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Art & Art History
University of Mississippi

Q&A with Kriscia Martinez (BFA Graphic Design)

Sea of Monsters
March 27-31st, 2023

Closing Reception
When: Thursday, March 30rd, 2023, 4:30–6:00 PM
Where: Gallery 130, Meek Hall

Introduce yourself and tell us where you are from.
My name is Kriscia Martinez, I was originally from Gautier Mississippi, a small town closer to the coast. I spent my childhood there, then later on I moved to the Hattiesburg/petal area of Mississippi where I spent my teenage years. I would kind of consider those as my places of origin, but if we are talking about current day I now live here in Oxford and I love it.

What attracted you to the Department of Art & Art History?
I always kind of knew that if I wasn’t going to become a marine biologist, zookeeper, or veterinarian then I wanted to do some sort of art as a profession. Then I found that Graphic Design existed and that I could practically do anything with it and become a professional artist and it was exciting! So, in a way it was inevitable as art was practically my main source of life and enjoyment in my youth, but why I chose this college specifically? I had went to a few colleges before this one and thought that coming to this college would help me learn more skills, get out of my bubble, and challenge me and I have not been disappointed.

What type of artwork do you create and can you discuss your process?
I create a variety of different works. My profession will be in Graphic Design so at the moment that is what I am doing the most of. However, I am also a painter, animator, and illustrator as well and I work both traditionally and digitally. I am also working towards learning new mediums as well such as 3D modelling, sculpture, packaging, and printmaking, but all in due time.

As for my process it really depends. Sometimes I make moodboards, thumbnails, sketch, and sometimes its easier to jump straight into a project and just explore the mediums, programs, and possibilities and let ideas come to me as I go. The latter usually leads to multiple versions of the same project that I may end up picking and choosing aspects from.


Which artists do you look to for inspiration?
Yes and no? When I am creating most projects, I may end up looking at the broader genre or style I may be going for if I am trying to make a design and if I wind up on a new artist, I enjoy then that is a plus! A lot of the times my inspiration will come from games, music, nature, history, stories. animation, and other art mediums that include but are not limited to Graphic Design.

For Graphic design inspirations I think one of my favorites is the forefathers group, they have such nice iconography that looks vintage but modern at the same time which is a style I absolutely love and they are so confident in their work. The second is one that was shown to me by a fellow classmate and that is Luke Lucas, his typography is something I one day aspire to explore and attain.

For artists in other mediums, I have always loved Jee Young Lee, she makes fantastical bright and otherworldly sculptures that make you feel small in comparison then photographs herself in these spaces. T wo other artists I was shown are two printmakers, Takashi Murakami, and Swoon, I absolutely love their styles.

Will say first and foremost being a student at an art school a lot of the most inspiring artists are those that sit next to me or that have taught me. It’s a lot more influential for me to be able to see the artists and their design process in person and actually grow from their presence. I could list so many faculty and students, but I will stick to Graphic Design alone. First and foremost, Tyler Barnes, his work is absolutely amazing, and I am graced with the opportunity to learn under him. As for students I would say Katie Ayres, Dennis Foster, Emily Hairie, and Angel Morgan (even though she is not graphic design) are a few artists I know personally who I am absolutely constantly inspired by and their unique voices in the art world.

Which professors inspired you the most?
I would firstly like to say that I believe all of my professors have had a great impact and I am so grateful for them.

One of my first professors, Brooke Alexander really helped me get out of the terrible habit of making each art piece precious and the fear of making drastic changes if need be. Brooke white is an amazing photographer who has made me want to learn more about cameras and techniques that I never thought I would feel confident in. Durant and Stacy are amazing professors with so much knowledge and can do anything and almost everything which is something I would like to be able to do in the future. Anna is an amazing printmaker whose collages that made me want to explore collage in my own Graphic Design. Lance is an amazing professor who knows so many techniques and skills and has such a unique visual style that I can’t help but be inspired by, and his self-branding is impeccable.

But, I would say that the two professors who have had the most impact, the two I have spent the most time with, and the two who have really helped me get out of my bubble would be Bryce Heesacker and Tyler barnes. Bryce was my entry into the digital arts here, I learned so much in his intro class and he truly helped me begin to get outside my bubble of thinking, a lot of my professors have. Before coming here, a lot of my work was representational, but being in his class I truly was able to get out of the bubble of trying to make things look how they are supposed to in real life and explore more abstraction, and I have found new styles that I enjoy doing because of it. He is also so well versed in technology that it is overwhelming, and I am inspired with the hope that one day I will know just as many programs, knowledge, and digital mediums as he does so I can incorporate them into my own work.

Lastly, and most importantly Tyler Barnes. Seeing how well he knows about the programs and how quickly he works is both scary and inspiring. The way he is able to come up with ideas on the spot that fit a brand is just remarkable and his work is just amazing. I hope by the time I graduate that I can pick up as much of his thought process and habits as I can and will one day be able to be at the same level of knowledge, speed, and ingenuity as him.

What has been your favorite class during your years here?
That one is really hard to say, I really loved my figure drawing class when I first came here. Intermediate sculpture was awesome, especially because all my friends were in it. I really enjoyed beginning printmaking, and I also liked Intermediate Printmaking was a lot of fun for the exact same reason as intermediate sculpture. But I think my favorite class was Digital Imaging. I was able to just learn the program and make the projects whatever I wanted them to be within reason. Currently I am really enjoying advanced Graphic design as well, because a lot of my friends are in it and also because it’s fairly freeform.

Do you have a favorite memory here in the department?
I think some of my favorite moments were just working after hours in labs with my friends and fellow classmates. I can’t think of too many specific ones, it’s just the entirety of being here with so many great people and friendly professors that I enjoyed and will greatly miss.

Do you have any advice for incoming art students?
Definitely check out the IdeaLab, no one really takes enough advantage of it, and it will offer the best prices and a wide range of amazing things you can do. It’s where I got my figures 3D printed for my thesis. They have 3D scanners, button makers, a circuit and who knows what they will add when I am gone. And the staff is super knowledgeable and friendly as well.

Do you have any hobbies outside of the art department?
Besides art that I do at home, I often enjoy playing video games and board games, as well as collecting figures or super cheap knick knacks from estate sales.

What is your favorite thing about Oxford or the University?
I really enjoy the community. I love the students and professors alike. It’s just a comfortable place to learn.

Can we find you on social media?
I currently have three on Instagram. I have my main social media @doc_questionable_official where I post whatever I want. I have my branded instagram based around my Thesis show which I will began adding to called @seaofmonsters_official. And I have my professional Instagram @kriscia_martinez_official.

Do you have any plans after graduation?
After graduation I plan on working for a Graphic Design company first and foremost. Whilst doing this I plan on working on projects that have been on my mind and on paper for years but never had the chance to focus solely on them.

Outside of that I plan on learning some new skills, maybe some more 3D modeling, more After Effects, Unity, animation, maybe try some more sculpting and printmaking, at this point the only thing stopping me is time, money of course, and just the fear of failure which I need to ignore honestly.

As for non-art related stuff I plan on finishing a couple of games I haven’t made time to play, such as Deltarune chapter 2, Cuphead, Horizon Zero Dawn, Spiderman, the list goes on. Then after that I might try to go to comic con over the summer with my brother, maybe visit some family.