Artists Within

By Marah J. Morrison

Youngstown State University student artists are thriving and passionate about what they do. Living a double life as a student and an artist may be challenging, but it is the driving force of their happiness.

Torri Session, a senior theatre major, said she grew up drawing and her mom was also an artist who went to YSU. She said she has always enjoyed drawing and watching animations.

“That really got me into drawing,” she said. “‘Powerpuff Girls’ was one of my favorite shows and I used to emulate it a lot.”

Session said when she was a digital media major, she put her work toward her projects, and on the weekends, she would take the time to work on things she personally enjoyed.

“My style would be considered an anime style,” she said. “I [also] enjoy doing illustrations or comic work.”

Session said most of the time, her ideas come to mind, she’ll jot it down and do a sketch to try to get something out. She said sometimes she pre-plans her work while looking for inspiration.

“A lot of it is through Twitter or Pinterest,” she said.

Session said her biggest fulfillment in pursuing her artwork is seeing the work completed, and sharing her work with others pushes her to work harder from being inspirationally driven.

“I’ve always wanted to do storybook illustrations for covers, so I want to try and get into that field [in the future],” she said.

Manolo Villatoro, a junior graphic design major with a focus in interactive design from Guatemala, said as a child he chose artwork instead of sports. He said he enjoyed coloring and drawing.

“Our school in Guatemala back home, they have [a] vocational school [where] you can take something specific [in] what you will like to do in college, and I did graphic design,” he said.

Villatoro said in 2015, he wanted to be a tattoo artist and had an opportunity to become one, but he also wanted to pursue a career in college and graphic design.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s my passion. I think I can say I’m decent at it.”

Photo courtesy of Evan Von Thaer

Villatoro said over spring break, he took the time to look at his old sketchbooks from 2015 and compared them to his work now, and he has not stopped drawing since then.

“I draw every single day [in the] free time I have,” he said. “I definitely have improved.”

He said he was influenced by a tattoo artist at a shop that he had an opportunity at, which is why he got into illustration.

Villatoro said it’s scary exposing his work to others, and artists will get people who are not going to like it and will question the work.

“When you’re trying to print and sell stuff, you’re always taking the risk,” he said. “You have to get enough stuff and have the [right] mentality, but sometimes they don’t.”

Villatoro said when it comes to pursuing artwork, there is always a chance, and the only way to know if something works is if an artist puts it out there.

Evan Von Thaer, a junior graphic design major, said his mom thinks she showed “Jurassic Park” to him too early. The film heavily influenced him and it’s the type of work he enjoys creating.

“When I got to college, I wanted to go into computer science because that seems like the place to get a job, but I realized I did not like math enough to do that,” he said. “I chose graphic design.”

Thaer said he usually keeps something with him in case he thinks of anything, and he can then quickly write something down or draw it.

“My notes make absolutely no sense,” he said. “I’ll wake up from a dream in the middle of the night, I’ll write something down, and then I’ll wake up the next morning and be like ‘what was I thinking?’”

Thaer said the artwork ideas may come randomly, but he still pursues it. He said artists have to love what they do and when he is not working on schoolwork, he is working on his art.

“You have to make time for what really matters,” he said.