Virtual Artist Talks

Welcome to our digital archive of virtual artist talks. In this page we will be posting recorded videos that are focused on College & Career Readiness, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, and Social Emotional Learning from the perspectives of our alumni.

North High Art Alumni Virtual Artist Talks

This new series focuses on North High art alumni and what they are doing as creative professionals.

Talk points:

  • post high school experience/education,
  • decision to pursue an art-related profession, 
  • learning about their art/creative work,
  • sharing personal and artistic challenges,
  • ways of addressing E,D, & I in their creative field,
  • defining success,
  • sharing aspirations,
  • and anything else that pops up during these conversation. 

The 2022-2023 Sheboygan North High Art Department Virtual Artist Talk Series is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

© 2022/2023 Sheboygan North High Art Department/Frank Juárez.

2022-2023

In this episode, Sheboygan North High art alumnus, Julia St. Pierre talks about her experience being a female filmmaker in New York City, the importance of collaboration, defining success in her own terms, and the need for creativity.

I am a firm believer in the power of film as art. While it is easy to dismiss film as frivolous or unimportant, it still functions the way all art does: to hold up a mirror to our society and see ourselves for what we are, or were, in a particular moment. Films are beautiful instruments of change and time capsules that teach us how people used to think about themselves and where we are going in the future. As a filmmaker, I strive to not only paint beautiful pictures on the screen, but also to challenge the audience with contemporary stories that may make them uncomfortable. – Julia St. Pierre

Julia St. Pierre is originally from Wisconsin and is proud alum of UW, Madison. After earning her Bachelor of the Arts in history and theater with a minor in European studies she moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting.


After attending acting school she decided to leave auditioning behind and create her own content. Six years later she has produced several films. Some stand outs in her filmography include the documentary, ‘Our Corner Of The Planet,’ which is streaming on IFT Network and Amazon, the feature length narrative film ‘The Monster Next To You,’ which is streaming on IFT Network, and the narrative feature ‘Sleep, Celeste,’ which has won awards in film festivals in Los Angeles, California and Rome, Italy.

In this episode, artist Dej Txiaj Ntsim, Kuab Maiv Yaj, Koua Mai Yang (Sheboygan North High art alumnus, class of 2007) talks about her path to becoming an artist, overcoming artistic challenges, defining success in her own words, and embracing her culture and identity through her art. 

The 2022-2023 Sheboygan North High Art Department Virtual Artist Talk Series is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

© 2022/2023 Sheboygan North High Art Department/Frank Juárez.

My artistic practice started in drawing and painting where I began exploring my gendered experiences of Hmong identity, history, and culture. While studying art during my BFA program in 2009-2012, I found myself looking for a more succinct history of HMong art or writings about HMong aesthetics, and I noticed that everything creative and visual was directed toward my people’s history of displacement. I became hyper-aware of how HMong textiles influence how we imagine what is HMong and who is HMong. At the time I was not interested in how celebratory textiles appeared in the representation of HMong because it felt one-dimensional as if the struggles and triumphs of my people were overlooked.

Instead, my drawings and paintings delved into counter-narrative imaginaries, where I was photographing my family’s mundane everyday experiences. In these drawings and paintings, I captured HMong patriarchy and ageism. The women in my family, for example, are homemakers who did all the cooking, set the dinner table, and eat last when there are guests.  My observations of the gendered dynamics were not unique to my family, it’s quite common in the general HMong community.

Towards the end of my BFA program, I began to incorporate my grandma’s textile teachings into my studio practice. I started sewing HMong clothing. My practice shifted from the 2-dimensional imaginary to a stronger focus on space, healing, and materials, like fabric, thread, and objects that hold meaning in my life. In many ways, I approach installations like I approach drawings and paintings. I think about the history of space, how bodies navigate or perform in it, and the social weight and memories that surround a material especially when they are placed near one another.

Contrary to where I began, my current project Hnav HMoob, Wear HMong engages in making and wearing ancestral dresses and images of HMong women and girls in HMong clothes. Hnav HMoob, Wear HMong is a photography and performance project where I wear my ideas of ancestral dress in the every day with the intention to gaze back at people. The project is multi-faceted, but at its core is focused on placing a real body in the imaginations and fantasies of HMong women and girls.

Overall I am interested in the nuances in HMong experiences, this includes mundane and beautiful happenings as well as realities that are often invisible to the broader community. I work across disciplines and mediums because one method is not able to communicate the complexity, contradictions, and complicated life stories that are reflected in the human experience.

2021-2022

KYLE JESKE, MINNESOTA

Class of 2007

In this episode, Mr. Juárez sits down with artist Kyle Jeske, class of 2007, virtually. Kyle shares his love for traveling and painting, his aspirations, and how his journey began during college to what he is doing today.

When painting, I often paint what I am most interested in at the time or work that relates to current day events. My work uses high contrast in primary colors, shape, and line to create a playful composition. My goal is not to create photorealistic images, but to create whimsical characters and shapes that have personality. I am drawn to using layering techniques with acrylic paint to build up the composition. There is not necessarily any deep hidden meaning in my pieces, I just hope to create works that the audience finds amusing, or visually pleasing.

I intend to continue painting for the entirety of my lifetime. I am continuously inspired by other artists, life experiences, and the potential to create something that does not currently exist. I guess my only true regret in terms of my artistic career is that I have not invested the time that I believe is required to reach my full potential. Having created over 150 pieces in a 14-15 year career, I believe I am just getting started. I have many works in progress that I intend on finishing soon.

This episode is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

JUSTIN THAO, WISCONSIN

Class of 2010

Currently, Justin is an entrepreneur/owner of Incredifold, Inc.

In this episode Mr. Juárez sits down with Justin Thao (class of 2010) virtually to talk about life after high school graduation. As a solopreneur, Justin’s passion for origami since grade school has developed into his own company, Incredifold. He shares his artistic and professional successes and challenges, how to navigate the art market, and the enjoyment for constantly learning new design skills.

I have been folding paper and learning origami for over 10 years before I began pursuing my business. Origami itself has a deep history originating from Japan. It is becoming an inspiration to developing new problem solving skills for all types of products. It’s an amazing piece of art but it seems as though so much has already been done with origami that there was nothing left to explore. But when I searched within the folds, I found something valuable that has not been created before. The future was starting to unfold in front of my eyes. And therefore, I began building my vision.

My designs are centered on lighting. I always try to wrap my designs around light, so that people would stop and stare at it like a moth that is attracted to light. I strive in creating a piece of art that is either inspired by nature, or inspired by the folds I discovered. That way my work is innovative and ground breaking. I utilize 3D printing to create and advance my work. This allows me to design the parts that give my work more value. At the same time I draw the patterns that decorate my lamps, giving them a vibrant and meaningful theme. Each lamp I design is making way for bigger opportunities, opening doors I haven’t seen before.

This episode is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

KARLY KAINZ, NEW MEXICO

Class of 2015

Currently Karly is pursuing an M.F. A. (Master’s of Fine Arts) Degree at New Mexico State University.

In this episode, artist Karly Kainz (class of 2015) talks about how her interest in art has led her to pursue a MFA degree, using art as a vehicle for personal reflection and self-discovery, and realizing that happiness is important in pursuing a career.

Beginning a new journey at New Mexico State University, Karly’s practice is currently in state of flux, entangled in a developmental and experimental phase as she begins a new body of work.  After creating work for years centered around the climate crisis, her attention has been pulled in many different directions in response to the state of this past year.  Looking at the global isolation indoors, she was forced to evaluate her space and the objects held within it. Her work is a conversation of the meaning held within objects and the ways in which material can alter that reality. Through the use of abundant materials, her work portrays a nonsensical reality of objects through altered perspective, scale, pattern and form. These works hope to further understand the psychology of how we interact with objects and the sentiment we hold them to.  

Karly Jean Kainz is an interdisciplinary artist from Wisconsin who focuses on the materiality of object making. She recently received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with an emphasis in Print & Narrative Forms from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2019. Since 2016, she has exhibited in several Milwaukee based group shows. Additionally, her work is included in multiple collections at UWM and in the Milwaukee area. Her work within the university has led to outside positions like working as a printmaker and graphic designer at the Theaster Gates Studio in Chicago, IL preparing for shows like the world-wide recognized Chicago Architectural Biennial in 2019 and designing for community spaces. Currently residing in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Kainz in studying to receive her Masters in Fine Art at New Mexico State University.

Image: On Environment, in response to “Wind” written by Emily Martin. Handmade recycled paper with print transfers, plastic inclusions & cut outs, roughly 2.5’ x 4’. 2019.

This episode is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

ERICA BARRINGER, LOS ANGELES

Class of 2014

Currently Erica is an art director at BBH Global Agency.

In this episode, Erica Barringer (Sheboygan North High, class of 2014) talks about how her creative work as an art director in Los Angeles, the importance of meeting deadlines, and engaging in personal projects to balance work and life.

“The type of art I do in graphic design is bold and graphic, where I really try to express ideas in a clever, fun and entertaining way. I use typography, iconography, and photography to create visual communication pieces and design systems. While craftsmanship is extremely important to me, I try hard to produce art that goes beyond “pretty”. My goal is to create pieces that are cinematic and memorable”.

Erica Barringer is a Los Angeles based art director who specializes in advertising and entertainment. She uses photoshop and illustrator to design and bring visual concepts to life. She’s created a variety of work from logos, brand identity, presentations, out of home placements, commercials, and products.

She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2017 with a BA in Advertising and Advertising Art Direction.

She’s worked on clients such as Barbie, Samsung, Google, Quibi, E!, as well has been a Webby Nominee (2020), Young Ones ADC merit winner (2017).

Image: Walkie Talkie phone case and packaging designed for a T-Mobile and Stranger Things partnership promoting season 3.

This episode is supported by a grant from the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

Past Virtual Talks with Local, Regional, and National Professional Artists

MEL KOLSTAD, WISCONSIN

In this episode, Fond du Lac-based artist Mel Kolstad talks about her creative process, the joy of working small, and the art of drypoint printmaking.

In 2018, Mel Kolstad was honored to present a TEDx talk about her art at TEDxFondduLac. It was entitled, “Channeling your Inner Kid for your Career”, and she spoke about how the things we loved when we were kids many times find a way into our lives when we’re adults.

It’s an axiom she lives every day. In her art practice, which has narrowed considerably in the last three years or so, she creates tiny drypoint and watercolor prints, usually in large series of 25 or more. Each of these series’ themes hearkens straight to the things she loved as a kid – vintage ephemera, her stamp collection, anything tiny, anything having to do with foreign language.

In creating these works, she is fortunate enough to be able to relive the magic she initially felt when experiencing these things more than 40 years ago, and feeling the joy and wonder of surrounding herself in her interests makes going to work every day a sheer pleasure. She never runs out of ideas.

SALLY CARSON, WISCONSIN

In this episode Sheboygan-based artist Sally Carson talks about her love for letterpress printing, her journey from a former art gallery owner to her current artistic practice as a graphic designer, and working with today’s aspiring artists.

Sally Carson is a graphic designer who took a letterpress workshop and fell in love! Her wonderful friend who was running the workshop was teaching them about inking and said you want the ink to look like VELVET and sound like BACON! Well, who doesn’t want to make Velvet Bacon every day?! Since then Carson has been hooked. Currently, she prints on a 1923 Chandler & Price platen press. She has about 50 square feet of space in her studio. She is working on building a larger type collection. She uses polymer plates for custom designs and marketing materials.

KATHERINE STEICHEN ROSING, WISCONSIN

In this episode, Madison-based artist Katherine Steichen Rosing talks about her love for the outdoors, reviving childhood memories, and embracing the use texture and color.

As a native Wisconsinite, our forests and lakes are an important part of my soul. Forests reveal cycles of time and nature which emerge in my paintings and drawings coded as rhythmic patterns of line, negative space, color, and texture.

Every forest is different, and ever changing. Phases of life can be seen everywhere from the slender saplings and immense mature trees, to the diseased and fallen. In the quiet pools within the forests, ripples from insects, animals, and drizzling rain interact and disappear — ephemeral events.

Immersed in a forest, lost in the luscious whorls of lichen, I remember that lichen can be a sign of clean air, or a weakening tree. The rhythmic contrasts of narrow and wide trunks, vertical, diagonal, or horizontal, narrate the history of the forest from the elders to the saplings. I feel the bodies of the trees dwarf and engulf me making me part of the forest, for the moment. Peering at ripples on a pond, I wonder about the disturbances above and below. The chaos and tumult of modern human life melts away for a little while and I am in a timeless zone.

Surface and color are important in my paintings where I develop relief surfaces to enhance the play of light and color like nature’s textures. I work in a wide range of sizes and formats from intimate oval paintings on birch panel to very large paintings on unstretched canvas and ten foot long scroll drawings on archival Tyvek. I like the intimacy of small works invite exploration of the surface while huge works engulf and surround us like wilderness.

Katherine Steichen Rosing’s paintings and drawings have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad, including Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Tokyo, and Beijing. Her works are included in numerous collections internationally including the State of Wisconsin Collection, Northwestern Mutual, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI.

In addition to an active exhibition career, Ms. Rosing has taught studio art courses at colleges and universities for over 20 years in Madison and Chicago. Born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, she earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Northern Illinois University-DeKalb.

LIALA AMIN, WISCONSIN

In this episode, Milwaukee-based artist Liala Amin talks about her self-discovery journey, embracing her culture, addressing mental health, and finding the freedom to follow her own voice.

At its core, my art is a visual journal. A therapeutic documentation of emotion, growth, and discovery. I rely on intuition as I allow lines to flow and form organic, and sometimes chaotic, patterns. But within chaos there is a union of consciousness and the unknown, creativity and transformation.

My art is a feminine view inspired by a combination of myth, history, and personal experiences. I want to subvert singular expectations of womanhood and present femininity as multifaceted and fully autonomous. Multiple materials allow me to express different ideas and I enjoy incorporating different media in each artwork. I encourage the viewer to look closer and take in the details, reflecting lights, and shifting colors. Life changes depending on our view: we become illuminated differently by every new perspective.

Liala Amin is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the facets of femininity through themes of spirituality, mythology, and personal identity. While painting is her preferred medium, her work includes mixed media paintings, drawings, and textiles. She flows between mediums to explore the intuitive nature of  art making. Amin considers her art a visual journal and an outlet to manifest introspection, storytelling, and process.

About our virtual artist talks

The Sheboygan North High Artist Lecture Series (est 2010) is an in-school program at Sheboygan North High School. We invite local, regional, and national visual artists to share their journey as artists with the beginning, intermediate, and advanced art classes. Visiting artists present and introduce art students to such as but not limited to: how to present a portfolio, share a body of work, facilitate an art demonstration, or talk about about their artistic journey. This provides our students the opportunity to interact with the artists. 

In 2014, the North High Art Department introduced Skyping contemporary artists into the art room through a project called, the Midwest Artist Studios Project. One of the project’s goals was to provide a way for art teachers and students to interact with these MAS artists via Skype. Through this platform, artists and students had the opportunity to talk about the work they have created or in the process of creating. This exchange resulted in critiques, Q & A’s about each other’s work, or just the opportunity to talk ‘art shop’.

Mr. Juárez decided to make these Skype talks more formal through a program titled, “Skype Session Series”. Each episode brings a new artist from anywhere in the U.S. into the art room to engage art students in meaningful discussions, constructive criticism, and provide the opportunity for them to begin networking with artists who are doing what they are passionate about. The sessions are screened for the entire class to participate in this experience (when appropriate).

Due to COVID-19, we decided to continue these artist talks virtually.

Virtual Student Exhibition

2020-2021

In 2020 – 2021 we created a virtual online student exhibition to showcase more art. This exhibition featured various artworks created by Mr. Juárez and Mrs. Mattern’s art students as well as art from other courses. We will continue to create online opportunities for our students.

We are embracing the digital world and will be bringing our students’ art to a screen near you.