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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Student artist’s passion is invigorated by Mexico City trip

Monique Bever
Recent Wichita State graduate Paola Iseley poses in front of her artwork at the capstone exhibition reception in the Clayton Staples Gallery. Iseley graduated in May and is pursuing a future art career.

After relocating from Dallas, Texas, to attend Wichita State University for aerospace engineering, Paola Iseley realized halfway through the program that she needed to pursue her true passion in art.

“I just couldn’t shake this feeling that I had when I was little that art was calling me,” Iseley said. “I felt like I was missing out, like, not only on a skill that I had but, like, this passion for my art as well that was basically no longer there for engineering. It was actually a really hard decision … but I really haven’t looked back. My passion for art has just, like, grown every single day.

Art is more than a form of expression to Iseley; it’s her calling. 

“When you experience something like that, you realize, ‘Man, this is what I want to do.’”

When she first began taking art classes, she caught the attention of fine arts professor Robert Bubp by making her own canvases to produce better-quality paintings for her entry-level class.

“It was very clear from the beginning that she was a person who would go outside the box in terms of what she wanted to do,” Bubp said. “I found that she is pretty invested in a lot of things she does, and she is not a person who takes half-measures.” 

In the summer of 2023, Bubp brought a class to Mexico City. Iseley joined to learn the history of Mexican art. 

“I was really able to connect again as a Mexican from a Mexican background,” Iseley said. I was able to connect with my heritage again, and it really connected me to street art.”

Paola Iseley smiles next to her completed tiger mural on a jungle-themed bar in Ocampo, Guanajuato, Mexico. Photo courtesy of Paola Iseley.

Iseley reached out to Jorge Negrete, a muralist from her family’s hometown of Ocampo, Guanajuato, Mexico, where she frequently visits. Together, Iseley would go on to paint her first mural of a tiger on a jungle-themed bar in Ocampo.

“It’s really just putting yourself out there. If you really are interested in something, just taking a leap,” Iseley said. “Even though I had never done a mural before, I was like, ‘I got this, let’s do it.’”

Iseley graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in studio art with an emphasis in painting. After graduation, she aspires to attend graduate school but plans to take time amping up her portfolio.

“As of right now, it’s all, like, exploring the world,” Iseley said. “Getting inspired and challenging myself.”

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About the Contributor
Monique Bever
Monique Bever, Reporter
Monique Bever is a first-year reporter and photographer. She is a freshman majoring in philosophy. Monique has lived in Wichita for most of her life. She loves film, fashion, and her cat.

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