Artist Spotlight: Kayla Haugen

Gracyn Leukam

Kayla Haugen is a 23-year-old Studio Art Printmaking major at UW Stout. She is originally from Woodbury, MN and has a passion for taking what she learns (combined with her natural talent) and turning it into a meaningful message. 

What type of art do you make and why?

“I’m a multidisciplinary artist that explores printmaking, painting and sculpture. I have always enjoyed finding ways that opposing mediums could harmonize with one another. Lately, my work has focused on systems of oppression and how the community, individuals and other artists respond to this. Currently, my work has moved toward ideas of pain and the reasons behind why some people give themselves up to pain, whether it be as an act of punishment, pleasure or courage. I want to further explore the debate of bodily autonomy and what it means to truly have freedom over one’s own body.”

Provided by: Kayla Haugen
Provided by: Kayla Haugen

What inspires you?

“Proceeding the murder of George Floyd and the coming protests, I was moved by the extensive efforts of the Minneapolis community. They created donation centers and health facilities, incorporated the city through artwork and cleanup crews, and created George Floyd Square to commemorate George Floyd and all those who have been victimized by police brutality. When I see others under the circumstances of oppression, it sparks a rage that fuels me to try to understand what’s going on and to educate others. It was horrifying, yet amazing that such a tragic event produced so much connection, love and change. It’s in the duality of these moments I find inspiration.”

How do you make your art?

“Initially, my art starts with research. I spend a lot of time researching, interviewing and asking questions before I actually make anything. My work usually starts with a pile of experimental materials that I eventually flush out into a work of art. I would say that my process is 50% research, 40% experimentation and 10% finalizing a piece. 

Provided by: Kayla Haugen

What is your major like?

“Studying as a printmaking major, I spend a lot of time learning new printmaking techniques from relief, serigraphy, drypoint etching to mono types. This combination of exploration further manifests when I put it all together. I really resonate with collage-making and building off of it later.”

What does your art mean to you?

“As I’ve evolved as an artist, I favor the process of making a piece over showing a piece in a show. I find it rewarding to be able to effectively answer some difficult questions about my role here and what art is truly capable of. I like asking questions and it’s through making art that I can learn more about myself and the world.”