Joseph Jesse Ovalle is a multi-media artist who investigates the meaning of an object through material use, process and symbolism. He graduated from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville in 2020 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a minor in Art history. Joseph references historical and contemporary in his work to speak about topics such as: religion, race, politics, culture and American society.
He has shown across the United States at various galleries, museums and educational institutions and currently has public sculptural work up for view at Kellogg Community College, Scovill Sculpture Park, and Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. Joseph is currently the Co-Director of the ‘In Art Gallery’ which is an online venue for artist to exhibit there work.
He is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree as an Assistant Instructor at the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design in Bloomington, Indiana with his dog Jefferey.
“War is life for people across the globe. Surveillance, weapons and police surround us. Race, Religion and a limited access to essential resources are used as mechanisms of division. This work is a message for those with power who believe our democracy can be purchased, you are outnumbered.”
Malik Davis is a photographer and videographer from Indianapolis, IN. He graduated from Anderson University and currently working at IU: Kelley School of Business as a Learning Media Producer & Videographer and also Freelance Concert, Wedding, and Landscape Photographer & Videographer.
“I never thought that I would be labeled as an artist until quarantine happened. Before I started my deep dive into photography and self-portrait work, video was my first love – and the only reason I started to get into photography more was because at my first job with the Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corps. I would make bi-weekly videos highlighting their weeks of training and give the fans updates on what the band was doing. And while I would be on the field shooting with the band members they would joke and say “Malik take my picture!” and I would remind them every time that that I was specifically video based and they should talk to the actual photographer for action shots. It was all fun and games until one day it dawned on me that maybe I should try and be versatile with my skill set, which is what helped get me to where I am today in the photography world.
When I shoot self-portraits I usually have a song or a concept in my head that I, personally, think would be cool to see while scrolling on Instagram. My approach to shooting self-portraits is “what is it that I want to make clear to the audience?” Or “How can I express how I’m feeling while I’m looking at this photograph?” And usually while I’m editing them – I do the coloring first and once I’m done, put them away, and then after a day or so of not looking at them, I pull them into Photoshop and see what other element or elements could add to sort of amplify the shot in a unique way.
I never really got into the self-portrait thing until I found a handful of self-portrait photographers on Twitter and Instagram and sort of studied how they posed and everything — and then during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer — I, as a black man, have faced racism a number of times and I wanted to get my message of frustration, sadness, and anger out in a healthy way, but also pushed that narrative of “We Black people want equality.” And after seeing that people’s lives could be put in danger if I went out and took photos at a protest, I took it among myself to use myself as the subject and voice all of those things through my artwork.
And once the protests slowed down and things were beginning to settle a little bit, I started experimenting with different concepts for self-portraits and landed on this space theme that I seem to be stuck on and I’m the type of person who welcomes trial and error as an approach to a creative piece of work because it’s helped me learn and get better at my craft.”
“To keep it short I knew that I wanted to be a photographer since I was 16.
I didn’t do that well in high school and I dropped out of college after my first year, shortly before I was told by my photography professor that my photos weren’t up to par with a current project. No amount of negativity or setbacks I’ve had in life has ever stopped me from continuing my journey as a photographer.
The process of shooting film has made me become more patient with documenting photos, and becoming more comfortable with myself. Also knowing that I can’t look at the photo right after I hit the shutter always leaves me with a mystery. Whether it’s portraits or out in the streets, I tend to slow down and observe how people operate and maybe even interact with them. My work is always made for me, I never shy from a personal project because it’s “too weird” and rarely find myself overthinking on how the audience will view my work. however I am beyond happy that many people can relate to the content I do put out.
I feed off the fact that I can go from shooting colorful portraits or B&W street photos that leaves my viewer with a sense of calmness, to a video or photo series (that was inspired from an old horror film) that has the viewer disturbed or left with sense of weariness, but intrigues them & leaving them wanting more. To any creatives reading this, I encourage you to make what’s in your heart. Dig deep into yourself and put out the most outlandish, craziest work that you can think of.
There are billions of people on the planet, you are not the only crazy one. Someone is waiting on you to do it.”
Xakilah Daniel is a student at Indiana University. A fine art student, majoring in photography. She is a part of Black Lives Matter movement and based her artwork from intersectionality. Xakilah expresses the importance in sharing art tips within the art community, because she seeks fairness for everyone.
Jack Donnelly was born in Portland, Oregon in 2001 but after a few years he moved with his family to Bloomington, Indiana where he grew up. As a twin, Jack always tried to be independent of his twin sister and become his own person, developing interests personal to him; the most prominent being his interest in art. Jack started with an interest in realism, drawing graphite portraits as detailed and true-to-life as possible, even selling pieces to friends at school for extra practice.
With an emotional drive, Jack let his heart lead his work, taking on darker topics like death and mental illness. Jack would surround himself with as many types of art as he could, taking an avid interest in researching musical art as well as designing and thrifting clothing. Jack drew inspiration from many movements and periods including, the postmodern movement, the surrealist period, the cubist style, and the neo-expressionist movement where he found great inspiration from Jean Michel Basquiat.
Jack excelled in the use of digital applications like photoshop and became the top graphic art student in his high school. This graphic art has become Jack’s primary medium.
“I have always been interested in how when you construct a figure it is considered art but at some point, you are imitating life. I think that everything is art, but I like to mix realism with more abstract styles to express the complexity of our world. This mixing of styles is my way of commenting on how fascinating it is that we have so many ways of expressing the same idea. I could draw a detailed figure of a man; blending shadows and highlights, measuring every precise angle, or I could carefully combine colors and circles and curved lines, with seemingly no meaning on their own, to create the figure of a man so the same. I have fun using both tactics, like painting while wearing mis-matched glasses; the right lens a piece of broken, orange-tinted glass from a bottle, the left lens a clear, clean-cut piece of glass from a microscope.”
Caroline Nurkkala is a graduate student at Indiana University in the process of earning her Master of Information Science. When she isn’t studying, she is creating in one of many media, including making jewelry from animal bones which she acquires from animal carcasses found in rural Indiana. Caroline also paints, draws, and sculpts, and she is always learning new skills like armorsmithing and digital art.