Graduates 2023

Hope Okere




Hope was born and raised in Iowa to her Nigerian father and white American mother.  She attended Iowa State University for two years majoring in Apparel Design and Fine Art.  She then moved to New York City to attend Parsons School of Design to study fashion design exclusively.  She began her career by interning for threeAsFour and Robert Geller.  What followed was a decade long career, during which she designed for Gap, Target, J.Crew, Madewell, Marc Jacobs, Converse and more.  She has a deep understanding of design and a wealth of experience working within the fashion industry across womenswear, menswear and accessories.  Functionality, originality, comfort, and movement combined with modern silhouettes, emotional color, and sophisticated fabrics, are the framework of her design aesthetic.  She sees fashion as a tool for self-expression and cultural representation.


Now working toward her MFA at the University of California Santa Barbara, she continues to evolve her career as an artist.  Moving from design into fine art and expressing her ideas through sculpture, textile arts, and performance.  Recurring sources of inspiration come from film, fashion, cultural movements, meditation, nature, water, light, textiles, and dance.  Her work often stems from emotions, intuition, memories and dreams.  The abstract forms she creates are feminine, nurturing, rounded and soft.  Representative of how she experiences life, her work explores her identity as a biracial first generation American and questions prejudice and bias in regard to gender, race and culture.



Mariana Rodela




I’m an interdisciplinary artist from Southern California. I work predominantly with found objects, collage, photography, and sculpture. My practice usually begins when I find discarded furniture or objects on the street or a trinket at a thrift store. Breathing new life into these materials that would have otherwise gone to a landfill is beneficial in an environmental sense, but also a compelling challenge in problem solving. Additionally, I often make work that encourages a viewer to interact with it either through touch or by taking a video or a photograph. I want my audience to be so compelled by the form of my work that they would want to reach out and engage with it. Even if that means the work will degrade overtime. The cycle of creation and destruction, repurposing and then discarding again, inspires my practice. I’m currently working through ideas about adolescence, connection, and reflection.







more to come….