Author: Maddi McFarland
Photographer: Bailey Ernst
Thalia Rodgers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior, has a purely authentic vision for the unreal. This aspiring animator from Omaha, Nebraska started college on a much different note. She said, “Freshman year I was doing journalism, advertising, then I was like that’s not my thing.” Sophomore year she made the leap to Fine Arts and has since developed her personal style. “It’s probably multiple styles, and I’m just like still trying to find my own style,” she modestly disclaims when asked to describe her artistic aesthetic.
She describes her work as a “stream-of-consciousness” painting her life but in an unrealistic manner. She draws her inspiration from other vibrant artists. She said, “I have a lot of favorite artists, and I’m always like looking at their art. Peter Saul, Philip Guston, those are my two favs.” For Rodgers, color plays a significant role in her artwork, which parallels her aspirations almost perfectly.
After College, Rodgers plans to move to Atlanta, GA to pursue a career as an animator. Rodgers said, “My dream job is to work for Adult Swim, and [Atlanta is] where they are based out of. So, I just really want to try and work for them, doing just like animation.” Her background in cartoons stems her childhood. She said, “I just love that old animation style. There’s a lot of cartoons that I watched as a younger child that come into memory when I’m painting, but I usually seek out old Loony Tunes cartoons and comics,” explains Rodgers. She spends most of her time illustrating and painting but she occasional makes time for her love of cartoons. “Last year I was in a video class. I had access to iPads. So, I was just always making animations. I mean, I do by hand animations sometimes, but that just takes a lot of time that I don’t have.”
Rodgers follows a free-flow process of painting that struck curiosity. “I do a lot of drawing, I draw everyday. I’ll just like draw stream-of-consciousness, like draw a scribble and go based off that. Then, I just go at it. I just use like oil, acrylic, I usually just [use] whatever is at hand I like to be cost effective.” It is in Rodgers’s good nature to use the resources around her. She goes as far as finding material on the ground and bring them home like lost puppies.
When asked about her end game goals, Rodgers was all smiles about her desires, “Making my art in a big studio. Everything that I need in front of me, just making what I want. Having [art] shows, maybe teaching.” Rodgers’s other passions include acoustic guitar, singing, and stick-and-poke tattoos. On her Instagram, @ratskullll, you can find a combination of her art and handy work with a needle. She was more than forthcoming to offer up her services.
You can find Rodgers art UNL undergraduate art shows and local First Friday events. She has done very well selling illustrations online, and is also open to commissions.