Stephen Wingo, '21

Stephen Wingo sits near the St. Ignatius statue

You might have seen some of sophomore Stephen Wingo’s artwork in the Thomas More Dining Room this past fall. Showcasing his talents, Wingo creates drawings for the chalk walls and on the windows in the cafeteria. His passion of creating and expressing himself through art began at a young age. Read more about it below.

Q: What led you to Rockhurst?

A: Initially, Rockhurst caught my eye because of the wonderful scholarship offer. I decided to tour the campus and was sold. It helped that Rockhurst had such a positive reputation in the Kansas City area as providing a quality education with a knack for service. I’m not a catholic nor do I follow any other religious faith, but the University’s welcoming and inclusive climate made me feel comfortable in an environment that had traditionally been known to me as an exclusive one.

Q: How did you first get into art?

A: I owe a great deal of credit to my Native American heritage for exposing me to artistic expression from a young age. My mom and dad have made various arts and crafts for most of my childhood for the annual “Bizarre Bazaar” in Lawrence, Kansas. I also draw inspiration from the many Indigenous pieces of art in our home. My parents have always encouraged my brother and I to make art.

Q: Were you involved with art in high school?

A: In high school, I maxed out on my art credit requirement in the first year and continued to take additional classes in place of my electives. I discovered a profound interest in graphic design because it satisfied my perfectionism the most in that I could control each brush stroke down to the pixel. My strongest artwork is done digitally, but I am proficient in many other fields, such as graphite, clay, and mixed media.

Q: When you were choosing schools, was it important for you to have opportunities where you could continue creating art?

A: In a way, it was important because I wanted to take a couple art classes in college, but I also knew that through this major, I would have many opportunities to use my artistic abilities. Civil engineering was a key factor in choosing a school and so was the fact that a liberal arts school, such as Rockhurst, would require some form of art to be taken.

Q: What do you like about art?

A: Obviously, self-expression is an important factor in enjoying art, but it’s not the only reason. I appreciate both making and viewing art because it tends to please the eye and induces specific emotions depending on the piece. There is no set aesthetic standard in art, which means there is something out there for every individual to enjoy.

Q: Have you had any freelance opportunities besides TMDR?

A: Most of my artistic opportunities came through either school activities or for my own enjoyment. I have had some experience in making digital art and logos for friends, but it’s mainly to share with my family and enjoy on my own.

Q: How did you come across the opportunity to showcase your artistic talents in the TMDR?

A: I participated in the pumpkin decorating contest in October. Taurus, the head of marketing for the cafeteria, came around to a few of us and asked if we’d be interested in learning more about an opportunity to make art in the cafeteria. I accepted the invitation and ended up accepting the offer. I have some new responsibilities like making a monthly chalk art event board, a seasonal chalk art board, window art throughout the cafeteria and down by Subway. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to design the official logo for the dining room.

Q: What do you like about doing the chalk drawings?

A: Chalk drawings are nice because they are not permanent and can be removed or edited by water.

Q: Do you plan to do anything with art after college?

A: I plan to continue creating and appreciating art after college, but likely as a hobby or a small side business. I’ve always been interested in art and mathematics, so it’s only natural that I become a civil engineer. In this profession, I will be utilizing various forms of art to communicate design ideas, create branding, and add artistic elements to my future projects.

Q: What do your family and friends think about your art?

A: My family encourages me to continue making art. I have recently started picking it back up because I’ve had an artistic drought for the last year due to being caught up in schoolwork. I plan on reversing that and producing many quality pieces starting this semester.


You can check out more of Wingo's work on his Instagram page: @5ioux