Department of Art and Art History News

Design Institute for Health Research Fellowships available to M.F.A. Design students in fall 2016

Tue. December 1, 2015

night image of burnt orange tower
Photo by Marsha Miller.

The College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin announces two Design Institute for Health Research Fellowships open to graduate students entering the M.F.A. Design program in the Department of Art and Art History in fall 2016. Fellowship awards include:

  • Full tuition and health insurance
  • Fellowship/work stipend of $25,000 per year
  • The opportunity to work with the university's Design Institute for Health, a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and College of Fine Arts

Applicants to the M.F.A. Design program whose backgrounds and statements of intent suggest an interest in and aptitude for the field of healthcare design (broadly conceived to include the design of systems, services, devices and interactions) will automatically be considered for the fellowships; no separate application is required.

About the Department of Art and Art History
The Department of Art and Art History in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest and most diverse in the country. It includes programs in Art Education, Art History, Design and Studio Art. The M.F.A. Design program’s cohorts of four to seven students work closely with faculty in small classes with individualized instruction. Drawing on the extensive resources of a tier one, comprehensive research university, the program allows self-directed students the opportunity to tailor their coursework to pursue an area of academic concentration and to focus on graphics, objects, interactions, systems and/or services.

About the Design Institute for Health
The Design Institute for Health (DIH) is a first-of-its-kind initiative applying a creative design-based approach to the nation’s health care challenges and rapidly integrating that perspective into medical education and new community health programs in Central Texas. The DIH is a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin and is a resource to the community. The DIH works across Austin’s new medical district with invested stakeholders on projects to meaningfully change health experiences and reimagine care delivery. The institute is led by two veterans of the internationally recognized design firm IDEO: Stacey Chang, IDEO’s former managing director of health and wellness; and Beto Lopez, former head of systems design at IDEO and a UT Austin alumnus.

wkrm: A New Design Studio at The University of Texas at Austin

Wed. November 25, 2015


twenty head shots with objects pasted together in rectangle

wkrm officially launches December 3, 2015. wkrm is a design studio built by students and led by Assistant Professor of Design, Jiwon Park. Join the launch party December 3 in the Art Building, 6–8 p.m., room 1.116B.

This event will showcase the process of developing wkrm, including the fully designed and furnished studio and case studies of initial client work. The students will also conduct live design work to demonstrate the wkrm creative process.

wkrm is a team of young creatives who are ready to deliver a fresh perspective on any challenge. wkrm designers are incredibly flexible, with an ability to staff projects from a variety of disciplines including:

  • Advertising
  • Communication Design
  • Design Strategy
  • Experience and UI/UX Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Spatial Design

About wkrm
wkrm is a student-run, faculty-led design studio housed at The University of Texas at Austin. Our studio provides opportunities for students to work with real clients while still in school and receive support for their professional development. Our design process is purposefully curated with the client in mind. We will work together from start to finish to deliver exactly what the client needs for its company, brand, or event. We encourage interested parties to come talk to us, whether they know what they need or not, so we can start co-designing today.

Media Contact: Jiwon Park, assistant professor of Design in the Department of Art and Art History at UT Austin,

Q+A with Jesse Kinbarovsky (M.F.A. in Design, 2014)

Tue. November 24, 2015


Jesse Kinbarovsky completed an M.F.A. in Design in 2014 from The University of Texas at Austin. He answered questions by email.

man smiles and poses for for photo

When you completed the graduate Design program, you were working on GlucoCue. Where is that project now?

Jesse Kinbarovsky: I continue to work on my diabetes ‘internet-of-things’ project, and have gotten a decent chunk through development. The utility patent was filed this year but will take a few more months for approval. I’ve pivoted a bit to account for gaps in the market and competition, but it’s more or less the same sort of thing I presented in grad school. I wish I were further on this, but given my schedule I’m happy that I’ve at least gotten this far. In the fall, I partnered with UT School of Biomedical Engineering to help develop, which was a good experience. I recently found a business partner, and it’s looking good for product release sometime in 2016, if I can focus enough time on it.

What work have you been doing since graduating?

JK: After graduating in 2014 I worked as a contract designer, playing lead design roles on a few projects. I spent much of the time focused on a really cool touch wall at a large hospital complex in San Francisco, developing a series of physical and music therapy games and interactive experiences for the Children’s Hospital there. I was extremely gratified to learn that the therapists walk groups of kids to the wall every day for therapy. Following that I moved to Precocity, LLC as a Senior UI/UX Designer on some large-scale software products. After a few months I became Creative Director, leading design and development teams in the U.S., Ukraine, and India on a suite of immigration, investment and tax compliance applications for Deloitte, Apple, Facebook and Google—about one billion in contracts altogether.

It was a real learning experience and full of big problems to solve, but in October I was invited to be Creative Director of UX for North America with KUKA Systems, a robotics and automation firm headquartered in Augsburg, Germany. In this new role I am helping launch a new R&D branch and working with some fascinating emerging technologies to define how people experience and interact with robots and automation systems in a wide range of settings. Starting in 2016 I will be building teams in Austin and San Francisco to design mobile and cloud solutions for industrial robotics applications in general, and healthcare automation more specifically.

It's only been a short time, but what has been the most exciting thing about your work for KUKA Systems?

JK: It’s been thrilling and demanding working with some very sharp people who are building some amazing technologies. But even more than that, it’s energizing to work in a very entrepreneurial environment at this early stage. All of us have the sense of urgency and excitement that comes with the start of a new thing.

How would you describe your practice before you entered the M.F.A. program in Design and how has it changed since you completed the program?

JK: All of the work I listed above has been a direct outgrowth of my grad school experience and output. UT Austin has dramatically improved my career trajectory, and the last year and a half have been filled with rapid growth. Before grad school I was pretty hemmed in to my specific design practice, stuck at a certain level and quite honestly too timid to venture into new areas. But the amazing professors and availability of great courses helped me tailor my education to expand my skill set and build confidence in my abilities. I learned how to think in new ways and engage with a wide variety of subjects, and the result has been having a meaningful impact on people’s lives through my design work.

Q+A with Raul De Lara (B.F.A. Studio Art, 2015)

Tue. November 24, 2015

man in black and white sweater poses for camera
Image courtesy of the artist.

Raul De Lara graduated with a B.F.A in Studio Art with high honors in 2015. He now lives and works in Chicago and answered these questions via email.

Kayla Jones: What sort of opportunities provided by UT Austin did you take advantage of while you were an undergraduate student?

Raul De Lara: While at UT Austin, I took advantage of programs such as the New York Seminar, Ox-Bow, and scholarships within the College of Fine Arts and other areas in the university. I made sure to learn how to properly operate every single tool available at the wood shop and Digital Fabrication Lab. I also took advantage of the faculty and staff’s knowledge and wisdom. I would often ask them for advice and questions about the professional world and life in general.

KJ: Which opportunity you took advantage of had the biggest impact? Why?

RDL: The opportunity that had the biggest impact was the Ox-Bow program. A year before graduating, I was awarded a scholarship to go to Ox-Bow during the summer for a two-week class. The experience allowed me to dive deeply into a sea of opportunities within the Ox-Bow and Chicago community. I remember not being able to believe that I was in a place where every single person was just as excited and passionate about becoming something greater. This opportunity had the biggest impact on me because it created a chain reaction of favorable circumstances that eventually led up to me receiving a fellowship to attend Ox-Bow and moving to Chicago—creating a solid foundation for the first years of my artistic career.

KJ: Why did you decide to move to Chicago?

RDL: During my Ox-Bow fellowship I connected with a lot of Chicago artists, which opened up an abundance of opportunities for me in the city. A Chicago friend and I decided to look for a place together. We wanted an all-in-one living space where we could have living space, studio space and a gallery. Eventually we found the perfect building that would fulfill our visions in the neighborhood of Bridgeport and together we founded Fat City Arts. Having this strong network of people and finding my ideal living situation led me to have no other choice but to move to Chicago to pursue my professional goals and ambitions.

chair with wooden cushions
Thinking Chair, 2015, mahogany and white oak. Image courtesy of the artist.

KJ: How did you get the opportunity to work for Nick Cave?

RDL: After locking down my new space in Chicago, I had in mind the ideal job of working with an artist that I really look up to: Nick Cave. I landed my job working with Nick Cave by networking Ox-Bow and Chicago circles, which eventually led to an interview with him. During the interview I got to see the studio crew in action and the famous Soundsuits; I was hooked immediately.

KJ: How has it been trying to maintain a studio practice since graduating, moving and getting a job with Nick Cave’s studio?

RDL: My studio practice has been very fruitful since moving to Chicago. Learning how to carefully manage my time has been a key factor in all of the following. I have a well-equipped wood shop and a lot of space where I can create work. Having a gallery on site also allows me to host events that showcase my work and the work of other living artists. I live with three incredibly talented artists who just graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. We help each other and share knowledge on a regular basis.

Collectively we operate Fat City Arts, which is not only a place where we host art and music shows, but also a hot-spot for creatives to engage with one another and further develop the vernacular of tomorrow. Graduating finally allowed me to be able to start big scale solo and group projects. I am currently working on collaborative sculptures with artists from Detroit, Chicago and Ireland. I am also in the process of painting a 44 ft. mural in downtown Chicago. During the first part of my weekdays, I work with Nick Cave at his studio. I love being there because he is a role model for me; that man works harder than anyone I know. I also recently got accepted by Chicago Artists Coalition to be a yearlong resident for HATCH Projects, where I will receive professional development through dynamic exhibitions, one-on-one studio visits, public programs, and community building to develop a sustainable creative practice.

KJ: What advice would you give current undergraduates?


  • Your professors and staff are your most valuable assets. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and favors—they want to help.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of simply being liked.
  • Do not take your place in time for granted. There are thousands of people fighting to be where you are and where you want to be.

Kayla Jones lives in Austin, Texas where she is pursuing a B.F.A. in Studio Art and B.A. in English at The University of Texas at Austin.

Teresa Hubbard interviews undergraduate Chandler Allen about recent New York Magazine commission

Tue. November 24, 2015

Chandler Allen is an undergraduate student in Studio Art. She recently completed a photo shoot with New York Magazine and answered questions via email.

two people sitting at picnic table look over at camera
Hannah and the Singer, 2015, premium luster inkjet print, 30 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Teresa Hubbard: First of all, congratulations on garnering a paid photography assignment to shoot for New York Magazine. The photography editors looked at photography work being done by undergraduates around the country at a number of different universities, and the editors were very impressed by a number of our photography students working here in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin who submitted portfolios for their consideration.

Could you tell me about the the experience of working on assignment for such a prominent client?

Chandler Allen: Thank you. I am honored, as I know many candidates across the nation applied. Working for a major publication like New York Magazine was a rewarding whirlwind. From the day I got the job, I was in conference calls with the Photography Director every other morning before attending class and working closely with the Senior Photo Editor on a daily basis. Every night I would go out to fraternities, Co-Op’s, apartments and other parties around campus to photograph elaborate shoots of friends, lovers, strangers and even one self-portrait. It was essentially my job to be at the right place at the right time in the dark hours of the night and orchestrate a narrative depicting that party, sexual encounter or relationship.

TH: I know that the assignment entailed several weeks of very intensive on-location work. What kind of things did you learn about photography and yourself while working on this job?

CA: I learned a great deal regarding technique. I sharpened the intentionality of my subject’s gaze and body language to emote sexuality without having to illustrate sex. It was very important that the work spoke about college life and our sexual journeys in subtle ways like a look of pride, a placement of a hand, a furled brow and not only obvious ways, like nudity. I also learned that as a photographer I constantly want to relate to my subjects. I found myself inadvertently interacting and not just stuck behind the camera; this allowed my subjects to open up and be more vulnerable which produced better results.

two men in pool hug
Angel and Preston in the Water, 2015, premium luster inkjet print, 40 x 34 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

TH: Has working commercially, for a client, changed how you approach your own artwork, and if so, in what ways?

CA: I knew the work I did for New York Magazine would be published for millions to see. So in my mind, it required a heightened responsibility and ownership. Because the work was about sex and relationships in college, it was important to me to submit a self-portrait and put myself in the shoes of my subjects.

Now in my artwork I take this same approach more often—exposing myself physically and emotionally as much as I ask others to. This has only strengthened my artistic integrity. I think to often college art students reject commercial work because they think in some way it is beneath them. What they don’t realize is that most of the world's most successful artists have at one time or are currently being funded by commercial work and that it is smart to utilize both sides of the market.

The New York Magazine assignment has already begun to open new doors for my career and I thank professors like you, the College of Fine Arts Career Services, and the university, for bringing this opportunity to light and consistently supporting my endeavors.