College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Art Student Finds Inspiration in Literature

Rosalynn Stovall, a native of Carthage, graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in English from the University of Mississippi in 2010, and now is completing a second B.A. in Art. Her primary area of concentration is sculpture, in which she incorporates non-traditional media, sometimes in unusual combinations such as clay with metal. In the future, she would like to attempt a large installation and possibly an interactive performance piece.

Unlike many people who say they attempt to express themselves and their thoughts and emotions through their art, Stovall agrees with T.S. Eliot’s theory that good writing and good art is an escape from emotion and personality.

“Self-expression is inherent to the nature of the creative process,” explains Stovall.  “Naturally, every piece will have my sense of humor and my existentialist perspective on the world, but hopefully it will have something more. I believe that it is through this escape that something greater than the intentions of the artist or writer is manifested. So, I begin with a concept, some idea with which I have an emotional connection, something that interests me, brings me joy or angers me. Then I try to understand it, and as I do this, it takes form and usually becomes something more than I ever intended or imagined. I know I’ve done a good job when I find something about my work that amazes even me. I suppose that in a philosophical sense, ‘Our ideas don’t belong to us, we belong to our ideas’.”

Stovall likes to work with a variety of art forms—illustration, collage, digital, sculpture and book arts. Her favorite processes are insular collage compositions and digital animation using a cut-out technique. She describes her work as surreal with a dash of off-beat humor.

Stovall finds the College of Liberal Arts a fertile ground for her creativity and the faculty in the English and art departments supportive and encouraging, allowing her the freedom to grow and experiment creatively. She is an outstanding student with 4.0 GPAs in both English and art, a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College fellow, and several of her works of poetry, short story and sculpture have been published or received awards.

“Rosalynn Stovall has made a great impact in University of Mississippi’s sculpture area with her fanciful creatures and thought provoking contraptions,” said Durant Thompson, Assistant Professor of Art.  “She has taken root in our [sculpture] area of Meek with her diligent work ethic and quick wit. Even though Rosalynn is not a BFA major in sculpture she holds her own with those who are. Her work was finally given notice outside the school when a sculpture was accepted into the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition  annual show this past March.”

“Through my art, I try to give the people who view it a different way of looking at things, a new perspective that can affect change in them, and inspire them to do something that may then inspire others,” added Stovall.

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Rosalynn Stovall, art and English double major, shares her artistic process and how literature inspires her artwork.  Video created by UM student, Lauryn Duvalle.