The University of New Mexico’s Master of Fine Arts students opened up their studios to the public to discuss craft and the origins of inspiration last Thursday, Oct. 24.

Each studio incorporated immersive lighting and sound techniques to best accompany artwork ranging from photography, needlework, sketches and poetry. The artists' work explored developing themes unique to the students’ backgrounds and identities.

The Daily Lobo had the opportunity to speak to four MFA students about their art pieces, as well as their artistic journeys. The event took place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Art Annex and Mattox Sculpture Center. Light snacks and music were provided.

Daniel Hojnacki

"Despite having been a photography major at Columbia College, I find that I only bring elements of my Chicago background in the way that I use material. Other than that, I’m on a fresh slate being here in New Mexico, which has been an interesting challenge. A lot of my work deals with the failures of photography, such as shadows and time and how things change and how photography is not such a permanent medium. Sometimes there’s latency and disappearance that can happen through the techniques that I choose to use. This theme has been gradually developing for years now. It started with me thinking about memory and my own family, and it now has become more abstract."

Tommy Bruce

"I am a photographer and a performance artist — that is, I make work about being a part of the furry community. I’m working with a subcultural identity that’s about people who make up an animal avatar character that they interact with online or in real life through costumes. My work examines why this culture is happening right now and thinking about its relationship to ecology and alienation from the world, as well as escapism in relation to social and political emergency. I enjoy making work here at UNM and (being) able to place artwork here in a broader academic context."

Robbin Bates

“My artistic journey began in childhood. I have always done something crafty and artistic, whether it be drawing or other methods. My area of expertise is usually painting, but right now I am working on a fabric piece. I am trying to mix the two mediums, so the fabric piece I’m working on will be the back piece of my existing art.”

Rosalba Breazeale

"I am adopted from Peru and was raised in very homogenous areas of the United States, primarily Tennessee and Maine. I feel very connected to the earth, but I am also aware of over-romanticized landscape images. I’m playing with the idea of how the viewer gets to look at my home and the place I feel connected to. I am also very interested in the history of photography which has primarily been championed by white men, especially when looking at the indegenous body. So, my work also responds to stereotypes. I am looking to re-represent myself as an indigeneous, Peruvian woman and also critique how the viewer is looking at my body by having to look at themselves first."

Beatrice Nisoli is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @BeatriceNisoli