was growing up, and I loved it. Long hair has meant different things throughout history, so I should just go for it. Then I was listening to Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ which has the line, ‘I’m a racing car passing by like LADY GODIVA,’ and that sense of being free and streaming through life like a shooting star really resonated with me.”

Autumnal Celebration and Parks are Paradise, Violeta Rotstein

I am a nature loving, bird obsessed, immigrant and artist! When I’m not designing, I’m baking treats, listening to feminist podcasts, and trying to enjoy the nature inside and outside of Minneapolis,” Rotstein said. 

A celebration of Minneapolis parks, Rotstein originally created the two pieces to sell at the annual Posters for Parks event in which she participates each year. They are based on Bde Maka Ska and Powderhorn Park.

“Parks are amazing spaces because they are open to any person of any background, free of charge,” she said. “I hope that the person who chooses my art is a nature lover just like me! Maybe even studying some field to do with wildlife research or preservation. If not, any person who loves art is a great choice.”

Climb Into the Badlands, Vivian Rose Steckline

“I grew up in the Black Hills and near the Badlands. My home’s nature has always been close to my heart,” Steckline said. “The scenery and the lighting has always been beautiful in the Badlands, but there’s more to the land there than just a good view. It’s something to be treated with respect.”

Finding inspiration wherever there is more to see and more to learn, Steckline explores nature and the great outdoors, history, folk and fairy-tales, and abstract concepts. 

“I go to class. I learn, I discuss, and I question. Or, I explore a place. There’s always some hidden magic in every environment,” she said.

One Night In Minneapolis, Xiaojie Liu

Influenced by dominant Chinese culture while also identifying as a national minority, Liu grew up in Enshi, an ethnic autonomous prefecture in China. She holds a B.A. in Illustration from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts. 

“Most of my work explores my sense of cultural dislocation, as I constantly question my identity as a Chinese living in another country. Because of all the changes happening around me, I began to explore myself, my emotions, and my feelings as an illustrator, catching some emotional details in different situations,” Liu said. “In the meantime, all of the changes seem to make me resilient so that I can find a sense of personal identification step by step.”

Orb, Alaina Robert

Caffé del Borgo, Florence, Sophie Weber

Acid Witch 3 of 3Greer Coffman

Flora, Jade Juno


Kate Drakulic, Communications Intern

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