Art Alumni News

Career and Educational Updates from recent Art Alumni!

Alumni News:

These alums (listed alphabetically) have contacted Dr. Orr via email or through the alumni group on her LinkedIn page. If you would like your news to be included in updated versions of the alumni news, please contact Dr. Orr through LinkedIn, or email (, or contact the department web content manager, Professor Terri Murphy at

Jodie Bliss:

“I've finished graduate school with a thesis called Forged Identity: Seven Pillars of the Individual, which, through the use of the major symbols of the mask and the shrine explores the seven major facets that I think we draw from as individuals while creating our personal belief systems and identities. (Fear, Status, Spirituality, Sexuality, Mortality, Internal Conflict and Performance). This series was completed in mixed media, ceramic masks with steel and copper adornment hung in wall mounted wooden shrines. If you're interested you can see them at my current website(needs major revamping)​. I continue to be completely enamored by the study of culture, and particularly older tribal cultures and their use of masking. Very much thanks to you for turning me on to this.  I also continue studies of all religions and their relationship to history, mankind and the individual. 

I am nearing the end of my first year in business as Bliss Studio and Gallery, in Historic Downtown Monument, Colorado.  The Four facets of my business are Fine Art, Jewelry, Home Decor and Custom Signage.  Currently I am doing a lot of inventory building for art shows next year, making steel doily bowls and wall hangings, while working in the conceptual stages of a few large fine art pieces for a sculpture garden outside my studio, and the local sculpture park.  My iron work is transforming to be very lacy and curly- with the goal of bringing a very feminine touch to a very masculine process and material.”

Richard Buchanan

Will be going on to grad school at NYIA in the fall of 2014!

Derek Caulfield

I am new to the University of Texas El Paso community, but it is an exciting opportunity and place to engage in the next chapter of my life. Up to this point, I have been a student, ranging from the Twin Cities of Minnesota to the high country of the Rocky Mountains. My history with El Paso may be brief, but my experience with the southwest is not, having recently gained my MFA in sculpture from New Mexico State University. I bring both a traditional and explorative knowledge of techniques, processes, and concepts. Although learning is a lifelong adventure, here as the leader of operations of the wood shop and advanced technologies I have the chance to make the transition from always receiving knowledge to potentially sharing it. Having experienced other’s methods and approaches, I now have the opportunity and responsibility to give back and offer my own.”

Josh Krute is living and working in Eugene, Oregon. He is exhibiting locally and applying for graduate school. Here are his own words and examples of his work:

“Currently, I work at Urban Lumber Company and I have really enjoyed this opportunity - I have learned many woodworking techniques and processes, and I have gained knowledge on the characteristics of Northwest tree species. More importantly, I have been able to revisit and further develop the work that I was doing in my undergraduate studies.

In furthering my practice, I became more interested in the functionality of printing wood. Within my current work, I aim to document the transformations that have occurred in my subject’s existence to reveal the history of that object. At the Urban Lumber Co. lumberyard, I work surrounded by various tree stumps, trunks, slabs, and other forms. I am most attracted to the crosscut sections of these trees because of the dichotomy that exists between the manmade marks and the growth rings. When printed, these two different mark-makings record the life and death of a tree. What I find interesting is the relationship; the exposure of the tree’s growth pattern is completely dependent on man’s physical manipulation, which ultimately results in the tree’s death. I am compelled to print these crosscut sections to preserve this relationship and to convey their essence: their grandeur, character, and the mark-makings from both nature and man."

Bailey McLean

Is applying to several museums, including the DAM, to intern in Photography. She has also continued her commitment to her own work.

Kylene Miller

Is working in Denver for the NYC-based designer Sara Gabriel (, on headpieces and jewelry.

Zach Minard

Is currently employed a Graphic Designer at HERENOW Creative Network. “I've been working as a designer for an agency in Portland, which has me working on a lot of projects with divisions of Nike (most recently Nike Running), Whole Foods, and a few other smaller accounts. On top of that I've been doing a few illustration projects on the side, having a lot of fun with everything.”

Debora Oliver

“I just started a new career as a GIS technician.  Cartography has come a long way from the old cut-and-paste days, but the principles and finished product are much the same through the digital process.  For this position I utilize my graphic design and pre-press skills to prepare printed maps for clients.  It has been very exciting to learn the GIS programs and how much work goes into a finished map- from data collection to printing- and how many people collaborate to make it accurate and comprehensible.  I am looking forward to learning more about the whole process and am thrilled to be a part of such important work.”

Marten Pinnecoose

Has just successfully completed the first year of his MFA in Sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute!

Cheryl Pettigrew

“Right now I am currently working on 2 different pieces, “The Milky Way” and another “Eclipse”. I work every weekend either painting or prepping canvases. I paint on black canvas so the colors are more vibrant. On my breaks and lunch at work I look at scenery and sometimes sketch to keep the creativity alive. I am also going thru a course with the owner of the Xanadu Gallery out of Scottsdale, Az. He is teaching a small group of artists how to submit work to galleries in a manner that would convince them to promote and sell the work.

My show goes up Sept 2nd, opening on Fri the 5th and comes down the 27th or 28th.”

Check out Cheryl’s web site:

Seth Roby

Has been working with his wife Molly for the Peace Corps in Ghana for the past two years. Check out Seth’s adventures on the new Western home page!

Adam and Brittany Stratton

Are in Austin Texas. Brittany is undertaking her Masters at the University of Texas. Both have had some exciting adventures, some of which can be seen on Adam’s web site:

Carolyn Waksman Fairfield Iowa (‘ 71)

Since 1971 my life has been devoted to teaching art education to students of all ages.  In 1998, I added photography and taught high school photography for 12 years, garnering 198 photography student awards for the school.  Currently I am continuing to offer photography camps to middle and high school students in The Waksman Photography Studio.  In 2004, I began to teach photography workshops to adults, sponsored by the ICON Gallery ( Iowa Contemporary Art) in Fairfield. The workshops are offered twice a year and I have added an extension of 3 advanced classes with a field trip to a world class cycling race an hour away.   In addition since 1989 I have offered The Waksman Exploratory Art Camp to elementary school students. The students come for one week in the summer every year and the camp is held in The Waksman Art Studio.

In 2009 and 2010 I was the curator of the PIEA International Traveling Photography Exhibit for middle and high school students at the new Fairfield Arts and Convention Center. High school students from the Waksman Photography Camps placed in this contest. Also, in 2010 as an adjunct professor, I wrote a university course; “The Arts Integrated in the Elementary School Classroom”. Since then I was the curator of the 2013 Carolyn Waksman Photography Workshop Show at the ICON Gallery (Iowa Contemporary Art). The show was a representative of 27 photographers from the adult photography workshops showing 77 mounted photographs. The show opened for the Fairfield ArtWalk   Five hundred people viewed the show on a cold February evening.  A few days later we hosted a reception by invitation only and gallery walk to ICON members and guests. I love my work!

Carrie Wilson working in an art gallery for several years, and is now devoting her time completely to her painting.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 1:45pm