Art is not easy. Art, like any career, is a struggle, a challenging, difficult job that is not always enjoyable. 

The only thing that is worse than not achieving your dream is not achieving it and then learning that your dream is not a dream after all. I started my career with a dream of working as an artist in media, working as a video game or film concept artist. The advice to work as an artist in these fields is often mixed, often contradictory, but always reflective of bigger ills that have recently begun to affect the media art industry as a whole – a prioritization of mass appeal rather than artistic merit, and a devotion to things that have ‘worked’ for other people that may not reflect who you are as a person.

After years of struggle trying to emulate successful artists, trying to do the same things other people have done, and going through depths where my art was no longer my own, but just a product with no soul or identity of my own, I have come out with a realization. 

Art has always held a commercial element, from the Rennaisance onwards, but I am also permitted to make art for myself. My metamorphosis to a Neo-Surrealist style has been a journey of self-realization and self-love. Now, instead of my art being my struggle, my art is about my struggle.

-Oglesby Finlay

Instagram: @oglesbyfinlay Twitter: @oglesbyfinlay Facebook: Web:

Recently I’ve focused on drawing my webcomic Pumpkin and the Patch (written by Matt Griffin). Pumpkin is about six stuffed animals who play games, eat snacks, and go on chaotic adventures. I enjoy getting lost in this whimsical world while pushing myself to blur the boundaries of text and image. The humor and innocence of Pumpkin is representative of my complete body of work, which sits comfortably somewhere between whimsy, comedy, and absurdity.

During my time so far at Art Office, I have completed the thirteen pencils and inks for episode four of Pumpkin and the Patch, four of which are displayed here.

-Anna Reishus

Instagram: @annareishus

Emma Gray is an illustrator and graphic designer based in Iowa City. She is graduating from the University of Iowa with a Cinema BA and an English minor, and she has worked as the Marketing Director for the Bijou Film Board for the past year.

She uses ink and digital illustration to embody characters inspired by the films and other media she consumes as well as original characters with vibrant personalities and stories.

Emma is available for commissions, freelance design, or marketing work and can be best reached via email.

Contact info:
Instagram: @emma.nan.designs

Hope Spragg is a lifelong creative whose recent work investigates the natural world through a hyper-pigmented drawing and painting palette. She is interested in the process of all art and craft making, both the practical and psychological reasoning and impact of making art. She is a bit of a dabbler, although her recent work shows a deeper interest in daily, fluid, artistic practice. 

She graduated from the University of Iowa in 1999 with a BA in art education. Her working life since includes art, classrooms and acting & directing in community theatre. Currently, she is a teacher at Preucil Preschool, an intensivist in the art and play department. She creates art whenever and wherever she can.

Her art studio is wonderfully and conveniently located at Public Space One, and is open for visits outside of Pandemic times. She has public work on display during this summer of 2020 as part of the Iowa City downtown Benchmarks and street pole banner projects. Additionally, her work is visible and available online and is available for commission. 

Instagram: @hope.spragg Website: Etsy: @HopeSpraggArt

The following was written by William Rivers Pitt and taken from the following article
( It is offered as context for the
Who Loots Who? piece.

“Far too much media attention is being lavished upon “looting”: Images of citizens from all
racial backgrounds taking food, toiletries and other goods from stores amid the chaos have
dominated the news cycles, threatening to bury the story at the heart of the matter.

“But the coverage of this development fails to acknowledge the actual context: millions of
people enduring massive economic disruption amid COVID-19 who are out of work and out of
money. I speak of the millions of people who have suffered a lifetime of menace from the police
and whose immediate desperation makes no purchase on the conscience of men like Mitch
McConnell, who has balked at providing further relief to them because he does not see doing
so as ideologically sound.

“What relief that has been provided came in the guise of a now long-gone $1,200 payment that
many who needed it most never saw, while the trillions of dollars earmarked for relief more than
two months ago was plundered by wealthy corporations and friends of Donald Trump.
The dead were looted from us all by a racist police state that now has reacted with unrestrained
violence against the people they are sworn to protect.
Who, then, are the true looters here?

“There is always another microwave or television to put on the shelf of a store. There will never,
ever, be another George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean,
Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Tanisha Anderson, Michael Brown or Freddie Gray.

“The dead were looted from us all by a racist police state that now has reacted with
unrestrained violence against the people they are sworn to protect.”

(Artwork by John Engelbrecht)
Instagram: @theestrawman@yonlawnyawn

Intuition has always played a big role in my creative process, but I’ve never given it much of a voice. In fact, I’ve shied away from it, trying to be as precise and planned-out as possible. But the work that resulted from that looked forced, whereas my intuitively-drawn work– even if it wasn’t “perfect”– looked interesting. And really, I would much rather be interesting than perfect, in all things.

So I decided to create a deck of intuition, divination, or oracle cards. I didn’t let myself plan anything during the making of them. From conception to final product, I went with my gut, totally in the moment. Traditionally, oracle cards are sets of cards with images and interpretations that are specific to the vision of their creator. The only difference with my deck is that I haven’t attached any baseline interpretation for them. The images are obviously drawn from my experience, but I leave the reading to the reader.

I’m taking my time illustrating the cards. I go through several steps with each one, revisiting an image several times before calling it finished. I’m probably quite a ways from wrapping up, but I hope you enjoy what I’ve got so far! I hope you’ll tell me which is your favorite.

-Carla Baudrons
Blog: @carlabaudrons