Department of Art
Rory Overdorff – Communication Design '12 – first developed an interest in design during high school. “I had an amazing photography teacher in high school who I really admired and his philosophy for creativity not having boundaries,” Rory said. Since graduating, Rory has started working for Sphero, designing packaging for new products, including the company’s Sphero BB-8 App-Enabled Droid. From his time as a student to his time as a professional now, Rory cites an ongoing appreciation for the freedom he finds in design work. “I owe a lot to the teachers I had in the program,” Rory said. “Peter Bergman sticks out to me because he always reminded us there is no right and wrong direction when given a project. I think it was that sense of freedom that a lot of professions don’t get that really made me appreciate the program. Design means so many things to so many people and I love thinking about having total control in my path as I grow as a designer.”
Madeliene Kattman – Art History '15 – currently a student in the Master of Arts program in the History of Art Department at the University of Toronto – first became interested in art history as an art student who discovered a passion for reading and writing about other artists’ works. She began studying Art History at MSU Denver and graduated from the program in 2015. “The academic program itself was challenging, but it really helped me to know what I wanted my research to be,” Madeliene said. With the help of faculty members, she narrowed her research focus to contemporary art, performance art, and its architecture. In addition to her time in the classroom, she worked at the Center for Visual Art for two years. For prospective art history students, Madeliene encourages engagement with the art community. “I think it’s important for art historians to be flexible, take criticism, enjoy reading, and be invested in their art community,” she said. “The best way to develop your research and to understand its implications is to talk to artists, curators, and other historians about their methods and what issues surround art and its histories.”
Molly Bounds – Printmaking '14 – a BFA in Art graduate, chose to concentrate on Printmaking for the freedom it provided. “Printmaking has a way of encompassing any medium you want so it felt the least confining as a major,” she said. “It felt limitless and without too many boundaries, which was the perfect thing for me. But the tight-knit print community is what ultimately drew me in.” She encourages art students to really support each other and care about each other as individuals rather than just networking. “You should not have to bend your beliefs or break your convictions to do what you love to do,” she said. Molly recently had a show entitled Critical Focus: Molly Bounds at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. “Showing at the MCA was an amazing opportunity, especially coming mostly from a world of DIY artist-run spaces,” Molly said. “Getting to show your work on a larger platform whether within an institution or on a giant wall is a position that is all at once liberating and vulnerable.”
Ángel López – Communication Design '16 – After briefly attempting coursework in an unrelated field, López realized art is what made him happiest and began to explore design at MSU Denver. His senior experience course helped him focused on his core values and how those pillars related to his identity as a designer. Of those values, he said, “I use them as a driving force to combat social and cultural oppression,” he said. “I also use the pillars to celebrate the rich culture that I come from.” After graduating from the Communication Design program in 2016, Ángel was looking for a graduate program that allowed experimentation and innovation. He found that in the MFA in Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons School of Design. “The program spoke about sustainability, social change, interdisciplinary collaboration, and actually working on contemporary issues,” he said. He encourages students with similar passions to make time to give themselves creative assignments outside of school and work. “There are so many moments of inspiration for an artist,” he said. “You may find inspiration in film, commercials, someone knitting, graffiti, food, music, from wherever. Challenge yourself to create from what inspires you.”
MSU Denver Department of Art alumna Rebecca Totman has over 10 years of experience in the television and animation industries. As an associate producer of animation for the long-running series "The Simpsons," she manages over 180 artists and production personnel, as well as the complex 2D animation pipeline, to deliver 22 episodes per season. In addition to her work on "The Simpsons," Rebeca has also produced and curated six collaborative art shows with her group, Love/Hate Los Angeles.
Rebecca Totman, MSU Denver '05
Associate Producer of Animation for "The Simpsons"