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Academy of Art University (CA)
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Eugene Lang College The New School for LIberal Arts
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Academy of Art University (CA)
Adelphi University
Agnes Scott College
AI Miami International University of Art and Design
Albright College
American University
Anderson University
Appalachian State University
Aquinas College
Arcadia University
Arizona State University
Armstrong State University
Art Institute of California - San Francisco
Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
Art Institute of Philadelphia
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Art Institute of Portland
Art Institute of Washington
Art Institute of York Pennsylvania
Auburn University
Aurora University
Austin College
Azusa Pacific University
Babson College
Ball State University
Baruch College
Bates College
Baylor University
Bellarmine University
Belmont University
Beloit College
Bentley University
Berklee College of Music
Binghamton University
Bloomsburg University
Boise State University
Boston College
Boston University
Bowie State University
Bowling Green State University
Bradley University
Brandeis University
Brigham Young University
Brown University
Bryn Mawr College
Bucknell University
Buffalo State College
Butler University
California Polytechnic State University - Pomona
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
California State University - Fullerton
California State University - Long Beach
California State University - Northridge
California State University-Sacramento
Carleton College
Carnegie Mellon University
Central Michigan University
Champlain College
Chapman University
Christopher Newport University
City College of New York
Claremont McKenna College
Clark Atlanta University
Clemson University
Colby College
Colgate University
College of Charleston
College of DuPage
College of the Holy Cross
Colorado State University
Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College South Carolina
Columbia University
Connecticut College
Cornell University
Culver-Stockton College
Dalhousie University (Canada)
Dartmouth College
Delaware State University
Denison University
DePaul University
DePauw University
Dickinson College
Dominican University
Drake University
Drew University
Drexel University
Duke University
East Carolina University
East Stroudsburg University
Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Washington University
Elizabethtown College
Elon University
Emerson College
Emory University
Eugene Lang College The New School for LIberal Arts
Fairfield University
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
FIDM
FIT
Flagler College
Florida A&M University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Florida State University
Florida State University—Panama City
Fordham University
Franklin and Marshall College
Fullerton College
Galveston College
Gateway College (Canada)
Geneseo State University
George Brown College
George Mason University
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
Gettysburg College
Gonzaga University
Graceland University
Grinnell College
Hampton University
Hanover College
Hartwick College
Harvard University
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Humber College (Canada)
Hunter College
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James Madison University
Johns Hopkins University
Johnson & Wales University
Johnson County Community College
Kansas State University
Kent State University
La Salle University
Lafayette College
Lamar University
Lasell College
Le Moyne College
Lehigh University
LIM College
Lipscomb University
Loras College
Louisiana State University
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Maryland
Loyola University New Orleans
Macalester College
Manhattan College
Manhattan School of Music
Manhattanville College
Marist College
Marquette University
Maryland Institute College of Art
Marymount Manhattan College
Maryville College
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
McGill University (Canada)
McMaster University (Canada)
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Messiah College
Miami Dade College
Miami International University of Art & Design
Miami University (Ohio)
Michigan State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Middlebury College
Minnesota State University
Misericordia University
Missouri State University
Monmouth University
Montana State University
Montclair State University
Moore College of Art & Design
Morehouse College
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Mary University
Mount St. Mary's University
New England College
New Mexico State University
New York City College of Technology
New York University
North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina State University
Northeastern University
Northern Arizona University
Northern Illinois University
Northern Michigan University
Northwestern University
Oakland University
Oberlin College
Ohio State University
Ohio University
Oklahoma State University
Old Dominion University
Olivet Nazarene University
Oregon State University
Pace University
Pacific Union College
Parsons New School for Design
Penn State University
Pepperdine University
Philadelphia University
Pitzer College
Point Park University
Pomona College
Prairie View A&M University
Providence College
Purdue University
Queens College-CUNY
Queens University (Canada)
Quest University (Canada)
Quinnipiac University
Radford College
Radford University
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Regis University
Rhode Island College
Rhode Island School of Design
RISD
Roanoke College
Rochester Institute of Technology
Roger Williams University
Rollins College
Rutgers University
Ryerson University (Canada)
Sacred Heart University
Saddleback College
Saint Anselm College
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Louis University
Saint Mary's College - Notre Dame
Saint Mary's College of California
Saint Vincent College
Salve Regina University
San Diego Miramar College
San Diego State University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Clara University
SCAD
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle University
Seminole State College of Florida
Seneca College (Canada)
Seton Hill University
Siena College
Simmons College
Simon Fraser University (Canada)
Skidmore College
Smith College
South Texas College
Southern Connecticut State University
Southern Illinois University
Southern Methodist University
Spelman College
St. Bonaventure University
St. Edward's University
St. John's University
St. Olaf College
Stonehill College
Stony Brook University
Suffolk University
SUNY Cortland
SUNY Geneseo
SUNY New Paltz
SUNY Oneonta
SUNY Purchase
Swarthmore College
Syracuse University
Temple University
Texas A&M University
Texas Christian University
Texas State University
Texas Tech University
Texas Woman's University
The Art Institute of Austin
The Art Institute of Portland
The Catholic University of America
The College of New Jersey
The College of Saint Rose
The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago
Towson University
Trinity College
Trinity University
Troy University
Tufts University
Tulane University
Union College
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University of Akron
University of Alabama
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University of the Pacific
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University of Vermont
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University of Washington
University of Waterloo (Canada)
University of Western Ontario (Canada)
University of Windsor
University of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Wisconsin—La Crosse
Ursinus College
Valdosta State University
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Villanova University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Tech
Wade College
Wake Forest University
Washington State University
Washington University-St Louis
Wayne State University
Webster University
Wellesley College
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Western Connecticut State University
Western Illinois University
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Wichita State University
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Academy of Art University (CA)
Adelphi University
Agnes Scott College
AI Miami International University of Art and Design
Albright College
American University
Anderson University
Appalachian State University
Aquinas College
Arcadia University
Arizona State University
Armstrong State University
Art Institute of California - San Francisco
Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
Art Institute of Philadelphia
Art Institute of Pittsburgh
Art Institute of Portland
Art Institute of Washington
Art Institute of York Pennsylvania
Auburn University
Aurora University
Austin College
Azusa Pacific University
Babson College
Ball State University
Baruch College
Bates College
Baylor University
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Berklee College of Music
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East Stroudsburg University
Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Washington University
Elizabethtown College
Elon University
Emerson College
Emory University
Eugene Lang College The New School for LIberal Arts
Fairfield University
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
FIDM
FIT
Flagler College
Florida A&M University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida International University
Florida State University
Florida State University—Panama City
Fordham University
Franklin and Marshall College
Fullerton College
Galveston College
Gateway College (Canada)
Geneseo State University
George Brown College
George Mason University
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Southern University
Georgia State University
Gettysburg College
Gonzaga University
Graceland University
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Hampton University
Hanover College
Hartwick College
Harvard University
High Point University
Hofstra University
Howard University
Humber College (Canada)
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Iona College
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James Madison University
Johns Hopkins University
Johnson & Wales University
Johnson County Community College
Kansas State University
Kent State University
La Salle University
Lafayette College
Lamar University
Lasell College
Le Moyne College
Lehigh University
LIM College
Lipscomb University
Loras College
Louisiana State University
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Maryland
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Macalester College
Manhattan College
Manhattan School of Music
Manhattanville College
Marist College
Marquette University
Maryland Institute College of Art
Marymount Manhattan College
Maryville College
Massachusetts College of Art and Design
McGill University (Canada)
McMaster University (Canada)
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Messiah College
Miami Dade College
Miami International University of Art & Design
Miami University (Ohio)
Michigan State University
Middle Tennessee State University
Middlebury College
Minnesota State University
Misericordia University
Missouri State University
Monmouth University
Montana State University
Montclair State University
Moore College of Art & Design
Morehouse College
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Mary University
Mount St. Mary's University
New England College
New Mexico State University
New York City College of Technology
New York University
North Carolina A&T State University
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Northern Arizona University
Northern Illinois University
Northern Michigan University
Northwestern University
Oakland University
Oberlin College
Ohio State University
Ohio University
Oklahoma State University
Old Dominion University
Olivet Nazarene University
Oregon State University
Pace University
Pacific Union College
Parsons New School for Design
Penn State University
Pepperdine University
Philadelphia University
Pitzer College
Point Park University
Pomona College
Prairie View A&M University
Providence College
Purdue University
Queens College-CUNY
Queens University (Canada)
Quest University (Canada)
Quinnipiac University
Radford College
Radford University
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Regis University
Rhode Island College
Rhode Island School of Design
RISD
Roanoke College
Rochester Institute of Technology
Roger Williams University
Rollins College
Rutgers University
Ryerson University (Canada)
Sacred Heart University
Saddleback College
Saint Anselm College
Saint Joseph's University
Saint Louis University
Saint Mary's College - Notre Dame
Saint Mary's College of California
Saint Vincent College
Salve Regina University
San Diego Miramar College
San Diego State University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Clara University
SCAD
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle University
Seminole State College of Florida
Seneca College (Canada)
Seton Hill University
Siena College
Simmons College
Simon Fraser University (Canada)
Skidmore College
Smith College
South Texas College
Southern Connecticut State University
Southern Illinois University
Southern Methodist University
Spelman College
St. Bonaventure University
St. Edward's University
St. John's University
St. Olaf College
Stonehill College
Stony Brook University
Suffolk University
SUNY Cortland
SUNY Geneseo
SUNY New Paltz
SUNY Oneonta
SUNY Purchase
Swarthmore College
Syracuse University
Temple University
Texas A&M University
Texas Christian University
Texas State University
Texas Tech University
Texas Woman's University
The Art Institute of Austin
The Art Institute of Portland
The Catholic University of America
The College of New Jersey
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Nina Marlena

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Nina Marlena

One of the things I love about Instagram is finding, connecting and networking with other like-minded people. I can’t remember exactly how I found Nina Oswald, the instagrammer behind @ninamarlena but as soon as I saw her array of hand crafted skulls (perfect to decorate your dorm), I knew I had to interview her. Like me, Nina has an obsession with skulls and colours but in her case she produces them from scratch! As well as running her business Nina Marlena, Nina still aspires to become a set designer and visual merchandiser. Here she explains how she became obsessed with skulls, it’s evolution to home decor and the current projects she is working on.

CollegeDormista: Where did you go to university? What was your major and what are doing now?

Nina Marlena: I studied at Curtin University and just graduated this month with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Architecture. I am currently using the spare time I now have to pursue other artistic ideas such as expanding on my skull work and saving up for a trip to America.

CD: Have you always wanted to get into the art and design field?

NM: I always knew I wanted to do something creative. Interior Architecture/Design has been an interest of mine from a young age. Through school, I always enjoyed creating with my hands; doing TEE art, sewing classes and personal craft projects. It is amazing how many connections can be made between all artistic disciplines which offer new perspectives within projects. I want to learn as much as I can within art and design.

CD: How did Nina Marlena come to be? Why skulls?

NM: My middle name is Marlena. My name was already “ninamarlena” on Instagram before I started making the skulls. I remember not wanting to make a name for myself that was purely about skulls. I didn’t want to be locked into a category so I just went with my name: boring! Even though I have made a name for myself as “the skull girl” I’m hoping I will eventually shake that as I move onto other things in the future. In terms of the skulls, I had a fascination with skulls prior to creating them myself and I wanted to make one for a fun personal assignment. Through Instagram and word of mouth my little craft project erupted into a business, something I had never initially intended for. The response has been incredible.

CD: How do you make these skulls? How do you paint/decorate them?

NM: The skulls are created with plaster through the technique of casting to form a base shape. Once hardened, the skull is removed from the mold and left to completely dry out. Then I give them an undercoat and apply paint, glitter, confetti pieces or patterned fabric strips.

CD: Do you have a certain interest with interiors and décor? Did the skulls have a décor purpose from the beginning or did it evolve over the years?

NM: I’m certainly interested with interiors and more so the connection between interiors and art. I have a soft spot for installation and the way elements come together to define a space. Décor has the power to transform a space entirely and it’s exciting that my skulls play a role in that transformation in such a variety of spaces from homes to offices. I feel there was always a décor purpose from the beginning of the skull project and that has now evolved into something more. My solo exhibition last year was also a part of my thesis and explored manipulations to the skull object in terms of destruction and extension, resulting in contextual transformation. The skull as a décor item was challenged and used in bizarre installations branching from surrealism ideology. My work is not only about creating a home wares product but also exploring art, techniques, meaning and redefining the possibility of the object.

CD: Do you decorate your own space with the skulls you make?

NM: I’m not sure if “decorate” is the right term but there are skulls everywhere in my house! However, there is one skull I have kept for myself and it lives on my bedside table away from the others. It is a unique splatter paint skull that was involved in an interactive installation from my exhibition.

CD: Why do you think skulls are becoming such a popular décor trend?

NM: I think there will always been a certain fascination with the skull as it is applicable to all of humanity and presents an everlasting conversation about life and death. There is something beautiful yet haunting about the object and it encases a multitude of meaning and varied interpretation, hence its popularity.

CD: Where do you get your inspiration?

NM: I find inspiration browsing through art and design blogs and creative Instagram feeds. If an image inspires me, even in a distantly related field, I enjoy trying to apply an element of the concept or aesthetic to my own work. Often working on one project will inspire ideas for further exploration. Using fabric as a finish has opened many doors for me and I am currently working on a couple of collaborative skull series incorporating the work of Jarrad Seng and Justin Davies. We are creating custom fabric from photographic images to apply to the skulls. I find collaborating with other creative people incredibly rewarding and inspiring. The ideology behind the Surrealism art period also serves as inspiration to me.

CD: Your Instagram features so many inspirational and creative images and the current projects you’re working on. Why do you like Instagram?

NM: I use Instagram to bookmark other artists/projects I discover as well documenting my own artistic adventures in my processes, products and other pretty stuff along the way. I like Instagram because it is a visual representation of my brain and my experiences. I have made some incredible connections with other creative like-minded people all over the world. It is a great platform for exchange of inspiration as well as the promotion of my art.

CD: Your Instagram is also very colourful! Why do you like playing with colours?

NM: I love visual vibrancy and intensity, whether it’s represented in colour, pattern or texture. Colourful things are striking and energetic. I feel that colour provides a jolt of revitalisation to the senses.  It is a powerful communication tool and prevalent throughout my work.

CD: Does your personal style ever mirror the skulls you create? Or vice versa?

NM: There are days where I will wear colourful or heavily patterned items, which is reflective of my work to an extent for sure. I enjoy matching garments but also clashing prints and then there are days I’ll colour block or wear all black. My outfits depend on my mood, just as my ideas for new skulls are evoked from particular emotions. I did a really cool collaboration with a local fashion label, Kawaii Girls, where matching garments (crops and skirts) were created in conjunction with skulls using the same print. The shoots were always really exciting. I think an overdose of pattern or camouflage within art, fashion and interiors expresses a “wow” factor element.

CD: Lastly, will Nina Marlena expand to other products in the future?

NM: I want to do a few more decor pieces with the skulls involving semi three-dimensional wall hanging art. I am also attempting to create a plaster pineapple as another home wares product. However, my heart is in set/scenic design, styling, event design and visual merchandising rather than product design. I hope to combine my knowledge of space and my crafting abilities to work on installations that blend interiors and art. In the future I would love to work on elaborate shop window displays, extravagant scenes for fashion photography and incredible event environments.   

 

Style On®,

Melissa Him

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