Spring 2017 Graduate Showcase

Derek Vessel copy

Layer, 2016, Ximao "Derek" Miao, MFA

Congratulations to our Spring 2017 MFA-JEM graduates!

Dive into their thesis statements and body of work below, and be sure to check out Klimt02's Master Degree Show 2017 which also features the alumni!


Chih Jou “Yolanda” Chiu
Contrast | Conflicts | Contradiction

"My parents and I have been in conflict for a long time. This struggle originates from the stark contrast between my westernized thoughts and my parents’ traditional Chinese customs. I am eager for freedom, but my identity as an Asian female comes with restrictions. These circumstances led me to choose dolls as the theme of my MFA thesis. Dolls epitomize the owner’s control; the doll is an object that the “mother” can manipulate. The doll has no real identity but is at the mercy of this “mother.” I use this theme in my art to represent myself. In creating my own dolls, I regain authority over this process of identity construction, all while symbolically conveying the manipulation of the character."


Cong “Beki” Sun
Split & Merge

"I want to contrast traditional and contemporary styles to illustrate my own inner reflection, the complete me. My pieces show not only the combination of different material and new techniques, but also the growth that I have experienced. I’ve always loved vintage and traditional styles alongside elegant geometry. I would like to try to merge a very contemporary ambiance with customary techniques and patterns. I want all audiences to be able to see the split between the different styles in my pieces, while also noting the juxtaposition of strong and soft elements."


Shao-Yang “Sean” Chan

"For me, scars represent the past. Something that has been used for a long time will have some scars. A scar can be visible or invisible. The visible scars are like physical injury. The invisible scars are the reflection and regret in our mind. Each scar has its own story, and it is like a lesson for our lifetime experiences. At 23 years old, I enlisted in the army, and after two months of training, I was sent to a prison as a security guard. I listened and talked to prisoners about their stories and the remorse that plagued them – the invisible scars. Based on this memory, I developed my thesis project consisting of wearable jewelry and sculpture objects as reminders for myself about the lessons that I have confronted."


Ximao “Derek” Miao
Meditation with Nature

"My inspirations come from childhood memories of nature. One of my favorite things as a child was to collect rare pebble stones that I found in the creeks. Pebble stones are now the main element that I present in my thesis project. My art is a meditative process in which I translate how I think and feel about the relationship between human beings and nature. My series of work is comprised of jewelry and sculptures made mostly of natural materials, such as metal, wood, and clay. Additionally, I bring an old Chinese concept of the world into my art – “the dome-like heaven embraces the vast earth.” My goal is to evoke the same meditative feeling and sense of peace that I feel, and hopefully a sense of calm introspection and connection to nature, for others through my work."


Yat “Cris” Wong
Movement & Change

"I used movement and change seen in nature as the inspiration for my project. To demonstrate the patterns generated by natural changes, I divided the work into six parts, with each part representing the elements of one pattern. Four of the parts indicate the changes of natural patterns which represent the issue about nature. The remaining two parts serve the functions of beginning and ending. My work utilizes motors and Arduino, an open-source electronics program, as technical support for the expression of these concepts. Most of my pieces are presented as non-wearable forms and can thus be regarded as kinetic art."


Rebecca Wolf

"The artwork I create has an opportunity to engage my audience about the subject of astronomy. This can spark questions and become a connecting thread from the beauty of art to science. Astronomy has many parts to it including, but not limited to, dark matter, black holes, and planets. I wanted to concentrate on those subjects, learning more about each one to use varied materials to best represent them. I needed to break down the characteristics of what I’m passionate about and find what sparks a conversation – what draws someone to an object, specifically a piece of artwork, and what creates a connection between astronomy and art? Three things came to mind: size, color, and texture."


Grace Coronado
Exploring My Personal and Cultural Identity

"For my thesis project, I focused on creating jewelry and sculptures that explored my personal and cultural identity and how I integrated into a culture-specific environment, the United States Army. Since the military is historically male-dominant, it is difficult to change a man’s mentality as it pertains to gender roles. I focused on my personal struggles and the negative impact that these antiquated ideas generated. As I journeyed through my military career, I highlighted specific moments that, though they were painful, fueled me. The more negativity there was, the harder I worked to attain my goals. My thesis places focus on the aggression and disappointment that I endured and successes that I attained through adversity."