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Alumni Spotlight: Kirsten Hemrich

Tell us a bit about what you’re doing now and how you got to where you are:
I currently am on fellowship at UVA for visual art. I also work part-time for Iris Magazineas an illustrator. My illustrations often address identity, feminism, and political issues. My paintings however are more abstract and address the nuances of memory and my own personal experiences. 

I have been painting and drawing all my life. My work has been exhibited around UVA, Charlottesville, and Richmond. I am the recipient of eight various arts grants including “The University Award for Project in the Arts,” “The Fourth Year Miller Arts Award,”  and an “Aunspaugh Fellowship.” My work can be found on my website and on my instagram

Whose work inspires you to work harder or think differently?
I take a lot of inspiration from contemporary and modernist painters including Cy Twombly, Jean Michel Basquiat, and Joan Mitchell. However even more than my favorite painters, my cohort of artist friends inspires me to grow as a creative, pushing me to think differently about my work and experiment with materials and ideas. 

Why are you passionate about your program at the Women's Center?
Working on Iris Magazine with our strong team of feminists and creatives is a real privilege. It is an extremely supportive and collaborative environment. I love our weekly meetings because we are able to share our evolving ideas and experiences in a safe space. It is also very gratifying to give abstract ideas form through collaborative work in drawing and word. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I plan to keep painting and making art. After my fellowship ends in May 2019, I plan to apply for MFA programs and residencies. I also hope to keep illustrating by working with other publications. 

What is your favorite UVA moment?
Before graduating this past May, I lived in an old house on Gordon with my best friends. We would throw DIY concerts in the living room and host poetry readings on our porch. The house was falling apart, filthy, and full of strange, forgotten treasures. It was undoubtedly a fire hazard but it had its charm. We didn’t have a dinner table, so in the evening whoever was home would congregate in the kitchen, perched on the stairs, the radiator, the floor. We spent countless hours like that: drinking coffee, eating, laughing in our dirty kitchen. Those were my favorite nights. 

What is your guilty pleasure?
I have deep, unwarranted love for cheesy romantic comedies. If I am going to sit through an entire movie, it better be under two hours, follow a light, predictable plot, and have simple (but attractive) characters. Bonus points for musical interludes. 

Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Amanda Bynes circa 2005


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