“Art is not what you see,” French Impressionist Edgar Degas said, “but what you make others see.”
Students from around the world pursue degrees at USC Roski School of Art and Design. As those in creative fields have done for centuries, the artists whose works you see here seek to explore, expand and understand our globe. Using their creative talents to express their observations and passions, they reflect intently on nature, how it has endured, how it struggles and, most important, how humankind has used—and misused—it.
Some of these works advocate change; others offer alternate paths to creating, conserving and living sustainably. But all of them, some haunting, some hopeful, ask the viewer to contemplate what is and what could be.
Rolling Hills, from the series “Kill Only Time” (2021), by Gabriel Tolson ’23, revisits art’s historical imagination of the American West as a self-consuming vision.
Last Visit 1 (2021) is one work in a series by Grace Fries ’24. In this series of photographs, the artist envisions a future that includes saying goodbye to the grounds that give us life but reminds us of our culpability for its demise.
Witness of Land, Historic Palm Tree at Exposition Park (2021)
Hings Lim MFA ’21 envisions trees as living time capsules of land and witnesses to history, including climate change, migration, colonization, industrialization and urbanization.
DREAM, by USC Roski student Lu Chen, is made from household garbage. It reinforces the notion that objects can create beauty and impart meaning, no matter how humble their origins.
Zero Waste Bag (2021)
Created by Paola Espinosa MFA ’22, this work uses repurposed discarded textiles. In quilt-like form, the trash is now a usable grocery bag.