Participating Faculty, Students, and Alumni:
Austin Anderson grew up in Midlothian, Virginia, just south of the city of Richmond. From a very young age, she consistently devoted a large portion of her time to drawing and painting. Drawing from observation, in particular, has always been of great value and interest to her. Although accustomed to working traditionally, she has been improving her digital skills in order to expand the breadth of her work. Her fascination with Biological concepts and increasing interest in medical technology has led her to pursue her Master’s degree in Medical Illustration after she finishes her undergraduate work at VCU.
Emily was born in Roanoke, Virginia but raised in Hardy County, West Virginia. Art for her was a self-taught hobby. It was an interest and a skill that was difficult to cultivate in such an isolated area. Instead, she excelled in school and won awards for her writing and science performance. Animals and nature, dominating fixtures in her a rural community, also remained a consistent interest to her, and would later inspire her artwork. In high school she volunteered at a local veterinary clinic and participated in student conservation programs. Thanks to her mother and her involvement in her high school Spanish Club, Emily was able to travel internationally several times in her high school days, including a trip to Spain and the Prado Museum. In the summer of her junior year, she decided to look into VCU's Summer Intensive. Three weeks in Richmond and a taste of VCU's art program was enough to make her decide that art was what she wanted to pursue. She is currently a student in the Department of Communication Arts with a minor in Creative Writing.
Mary K. Carter
Mary K. Carter was born in Vienna, VA and spent most of her younger years drawing, playing competitive soccer, and studying voice. She rarely received additional instruction in art, preferring to spend most of her time self-teaching and observing. She has been drawing since the day she could make a mark on a piece of paper, and feels that most of her inspiration is derived from nature, a love for color, and an energetic curiosity about how things work. She began her studies at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of the Arts in 2007, and when she found an opportunity to study both art and science, decided to pursue the Department of Communication Arts Scientific and Preparatory Medical Emphasis Area in 2008. Since then, she has become involved in numerous academic and social organizations on campus, received the Mallory Callan Memorial Scholarship, and completed an independent study project for the Biology Department at VCU. The biggest motivation behind her artwork and academic study is the fact that no matter how far along the road she travels, there will always be more to learn. She challenges herself to understand the technical aspects of her subjects, while also finding ways to express them artistically and creatively. She enjoys working in a variety of mediums, from traditional to digital, and experimenting with graphic design and photography. Mary will be graduating in the Fall of 2012, and looks forward to traveling and pursuing a career in the health field.
Vinh Chau and his immediate family consisting of his three brothers, a sister, his parents and his grandmother, immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 1990. As a child, he was quite interested in academics, sports, and fine arts. He was attracted to and enthralled by the beauty of nature and spent many hours probing and examining the natural world around him. Vinh has always been intricate with his hands, taking a certain passion towards craft oriented activities such as; wood working and book binding. During his high school career, he began to develop a serious dedication towards visual arts and began to draw quite religiously. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in the Department of Communication Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011. Vinh is well versed using many mediums but a few of his personal favorites are oils, watercolor, ink and graphite. Among many subjects, he is especially interested in portraiture, landscape and wildlife art. Vinh understands that although he is captivated by the subjects of his art, he acknowledges that the subjects are merely a vehicle to start a dialog between him and the blank surface. He has a profound liking to the abstract idea of lines, shapes, values, colors, textures, edges and how they can ultimately contribute to the creation of representational art. For Vinh, the painting/drawing experience is more important than the actual product itself. He strives to achieve a high level of spiritual comprehension of the world he dwells in through the use of paint, ink and graphite.
Lauren Conroy, MA
Lauren Conroy attended Virginia Commonwealth University from 2004-2009. Ms. Conroy received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Department of Communication Arts with an emphasis in Scientific and Preparatory Medical Illustration Preparatory Medical and Scientific Illustration and minors in both Biology and Painting and Printmaking. During this time she was an intern at Amicus Visual Solutions, a medical legal illustration firm in Richmond, Virginia. Upon graduation, she was accepted into the Biomedical Visualization Graduate Program at the University of Illinois, Chicago one of only five such programs in North America.
Anastasia Demson is a recent graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Communication Arts, and is currently studying in the Graduate Program at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Art as Applied to Medicine. She has had a lifelong interest in both the sciences and the arts and is very happy now that she has found a way to meld the two. She loves the nervous system and especially the anatomy of the head and neck.
Don Di Fiore
Don DiFiore was born and raised in Northern Va. From a early age, Don was drawn to all forms of art. He showed a passion and special talent for drawing, impressing his pre- and grade school teachers with his lifelike yet imaginative creations and prolific output. Don would spend endless hours creating hundreds of colorful, detailed drawings of his favorite cartoon and action hero characters. When he was eight, he created a travelogue of drawings from a family trip to Venice, Italy—with scores of gondolas, bridges, cathedrals, and squares. Trips to the Southwest stirred and strengthened his keen interest in nature, especially desert landscapes and wildlife. In high school, he headed a team of student artists who planned and painted montage landscape murals for the hallways. His current art focuses on his love of nature and native plants and animals, which he captures most often in ink and watercolor. He graduated from VCU with a BFA in the Department of Communication Arts in Dec. 2011.
Sarah Faris, MA, CMI
Sarah E. Faris grew up in Chesterfield County, VA where she attended public schools and was encouraged to explore her curiosity in the visual arts and sciences. Sarah attended Virginia Commonwealth University from 2000-2005, finding her artistic legs in the Department of Communication Arts and developing a philosophical search for the fusion of truth and beauty. She then completed the Medical and Biological Illustration Masters Program at the esteemed Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. There she learned from and worked with the leading experts in science and medicine, refining her teaching and communication skills in hopes of serving as a liaison between the scientific and medical community and those seeking to learn. Sarah is currently a certified medical illustrator (CMI) practicing as a freelance artist and an adjunct instructor at her alma mater in the Department of Communication Arts at VCU.
Jessica Caitlin Foley
Jessica was born in Newport News and was raised in Poquoson, Virginia. Although she grew up in a small town her interests were unlimited. As a child, she took part in various hobbies; everything from art to ballet, tap, jazz, various leadership programs, and even cheerleading. Of all her interests, art was the one that stuck. Her interest and awe in science & medicine began with visits to her mothers work at NASA Langley research center, and her fathers work as a veterinarian. This relationship developed into a love for animal care, medicine, as well as the inner workings of systematics through NASA and trips to her grandfathers’ airplane hanger in Williamsburg. The combination of these working environments and the emotional support of her family and her interest in the arts brought her to VCU. She is a student in the Department of Communication Arts with a concentration on Preparatory Scientific Medical Illustration. Jessica’s’ favorite medium is inks with a focus on line quality, craftsmanship, and detailed watercolor illustrations.
Suzzanne Ghuzzi, MA
Suzanne Ghuzzi was born and raised in Union, New Jersey and grew up with an appreciation of art and drawing as well as biology. Upon learning about the field of medical illustration, Suzanne attended Virginia Commonwealth University and received a BFA in Communication Arts with a minor in Biology. Immediately following graduation, Suzanne matriculated in the Biomedical Communications Graduate Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas where she received a Master of Arts degree. She is a member of the Association of Medical Illustrators and is actively pursuing her certification to become a Certified Medical Illustrator. Suzanne has won an AMI Award of Merit for editorial illustration as well as the Dean’s Excellence Award for Scientific Illustration in Honor of Lewis Boyd Waters. She is currently a lead medical illustrator at Electronic Publishing Services in New York City where she contributes and leads teams of medical illustrators in the development of scientific and medical text books.
Grace Mae Huddleston
Although she was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Grace and her family moved to Jacksonville, Florida when she was four. It was around that time that her interest in capturing the world around her first started to develop. This interest really started to flourish when she applied to a charter school for the arts in the seventh grade. Her acceptance into the program and the joy of being surrounded by the arts only fueled her passion for creating. Soon she applied for Douglas Anderson, a high school with an intensive arts program, here she was exposed to a wide variety of art making media. It was here that she first became fascinated by travel, psychology, and anthropology and her work began to focus around studying people. These interests only grew when she came to VCU where the culture contrasted so greatly from that of her home town and inspiration was abound. Her preferred method of art making is ink drawing with gouache washes however, she has recently started exploring oil painting and is looking forward to seeing where that takes her work.
Caitlin Suzanne Johnston
Caitlin was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but after her family moved around the country with the Navy she settled and was raised in Chesapeake, Virginia. Growing up in a home where both parents were health care professionals led to an interest in the fields of science and medicine. Animals, plants, and nature in general have always been a fascination for her in her studies and eventually her art. Caitlin has been drawing her whole life, and after spending three weeks at the VCUarts Summer Intensive for High School Students that she decided on art as a career path. Caitlin is currently a senior in the Department of Communication Arts in the Scientific and Preparatory Medical Illustration Emphasis Area with a minor in Biology. She prefers to work in watercolor, gouache, digital painting, and pen and ink. Caitlin recently completed an internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Entomology with a department illustrator. While there she completed several illustrations of new species of beetles and various insects that are to be featured in scientific journals. Upon receiving her BFA, Caitlin plans on pursuing a graduate degree in Medical Illustration.
Heun Ju Koo, who goes by her English name Lucy Koo, was born in Seoul, South Korea. Since her father was working as a designer and art instructor, she grew up in an environment that developed her passion for illustration. Her mother worked in various positions to support her family: a school teacher, car dealer, and licensed real estate agent. When Lucy became a high school student, she decided to go to art school and developed her pencil drawing and watercolor skills. However, her family's emigration to the United States when she was seventeen gave her more various opportunities. Of all the art schools she accepted, her passion for illustration led her to VCU. She is a sophomore in the Department of Communication Arts and currently minoring in painting and printmaking. She enjoys working in many mediums especially watercolor. Publications and children's book are the markets she wishes to work in soon.
Lori was born in New York and lived in New Jersey until she was 18. She grew up in a small town and spent a lot of her time there outdoors. Having loved art her whole life, she started to study it seriously in high school. After deciding that she wanted to pursue a career in the field, she moved to Richmond to attend VCU’s School of the Arts. Following her first introductory year, she entered the Department of Communication Arts and began to study art in a commercial application. She enrolled in the Department of Communication Arts, “Scientific Illustration” course in her junior year, and was intrigued by the technical skill and sensitive quality involved in the work, along with the scholarly study of nature. Currently she is a senior focusing primarily on the fusion of traditional media illustration with contemporary graphic design.
Juliana Flores Phung
Juliana Flores Phung was born on February 15, 1990 in Woodbridge, Virginia. As early as the age of 5, she was recognized as having a great interest in the crafts and arts. She has traveled to Mexico where a majority of her mother's family resides, and where most of her relatives are skilled artisans in the art of pottery making and painting. Since then, she has also traveled to Vietnam to where she built an interest in landscape and architecture from traveling to the mountains leading to some of Vietnam's greater Buddhist temples. At the age of 9 she had started oil painting from observation; thus building an important foundation for what would be her more surrealist works in her later years. With the opportunity to understand and live with two cultures of complete opposite ends of the world, she has developed a diverse range of interests between philosophy, science, culinary arts, photography, crafts, sculpture and painting. She is a student in the Department of Communication Arts and a self-proclaimed mycology enthusiast and culinary artist. She is at most an illustrator although she has been oil painting for much longer. In her recent years, she has developed a greater interest in the human figure and finds herself at most expressive in her work when she works with this subject. She describes figure drawing as” the interminable challenge of simultaneously developing form, space, and light. As an emotional human being depicting another, it is immensely rewarding to overcome the dissonance of objectifying your subjects to honor their beauty. To draw the figure, you must face your frustrations, never assume completion, and cry if you must, but you will feel more alive once you've forgotten the passage of time."
Curated by James Miller, Chair, Department of Communication Arts.