Bio: Niamh Steffens (they/them) is from Evansville, Indiana. As I work towards finishing my degree in Visual Communication Design at the University of Evansville, I often find my work lying at the intersection of both art and social activism. Oftentimes, this comes to fruition in the form of digital illustration as I repeatedly take on various personal studies, including extensive ones in color theory and blending, along with my schoolwork in order to make myself a more rounded artist. I find inspiration in the people around me and the ever present need to make the world as safe for as many people as possible, so that when I do leave it, I know it’s a better place than it was. I use vibrant colors and typography to relay the message I want to send, in the hope that from this, people can create a dialogue around my art. In the future, I am undertaking studies at a postgraduate program at Norwich University of the Arts in Norwich, England.

Artist Statement: The application of art and how it is regularly used to inspire meaningful dialogue has always been something that interests me, and as online activism has gained traction in the past few years, my interest has piqued. Back in 2020, for example, during the George Floyd protests, a Brooklyn-based artist named Adrian Brandon made portraits of black men and women and colored them in, with each minute of coloring representing one year of that person’s life before they were killed by the police. The portraits are thus left incomplete, illustrating how their lives were cut short. It’s this kind of powerful use of art that has influenced me and my own art the most, prompting me to explore how art can inspire people to act, to speak up when they see injustice in the world, and to help others. 

In order to create a cohesive installation that meets specific needs, these projects require the technical application of both graphic and interior design, as well as an extensive knowledge of color theory. I am engaged in other design-related projects that include printmaking, mural installation, product packaging, and jewelry making. The process of not only digitally designing a piece, but also the physical creation of it and the final application is something about which I hope to expand my knowledge before entering the design world. I’ve also taken on many different personal studies for projects I’ve been given to not only meet the demands of what is being asked of me, but to push myself further outside of my comfort zone.