Artists in (College) residence: Profiles of the Class of 2020

May 23, 2020

This week, the Record profiled Jack Romans ’20 and Ben Mygatt ’20, the final artistic profiles of the year. Below are excerpts from all the arts profiles of members of the class of 2020 from the past two years.

Photo courtesy of Eddy Varela.

Adrian Oxley ’20 discusses his journey and creative process as a rapper and poet, from Sudanese Civil War raps at age eight to performing for WCFM and All Campus Entertainment (ACE) at the College. (09.11.19)

“[I’m] just trying to figure out how to be me 100 percent of the time”

— Adrian on ILL KATA, the Brooklyn-based rap collective he founded

Ethan Dincer/The Williams Record

Mia Herring-Sampong ’20 explains how she uses improvisation, free-style, stories and poems to create her original acoustic sound. She released an album last month. (10/02/19)

“I think it’s really important not to shy away from that and to bring my authentic voice to my performances, no matter how unnerving that might be, because people hear you and relate to you and hear their story in your story.”

— Mia on incorporating themes of her identity, particularly Blackness and womanhood, into her music

Danny Jin/The Williams Record

Suiyi Tang ’20 shares the inspiration and process behind her metafiction novel American Symphony: Other White Lies, a compilation of stories, letters, journal entries and a short play. (10.30.19)

“..the kinds of alienation that I face as a queer, feminine Asian American subject, the longer arc of both intellectual and cultural history that I am a part of, [and] the minority American literature that I read while studying at Williams, written by women of color.”

— Suiyi on some of what she was thinking of while writing

Photo courtesy of Melt The Band.

Josh Greenzeig ’20 explains the diversity of style and influence from jazz to jam in his band Melt, which has millions of streams on Spotify and hit number five on Billboard’s Viral 50 chart. (11/20/19)

“If I go to my professor’s office hours and I tell them I can’t come to class because I’m flying to Texas, they’re like ‘Oh, that’s dope.’ They find it cool.”

—Josh on balancing his unique college life, which consists of tours, festivals and concerts at colleges across the country

Photo courtesy of Erin Meadors.

Erin Meadors ’20 shares the process behind STIX, an independent study in dance that she directed, choreographed, designed and performed. (01/29/20)

“Maybe in your own lives there’s a little story you’re forgetting about or people who get pushed to the side, who never get heard. It’s not really a call to action, but just to give a little information to get the ball rolling is important.”

— Erin on the exploration of family history and African American culture in her home state of New Mexico, driving forces behind the creation of this piece

Photo courtesy of Keith Forman.

Brandon Hilfer ’20 discusses his process and inspiration behind writing and composing an original opera based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses for his thesis. (02/26/20)

“I’ve been figuring out how to balance making art for myself and making art for the classroom. I think that’s where this project came from; a desire to challenge myself as an artist and writer beyond what a music thesis is ‘supposed’ to be.”

— Brandon, on the rewards and challenges of his project

Virginia Ontiveros/The Williams Record

Nicole Ford ’20 creates art informed by science, infusing ideas from her majors in studio art and astrophysics. (03/04/20)

“A lot of scientific findings are interesting, but the illustrations are confusing, or not that fun to look at. There’s a lot missing there.”

— Nicole, on her dream job of creating scientific illustrations in both an artistic and accessible way

Photo courtesy of Wylie Thornquist.

Wylie Thornquist ’20 discusses self-portraits as self-exploration and art as a means to tell both personal and historical stories. (04/01/20)

“With this work that I’m doing now, it feels like it’s a lot more of a gaze outward into the world rather than a gaze inward to how that world impacts me personally.”

— Wylie on his thesis, a series of prints and paintings exploring reproductive control over women in Early Modern Europe and how they relate to feudalism and capitalism

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Yu.

CJ Salapare ’20 discusses his intersecting interests in art history, museum education and museum curation. (04/08/20)

“I think that realizing that all of these endeavors are collaborative, that everyone partakes in some degree of creative work — whether it be the curator or the academics who are building a kind of intellectual platform for the art, or the artists themselves, or anybody else involved — I think keeping that in mind is really important.”

—CJ, on artistic collaboration, despite artists historically limiting themselves to a singular focus