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Alumni Spotlight: Derek Reese

Derek Reese
BFA, 2006

Why did you chose to attend WVU?

I am from Morgantown, so WVU had a big impact on me growing up. Additionally, my Aunt received her BFA from the College of Creative Arts and she was super influential in my decision to go to art school. Attending WVU seemed like a no-brainer. As a freshman, I arbitrarily signed up for the intro to printmaking class. The versatility of the medium and the process blew me away. I credit former WVU Art Department Chair and printmaking professor Sergio Soave and later, Joe Lupo for helping guide me through art school craziness and pushing me creatively and professionally.

What is your profession now?

In addition to operating my studio practice, I am the Project Manager at the Office of Public Art in Pittsburgh. I am also an independent arts consultancy for local arts organizations in Pittsburgh.

What is your most interesting current/upcoming project?

I recently had a couple exhibitions back to back of sculptural and 2D work about the implications of growing up in Appalachia. I have been pushing myself even more lately to use non-traditional art media, found objects, and ephemeral materials. I’m looking forward to getting back into the studio to continue this exploration through a series of performative photographic work using raw ground beef and Hamburger Helper kits.

How do you feel WVU and the College of Creative Arts prepared you for your career?

At the the WVU College of Creative Arts I learned how to push myself creatively, think critically about art and my practice, and take creative risks. I have learned that responsible risk-taking is a very important skill in life, and that seed was planted in me at WVU.