From art to music and back again, graduating student succeeds by persisting


December 1, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.

Hye Young Yun traces her story as an artist back to fifth grade, when she refused to let setbacks determine her fate during a national art competition. Photo of art student Hye Young Yun. Hye Young Yun. Photo by Esther Kong. Download Full Image

“I chose an old black bronze statue as the subject of my work, and when I had finished my painting, I was very shocked at what I had drawn,” said Hye Young, who graduates from Arizona State University this month with BFAs in drawing and in painting. “The painting, which I thought was going well, looked nothing like the subject. It was just a busy mess of black on paper, and I had realized this just 40 minutes before the competition ended. However, this wasn’t something that pushed me to give up, because it was my passion.”

She said she set the the competition aside and focused on just finishing the painting.  

“I carefully re-observed the subject and found the subtle changes in black,” she said. “Finally, I started to paint the subject again. When I saw the finished painting, I was very satisfied. In the end, I won the competition, and this became my aha moment.”

That same persistence and hard work is what led Hye Young to ASU and to a second career in the arts.

Before moving to Arizona, she was a musician in South Korea. She received a degree in piano performance from Yeungnam University in South Korea in 1993, and as a music major overcame many obstacles, including a severe muscle injury in her arm. Despite the injury, she worked at a church as an accompanist until 2000, but struggling with her condition, she no longer enjoyed the work. She quit her job and moved to Arizona with her two children. She decided to attend college again by taking the ESL program at Mesa Community College.

“As soon as I finished the ESL program, I jumped straight into a drawing class,” she said. “This was my second chance to achieve what I’ve always dreamed of.”

And as a student in the School of Art in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, she has excelled, even receiving five scholarships this year.

“Hye Young creates drawings of Korean culture and figures that go beyond my expectations as an instructor,” said Heidi Hogden, assistant professor. “Her innovative work in drawing, her scholarship and exhibition record and her passion make her an outstanding student and artist.”

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: Many art students have gone through this. There comes a hard time to know how to express something that is deep inside through art. In this regard, the most valuable thing I’ve learned from my professors was how to deliver expression through my art.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: There is a kind of a strong relationship with ASU (and my family). My husband had a doctorate degree of music at ASU. My son, Joseph, is a student with a scholarship at ASU. Therefore, I was glad to choose ASU.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: All professors are great mentors and supporters including Professors Hogden, Ellen Meissinger, Mark Pomilio and Henry Schoebel, and Instructors Tim Conte and Turner Davis. Professor Schoebel was the first professor I met at ASU, and I studied with him about the traditional painting method. Professor Meissinger always guided me in how to express the artist’s will while working. Professor Pomilio was a great mentor at the senior exhibition. He helped me to complete the most successful of my works. The work “Be Lost in an Old Memory I” was the powerful outcome that was deep inside me. I am currently working on drawing, and I am falling in love with life drawing. Professor Hodgen is a great supporter. She always encourages me to try something new and that makes me go beyond the limit. I was glad to know how to express many colors on a body with Instructor Conte. I was also glad to draw something that was not in a traditional way with Instructor Davis.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: There were many obstacles to study alone with my children in the U.S., but I was thankful to God for allowing me to be productive every day. I really agree that “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift. That is why people call it the present.” I would like to say that every day of our lives is a miracle, so give thanks for a little.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After I finish the Post-OPT program that is given to me as an international student, I am going to apply to a graduate program of drawing. I cannot wait for the next step.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would like to spend the money for children who don’t have a meal for a day. 

Sarah A. McCarty

Communications and marketing coordinator, School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute

480-727-4433

Graduating dancer credits faculty for personal growth


December 1, 2018

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2018 commencement. Read about more graduates.

This month, Quinn Mihalovic graduates with a BFA in dance, and he says he owes his success to the School of Film, Dance and Theatre dance faculty, especially Karen Schupp, associate professor and assistant director of dance. Photo of Quinn Mihalovic in a dance pose. Quinn Mihalovic graduates with a BFA in dance. Photo by Carlos Arturo Velarde Download Full Image

“Karen Schupp saw something special in me from the beginning of my studies,” Mihalovic said. “I remember being upset that she wouldn't let me transfer into a different ballet class my freshman year. However, she continued to support, encourage and challenge my dance technique and artistry. I believe it was from this class that I realized that everything I do in college is for me, my body and my artistry, not for the grades.”

That lesson was a clear changing point for Mihalovic.

“My growth throughout my time here has been exponential, and it wouldn't be without her or any dance faculty that have taught me,” Mihalovic said.

As his graduation approaches, Mihalovic is using all he learned to create his own show.

“As a part of my senior project as a dance performance major, I am making my own full-length choreographed work titled “gemini” to showcase my developing artistry as I enter the ‘real world,’” he said.

This show, which is about the contrasting elements Mihalovic recognizes in his own life, takes place Friday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. at Bulldog Hall, previously Physical Education Building East, on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I knew that I was a decent dancer starting in high school. However, I went into college as a kinesiology major, but took a contemporary class my first semester at UW-Madison. This dance was way different from what I had done in high school. It involved the knowledge of the body that I was craving and interested in. From then on, I've simply been obsessed with dance and all aspects of it.  

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: I've learned a lot about balance. From having fun, staying focused on schoolwork, working and paying my own way through college, and also having a social life, I've gone through a lot of realizations about responsibility as a functional human and how I can take these into becoming an artist.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: In truth, I first came down to Arizona to visit my grandparents, as they are snowbirds, floating between Wisconsin and Arizona. I fell in love with the campus, and I knew I wanted to stretch my boundaries away from Wisconsin. I didn't know a whole lot about the dance program going in, but I have sure learned a lot coming out.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: The studio. I feel I can be my best self in the studio, whether I am in technique class, in the studio choreographing, or in the studio doing homework or chatting with friends. I've spent so much time in these rooms, and I wish I could continue to spend just as much time in these studios.  

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan to move to New York City next September. I hope to find work doing light design and stage management for dance performances, which will hopefully lead to becoming a dancer for contemporary dance companies in New York. I sure hope I don't freeze after spending the last 3.5 years in paradise.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I would first build a black box theater, easily accessible to the entire Phoenix area. Next, I would do my best to get rid of plastic water bottles and straws on ASU campus (or the entire state or country). Reusing is the new NEW.  Let's save this planet, one step at time. 

Sarah A. McCarty

Communications and marketing coordinator, School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute

480-727-4433