Student Spotlight: Ryann Mallasch ‘22, Art

Why did you choose to study your particular major? I didn’t choose my major until the end of my sophomore year. Part of the decision was because I really enjoyed a drawing class with Professor Jamie Sweetman. Growing up, I had always done a lot of drawing and painting, but I had doubts about making it my major because I didn’t think I was good enough. But, I recognized creativity was something I was dedicated to and every class I took seemed to confirm that it was the right choice.

Share a time when you felt alive in your field of study: I am a tactile artist, so anytime I get to work with my hands [I feel alive]. To be more specific, I’m constantly challenging myself with clay. This year I’ve been able to get up to throwing 20lbs on the wheel by myself. My goal is to get up to 30lbs before the Spring semester ends.

Describe how APU has helped shape you into the person you are today. Out of everything over these four years, I would say APU strongly led me through a profound reconstruction of my Christian faith. A handful of experiences opened the floor to questioning that sought guidance and wisdom. It hasn't been easy, but it has been gloriously liberating. The beautiful part? This molding feels like just the beginning.

If you could give advice to an incoming freshman, or to your younger self, what would it be? First; GET UNCOMFORTABLE! Don’t be associated with the negative connotations of feeling unsafe or pressured, but rather immerse yourself with people who differ from you. God is intentional and wants differences! Allow learning through experiences and interactions just as much as your classes. That is what college is all about. It is your time to question and grow.

Second, find at least one faculty member or graduate student in your department, and befriend them. Those in the Art Department approached me as an undeclared freshman, and I am forever thankful that I followed through with mutual pursuit. Be honest with them and ask for help. Faculty can be excellent mentors. By graduation, you will undoubtedly consider at least one of them also a friend.

What current projects are you working on, and what tools are you utilizing to accomplish them? I am currently working on my biggest project as an art major, my senior art exhibition. The show is happening on March 15th! As for the tools for accomplishing? So far, it has been the Lord, the Art Department faculty, family and friends keeping me grounded, lack of sleep, any form of caffeine, and embracing those artist stereotypes of descending into misunderstood madness.

Ryann is the recipient of the CRISTA Ministries Scholarship, APU Presidential Scholarship, and Mount Si Artist Guild Scholarship. She headed the curation and installation of art for Daniella Barbani, Kelsey Overstreet, and the APU Kinesiology Department.