A. Ray Olpin University Union

The University of Utah

Pride Week Art Show

Thank you for supporting the University of Utah’s Pride Week Art Show! Along with this in-person gallery, some pieces will also be displayed in-person at the A. Ray Olpin Union from March 28th-April 1st in the lobby.

Vote for your favorite art piece here: VOTE HERE!
Voting closes April 1st at 11:59pm.

Pride Series
Stevie Johnston

These 6 pieces include different types of relationships represented in our beautiful community.

Artist Bio:
Stevie is a self taught artist born and raised in SLC, UT. They love the outdoors, queer media, and collecting bones.

Aurora Stark

This piece is meant to visualize an ideal world. For me, an ideal world is peaceful. There’s no rush, there’s no deadline, there’s no worry. Just me, my cat, and a rainy evening.

Artist Bio:
Aurora is a nonbinary illustration student nearing graduation. Their goal in the illustration world is to bring more queer stories to light in fun and exciting ways. They love rainy days and their two orange tabby cats, neither of whom have any brain cells.

Instagram: @splendidcyan_

The Balance
Ronnell Porter

I made this piece for a good friend a little while ago in celebration of unashamed pride in one’s self, their sexual orientation, their masculinity and their femininity. They are the type of person who will wear flannel, plaid, and boots with matching fingernails, earrings, and an on-point makeup job with a full beard, and make everyone in a room respect their fashion decisions with confidence. I think they embody such a great balance of the multifaceted sides of human expression and I hoped to convey a little hint of that in the piece.

Artist Bio:
Hello! I dabble in digital graphic design and amateur game development purely as a hobby in my spare time. Thank you for taking a moment to take in this piece of pride that I made for my good friend, who is the greatest example of pride I know of!

Christina Riccio

Mental illness is a constant, unrelenting struggle to which my sense of reality is irrevocably tied. The pull of ceaseless darkness threatening to drag me under, alongside of cyclical irrational thoughts puts me at constant odds with my rational mind. An exploration of the duality between the bleak qualities of emotional instability, and the lightness of escapism, my work embodies the coping mechanisms necessary to manage living with an unbalanced mind. Utilizing traditional ceramic kitsch with a personal twist, I create physical responses to these tumultuous emotional struggles. The empty sentimentalities of Hallmark figurines and other kitsch objects generate a calculated emotional response for the viewer. One where the object tells you how you should feel, is machine-manufactured, and meant only for purchase and consumption. Rather than the detached nature of commercialized knickknacks and trinkets, my work injects substance into kitsch. Employing techniques of self-portraiture through caricature, my work juxtaposes the adorable sweetness of a handmade ceramic object against the mass-produced nature of store-bought figurines. Because the realities of my experiences with anxiety and depression are often grim and uncomfortable to grapple with, I use the cuteness and humor of my caricature as an entry point. Dark undertones accompanied by a light-hearted atmosphere break the stigma surrounding mental illness by making it more palatable. By contrasting heavy and serious topics with cute sculptures and imagery, I translate the manifestations of my symptoms into a more digestible format.

Artist Bio:
Christina Riccio creates both sculptural and functional ceramic works. Her work revolves around themes of neuro-divergence; including challenging stigmas related to living and coping with mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression. Christina received her B.A. in Visual Arts and New Media from SUNY Fredonia in 2014. After graduating Magna Cum Laude, Christina then went on to study ceramics and art education at Buffalo State College in 2015. During her time at Buffalo State, she received the Sylvia Rosen Award for Excellence in Ceramics and was chosen to participate in the Deans Gallery Invitational Exhibition, showing four pieces from her breakout series Emotional Infection. Originally from Buffalo, NY, but now living and working in Salt Lake City, UT, Christina is currently pursuing her MFA in ceramics at The University of Utah, with an expected graduation date of spring 2022.


What do you do in time of war? (Be full, filled, filled up with life)
Tressa Marrè

عمار, the adjectival form on the verb: عمر: to live long, be longevous; to thrive, prosper, flourish, flower, bloom; to be full, filled, filled up; to fill with life, cause to thrive, make prosperous; to inhabit, live, dwell; to fill, pervade someone’s heart, reign in someone’s heart (abridged version of Hans Wehr dictionary defintion of عمر) This piece is in conversation with a poem by Saniya Saleh, a Syrian poet whose work has eviscerated me, spinning a timeless thread of solidarity between us. The helplessness and banality of war is isolating, thieving of all hope: Saniya spoke to me and I responded, 50 years later in a different place and different context, but nonetheless the same. I derive joy from my solidarity, through acts of courage and joy I distract myself, I sing myself, I flourish counterintuitively in oppressive spaces, I make art, I love the people I love, I endure: determined to thrive. To create this piece, I shaped the plate in the abstracted form of the word 3mar (عمار), this word in Saniya’s mother tongue, so I can say back to her what I do in these times. I bathed the plate in acid, allowing it to be eaten away for long stretches of time, but I always rescue it, moving mineral spirits and waxy protection around with my hands on its surface. The repeated word, invoked like a prayer, forms the spokes of a wheel, leaning on each other to avoid falling apart, while the negative space forms an exploding star: endlessly timeless like my grief, like Saniya’s, like the grief I taste on the air, clinging to my skin, weighing heavily on my heart. Some Thing by Saniya Saleh Translation by Robin Moger What do you do in time of war? …….I flee …….I sing like a crow …….I sicken …….I die maybe And you? …….I cling ……………..closer and closer to those I love.

Artist Bio:
Tressa Marrè (all pronouns) is a 23-year-old genderqueer lesbian, completing her last year of her Printmaking degree at the U. She is simultaneously pursuing degrees in Middle Eastern Studies with an emphasis in Arabic and Anthropology. They fell in love with copperplate prints several years ago and primarily work in copper, but maintain an affection for woodcut and painting. Printmaking’s inherent ability to make the most intimate experiences accessible to community calls to Tressa, and print enables them to nourish its legacy among grassroots activism by making art for community and distributing it using print. Tressa has a primordial and radical love for their fellows and finds purpose in creating art for them, building solidarity with grief, tenderness, anger and beauty.


“The L Word”
Tressa Marrè

This looming pair of lips is an erotic, absurd, surreal, and romantic love letter to femme lesbians. Evoking a ‘60s psychedelic dream, this piece celebrates queer femmes’ vast performances of femininity. The aesthetics that have been forcibly imposed or cruelly denied to queer femmes become camp symbols of community. The same way a butch in a crisp shirt watches their girlfriend get dolled up, this piece honors the un-celebrated beauty of queer solidarity.

Artist Bio:
Tressa Marrè (all pronouns) is a 23-year-old genderqueer lesbian, completing her last year of her Printmaking degree at the U. She is simultaneously pursuing degrees in Middle Eastern Studies with an emphasis in Arabic and Anthropology. They fell in love with copperplate prints several years ago and primarily work in copper, but maintain an affection for woodcut and painting. Printmaking’s inherent ability to make the most intimate experiences accessible to community calls to Tressa, and print enables them to nourish its legacy among grassroots activism by making art for community and distributing it using print. Tressa has a primordial and radical love for their fellows and finds purpose in creating art for them, building solidarity with grief, tenderness, anger and beauty.


Holding Myself (Self Portrait)
Gabrielle Oman

This painting portrays an unmasked version of myself. Growing up I had to “mask” to blend in, be accepted, and be safe. I masked to seem straight passing, and I masked to appear neurotypical. There are these societal rules that said I needed to be straight and allistic, which is something I could never do. Keeping these masks up all the time felt overbearing, and crushing. I continually felt alone having to hide not only key aspects of who I am as a person, but the pain I was in from having to hide parts of myself. It is important for me to show this painting that portrays a realistic version of myself. A version where there is no performance. A version that is alone and sad, but true. After coming to college and finding more LGBTQ+ people I have been able to not only feel less alone, but been able to unmask more. I feel much safer and more free to express myself more truthfully, and be openly different. I feel safe to show vulnerability. And that is what I am trying to show through this painting. That, finding and connecting with safe people you can share your vulnerabilities. I hope that seeing this unmasked version of myself allows people to project their own experiences onto the piece and know that they are not alone.

Artist Bio:
I am a queer, autistic, artist and I am majoring in ceramics. Art has always been my passion. It creates a space for me to express myself in a way my words never could.


Love is Love
Kelsey Hart

This is a drawing based on a picture of my last partner and I. The photo it is based off of was a pride photoshoot where we threw colored chalk at one another. It was such a happy time starting in white tee shirts and ending looking like two rainbows. I took the colored chalk influence into account with the rainbow background. All in all, while the piece may be simple, it brings back happy memoires where we quite literally weren’t ashamed to hide our rainbows and was our way of coming out so it holds a dear spot in my heart.

Artist Bio:
My name is Kelsey and I am a freshman at the U. I am majoring in Computer Science with an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering, so I thought I would put together a digital art piece showing some pride.

Peach PRC
Grace Paskett

This is a grid portrait of Peach PRC. An Australian, lesbian, musician with an affinity for pink. I tried to capture the small, pretty, details whilst still pertaining to the grid style portrait. From close up the colors look muddy, the same. But step back and they all blend together to create an image that looks very alike Peach PRC herself.

Artist Bio:
I love oil painting and specifically drawing and painting portraits. I am a proud lesbian artist and try to show confidence in my art in the same way I have in myself. I have been told before, “you can always tell which one is Grace’s if it has pink in it”. I love to portray people who inspire me and have distinct personalities, kind of like myself.


su hahm

I believe solidarity stems from a place of listening, storytelling, and empathy. We must first recognize the discriminatory structures we grew up in to practice solidarity; however, recognition is difficult at times since these practices pervade every part of our vocabulary, actions, and lives. Moreover, constantly questioning and dismantling these structures is tiring and burdensome. At times, these structures seem too rigid and taking apart these systems seem daunting and hopeless. Although we may feel trapped at times, change comes gradually, and empathy should be practiced for our ever-growing selves. As we listen, recognize, and pick apart the oppressive structures we once believed in, they melt away slowly but surely; however, this does not mean there are no consequences or traces. Puddles remind us of our growth as an individual and community.

Artist Bio:
I am an undergraduate studying Psychology and Biology at the University of Utah. I enjoy playing around with various mediums in hopes of producing pieces that resonate with others, encourage internal reflection, and foster empathy for ourselves and others.

Study of an embrace
Mikayla Wheeler

Two women stand in each other’s arms. In its simplicity, this study captures an innocent moment between lovers. This pure love, I believe, is the essence of pride.

Artist Bio:
I’m here and I’m queer. Oil paints are my passion, but I work with all mediums.


Hello, I am currently a senior at the U studying HSP and Ethnic Studies. Throughout college, I’ve been able to develop an identity that is deeply tied to community, to my cultural background and race, to my queerness, and to my political identity. My passion for imagining radical futures for myself and my community drives me to do the work I do and to continue centering radical love in every decision I make. I hope that through artistic expression, I can help others see what I, and the people who have made me the person I am, mean when we say radical futures. In my spare time, you can find me cooking my parents’ recipes, watching shows and laughing with my friends, listening to r&b and rap, and taking naps.

Tears of Pride
Olivia Schmitz

This piece represents someone crying as their true self for the first time.

Artist Bio:
I am a chemistry student using art as my catharsis. I grew up doing music but recently got into photography. Photographing myself makes me feel confident and beautiful.

MiKo Nielson

Most people have harsh criticisms about themselves. What if there was a magical book, that we could open to see what we truly were? Words such as beautiful, intelligent, or funny may come out. To have those words float around us instead of harmful words we may tell ourselves daily, could help so many.

Artist Bio:
MiKo (no pronoun preference) is a Utah native who is proud to call the U of U her alma mater. With a flair for marketing, MiKo likes getting people excited about what she is excited about. Her passions of photography, art, and sewing give her great perspective and insight into the world around her and help her connect with people.

Lamentations Across Guachimontones
Pablo Ayala

Lamentations Across Guachimontones is the second piece in a series that follows the personification of the Latin American Identity and la Malinche. As a proud undocumented immigrant, I have used this series to create a discussion of what it has felt like to come to terms with distinct cultural identities imposed on me. The intersections of my sexuality faceted within a religious upbringing as well as the fear that I grew familiar with being seen as Mexican in a country propagated as a dream from the outside looking in. This piece discusses the separation of fear from one’s self and the looming duality of wanting and fearing a true self. The character of la Malinche is forced to symbolically rip out her own heart in the face of the past and culture behind her as she is historically forced away from her indigenous community. This series also serves to be an accessible exhibition of an important contribution to what Latin Americans have battled to come to terms with. The identity of a woman who was taken against her will, translates to the downfall of her culture. Some see her story as a betrayal, and others view it as the story of a savior. The identity of duality has since permeated Latin American culture. Influences like Sor Juana, Octavio Paz, and countless artists have incorporated these splinters of the self throughout their works. This scene’s influences come to tell a story of a person finding any escape from the pains and pressures of who they are. In later paintings of the series la Malinche and the personification of the indigenous identity she left behind to come to terms to mend back together, an allegory to what I and many other immigrants, Latin Americans, and LGBT!+ individuals face in their lives. The symbols of two skulls, two figures, and two suns all call back to the sense of duality. A further influence in this painting is the Nahuatl sense of teotle, a term for a universal convergence of life and energy through the world and the lives of people. It is expressed through the continuation of life after death in the cempasuchil flowers throughout the piece. Symbolizing a heavy cultural symbol of the celebration of death. This painting discusses the sacrifice against the celebration of coming to terms with one’s own identity with the fear and pride that moves individuals to change.

Artist Bio:
I like to explore the intersections between my Mexican/American heritage, my status as an undocumented immigrant, and my relationships through the medium of 2d visual art. I have recently begun exploring the long-lasting impacts of the Spanish colonization of Mexico in my artworks. I enjoy connecting visual elements from remaining artifacts of Indigenous South American culture to reinterpret contemporary western art/cultural standards. This series allows me to expand on my identity and walk-through internal conflicts coming to terms as an immigrant in a western-centric country with a yearning for a lost sense of heritage. I believe by amplifying and representing silenced experiences in my work creates platforms for discussion and accessible knowledge. My artwork integrates multi-media portraiture framed by naturalistic environments that create a story with the South American themes of magic realism.

Piece of Me
Nick Lloyd

“Piece of Me” is a colored pencil rendering of my own hand. It serves as a reflection of who I am and what is a part of me. From first glance it seems normal and cohesive, but as you get closer you see the detail and color that went into creating this unique piece.

Artist Bio:
My name is Nick, I am a 21 year old artist from Salt Lake City. I recently came out as gay and find that art has really helped me process my emotions and find peace even when my circumstances are filled with anxiety. Outside of art I love to be outdoors and spend time with friends.

Sophie Danielson

An expression of the agony and anguish I experience when trying to fit myself into “labels,” a constant battle I face, trying to categorize and define who I am in a world obsessed with labeling. It’s a constant struggle between finding myself and letting myself grow and change. I’ve learned that assigning labels (especially to myself) doesn’t leave room for much else, especially for self-expression and personal growth. This is my daily battle, a battle for my true identity.

Artist Bio:
My name is Sophie Danielson. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, about 30 minutes away from the state capital (St. Paul). Since I was young I always knew I was different, I didn’t seem to fit in the same as the other kids. I watched them in class, at the park, I was quieter and more observant. I was very artistic and enjoyed reading rather than playing video games. I expressed myself differently too, I noticed I liked girls and guys. Confused I tried to hide my sexuality. Now majoring in graphic design at the U I’ve begun to express myself and my sexuality more confidently. I still struggle with labeling and trying to fit myself into just one category, but I’m learning all this does is limit my growth and self-expression.

To Little Junior
Victor Granados

“To Little Junior” is a piece based on my childhood. As a little boy, I was not allowed to play with certain toys or dress with certain clothes: boys CANNOT do anything girly, CANNOT wear anything pink, CANNOT paint their nails or use makeup. I struggled so much to find my identity, and I was only able to do so when I got the key that opened the “closet”: a closet where I could do all those things girls could.

In This Together
Vanessa Draper

In This Together features four hands joined in a pinky promise in front of the pride flag. The hands are diverse in skin tone, and one has a common limb difference. I wanted to create something that expresses the way I feel about society in general. I believe we all should be making this promise to each other to build a society that is accessible and accepting of all, not matter our differences.

Artist Bio:
Vanessa is a Biology major with an emphasis in Genetics / Genomics. She currently works in Genetics at ARUP laboratories. Her career aspirations include making prenatal medicine more inclusive and diverse.

Cynthea Peang

This piece provided an opportunity for me to experiment, serving as an exploration of the medium, technique, and style. I have attempted to work with oil in the past, but I was limited to a small range of techniques that I was comfortable practicing.

Artist Bio:
Cynthea is a bisexual, half-khmer woman. She was born and raised in Utah Valley. She’s currently working on getting her CS degree. In her free time, Cynthea makes art and plays D&D.

I’m Waiting For The Day You Die
Jack Sperry

I wrote the lyrics to this song after my sister started transitioning and have been working on it since. The lyrics came easily and are some of the closest I’ve felt to being able to express myself totally. At the time and in the time since my love for my sister and my own journey in understanding her feelings have been underscored by an awareness of trans suicide and an awareness of her own struggles. I wrote the song and named it what I did to try to let her know that I had my eye on her. I’d rather discuss a suicide before it happens.

Artist Bio:
I am an English and psychology major in my final semester at the U. I love prose and I love making music. Myself, most of my friends, and some of my family are queer, as is explored in this song, and I feel pretty proud about all of that. I love art and I love living, I love recreating life in art.

Band: Port Ross
Instagram: @jacksperry2

Love Unabashedly
Ashley Luu

My piece is meant to showcase people, in a place that is represented by them. Representation is lacking in most forms of media in terms of gender, sexuality, body type, race, ethnicity, etc. My art piece was meant to encompass love as a whole, with these very real characteristics taken into account. A city is made up of the essence of the people that live within it. The city within my piece represents people that can be themselves without fear of repercussions, people that feel happy and accepted where they live. Their happiness creates the bright color of the city, as everywhere they look, aspects of themselves are imprinted into their home. They know that when they walk down the streets, they can live and Love Unabashedly.

Artist Bio:
My name is Ashley Luu, and I am a queer Chinese woman! I was born and raised in Utah, and I am currently a psych major here at the U. I love to do art because it is a great way to express representation when it is difficult to find in other forms of media. I do art as a way to express my emotions and relieve stress as well. When I am not doing art, I am hanging out with my friends or reading webtoons!

A Future Moving Sky
Em DeVincentis

What does language sound like to the trans experience? In this short collection of 6 poems, my intention was to create a holistic experience navigating love and the body. What does it mean then, to insist upon nature as a guiding force? Does the pain of society lessen, become more understandable? How can we lean on each other in times of collective hurt, and view our personal transformations through the lens of joy? Much of my writing focuses on reworking queerness into imaginative emotion and asks the question as to whether our bodies can be blended through metaphors to nature. What could our future look like in regards to starfish, a naturally regenerative creature, or snowshoe hare, a creature heavily impacted by fear and trauma, or the brush itself, growing in places most unwelcome? My work presents itself through lyrical emotion, bending between strict and undulating form, and carries the weight of the passing of time and what remains. Most importantly, I want my work to convey joy. Passionate joy, soft joy, the joy emanating from our bodies if we stop and listen. Growing up in Utah, I felt so immensely alone, and am glad to say that my pride has only strengthened once finding my queer community. Using the pain inflicted upon my own body, through surgeries, emotional, or physical pain, and pivoting them into a positive growth is something I tackle within this collection. Themes of light, landscape, water, and colors come up quite frequently and I only hope that they convey or transform meaning throughout the collection, as I use them to negotiate transformation within my own body and emotional ties.

Artist Bio:
Em DeVincentis is a trans poet from Draper, Utah. Much of his writing focuses on queer joy and transformation by exploring imaginations in nature, the self, and those he loves.

Beauty of Queer Women
Sasha Nickels

This piece represents multiple queer women and shows the beauty of all of them. I wanted to focus on queer happiness in women in this piece because I feel like we are sometimes forced to be unhappy to the homophobia we face. By using the bright colors of the construction paper, I felt like that would help to portray the brightness found within queer women and their identities.

Artist Bio:
Hi, my name is Sasha. I’m a sophomore at the University of Utah and major in gender studies. I’ve always been a big fan of creating art and found this to be a very fun art project to engage. Creating art has been a very freeing experience throughout the years where I’ve created a great community with others.