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Image from Joseph McKee's self-portrait series titled "The Graduate." Image by Daniel Garcia with editing and styling by McKee. Photo courtesy of McKee.

Graduating Daily Lobo designer dedicated to digital art


Joseph McKee, an art history major and retiring director of design for the Daily Lobo, is awaiting their graduation from the University of New Mexico this spring. Having joined the Lobo three years ago, McKee’s designs for the paper over the years trace the evolution of their design styles and abilities.

“I started at the Lobo because I really wanted to work in graphic design. I thought it would be really fun and interesting. I really enjoy collaborating with people and I enjoy design, too … I was looking for some sort of community or club that I could join on campus and it worked out pretty well, I would say,” McKee said.

Beyond the space that the Lobo provided for McKee to explore design, it also offered them the community they first set out to find.

“It’s a really great place to grow and learn … a really nice support,” McKee said. “Something to fall back on when school was really stressful and things felt all up in the air.”

While McKee’s work with the Lobo has been extensive, their thesis and independent work, as well as their designs for campus literary arts magazine “Conceptions Southwest” and student art showcase “Arts Unexpected,” have allowed for them to explore their creativity in far greater depth.

“With the other (publications) myself and my peers can be a lot more creative ... You have a lot more time to actually dive into what you want to put forward with whatever you’re working on … When I was on ‘Conceptions Southwest,’ that was something that I really enjoyed: slowing down and doing a whole bunch of research," McKee said.

With this surplus of academic time and freedom, McKee spent the last year analyzing physical bodies in digital space for their senior thesis, especially as approached by digital artist Frederik Heyman. McKee’s thesis piece on Frederik Heyman even garnered a repost on Heyman’s own Instagram story.

“Something I’m really interested in is the manipulation of the human body in digital space so I’m working on something right now,” said McKee. “I’ve been playing with the idea of cyborgs and how in contemporary media they manifest and how I can expand on this idea of the digital combining with the physical.”

McKee is now exploring a handful of graduate programs outside of the U.S., with their eye on the Royal Academy of Art outside of Amsterdam.

“I would love to get my masters in graphic design or type design,” McKee said. “If I get the chance to, I would love to study abroad … I think especially in the arts that’s really needed. You need to kind of break your comfort zone.”

Some of McKee’s work is available for viewing at their website,

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Natalie Jude is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached on Twitter @nataloroni or at

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