Julia Morrison

Julia Morrison entered 8 to Create’s first ever Undergraduate Gallery hosted in October 2018. In collaboration with The Collective, ten UIUC undergradate artists displayed their work for over 200 audience members to vote on. The winner would be one of our eight artists in the upcoming 5th annual 8 to Create event. Julia’s work won by a landslide and we are so excited to work with her this spring.

Julia Kay Morrison, JMO to many, is a 19 year old from Oak Park, Illinois who has been an artist since birth. She attended Oak Park River Forest High School and is currently studying the Studio Arts at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a sophomore. With a Social Worker mother and a Musician father, JMO was raised with creativity and social activism as her religion, always drawing, singing, and dancing with her less important siblings. For her Junior year of school she will be attending Lorenzo De Medici in Florence, Italy, so go get an autograph while you still can.

My creative process is about passion, inspired by the characters around me, spontaneous adventures, provocative ideas, and of course sweet, sweet politics. With the unquestionable thirst to create, I utilize video, audio, drawing, painting, and more. When it comes to 2D art making, I have found surrealism to be the most fun way to tell stories. I get energized from inventing, exploring the unknown, and creating spaces with color and form while distorting reality.

Image provided by Julia Morrison

Featured Artist: Tracy Lee Stum

Tracy Lee Stum began drawing as soon as she could clutch a crayon. She studied privately as a child and earned a Bachelor’s degree at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She continued her studies in naturalism at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy.

A gregarious graffiti lover, Tracy began street painting in 1998 and is considered by Madonnari peers, festival directors and viewers alike as one of the finest street painters today. Known for splashing color in festivals and events in all corners and crevices of the globe, her paintings have won numerous awards & accolades – her only regret is that her masterpieces rarely fit on the fridge.

In 2006 Tracy added the Guinness World Record to her collection of vinyl for the largest street painting by an individual. In 2013 she was honored to be a contributor on the Cannes Gold Lion award winning team for their work in the now iconic Honda CRV commercial.

Experienced in multi-city campaigns for such clients as Cadillac, SoBe, and Dos Equis, Tracy is continually creating commissioned 3D and 4D works in chalk for advertising, public and private events, corporate PR and educational sectors. Her international team building skills have been utilized in developing street painting festivals in China, Mexico, India, Russia and throughout the United States. Her art travels well and is always up to date on all of its shots.

Tracy has been privileged and honored to serve as the US State Department’s 2012 cultural ambassador. She’s toured Tajikistan and India creating 3D street paintings and teaching workshops at distinguished universities and art colleges to promote education, awareness and positive cross-cultural communication.

In 2013 Tracy put on clean pants and stepped effortlessly into management as she curated the first annual DO/AC 3D Chalk Festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey, showcasing 14 renowned international 3D street art & chalk artists.

Tracy’s chalk conversations speak to her vast audience with imagination, beauty and playfulness – often with a thick Italian accent.



Images from tracyleestum.com

Rachel Lindsay-Snow

Originally from a small town in Upstate New York, I have lived the last ten years in Chicago where I obtained my Bachelor’s of Arts in Conflict Transformation and in Art. I am currently a MFA candidate at the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana in the studio arts. While grappling with laborious actions of ritual and repetition I have found much of my recent work and material set to be toying with notions of mortality, cycle, and temporality through the poetic gesture. Through mediums of installation, performance and sculpture–and the use of both multiples and the juxtaposition of seemingly estranged objects–I collaborate in moments of pause, of recentering, of questioning. I see the process of making art as a practice of asking questions, research, and wonder.



Images provided by Rachel Lindsay-Snow.

Phil Strang

Phil has been painting since Junior High school in New York, but only in the past fifteen years has he developed a practice of painting on glass. He was doing mostly portraits of Second Life avatars and some of real life characters. and in the summer of 2014, he started experimenting with various types of splatter painting as two eye operations have made detailed work much harder. Now he does a combination of Impressionistic painting on glass and acrylic abstracts on textured canvases.

He has lived in Champaign-Urbana for the past 50 years and loves the flat peacefulness and constant change of the Midwest. He is most grateful for his two great kids and his wonderful wife Mary and her three daughters. Besides painting, Phil has also played in bands doing original music, performed in over 50 theatrical productions, written dozens of reviews and articles about music, art, and theatre and managed a music store for over 33 years before the crash of the music industry. He then managed two theatres and an auditorium for the University of Illinois and painted whenever he had free time. He retired in December 2016. and now does whatever he wants to (or whatever Mary tells him to do).


Images provided by Phil Strang.

Sierra Murphy

Sierra Murphy is a visual artist from Urbana, IL. She studied art therapy with emphases in drawing and printmaking at Millikin University. Favorite stylistic influences include Egon Schiele, Cindy Sherman, and Alfred Horsley Hinton. She has shown work in events such as Boneyard Arts Festival, Untitled, the Urbana Art Expo, and Artists Against Aids, and she was selected for 40 North’s MTD art program.




Images provided by Sierra Murphy

Anat Ronen

Anat is a self-taught artist who pushes herself to find depth in her commissioned work. With her street art, she reflects her notice of current affairs, injustices all over the globe, social matters and love for animals. Her challenges have helped mold her into an independent woman whose art causes the audience to pause in intelligent reflection and appreciation of beauty.

As an untrained artist she has an organic relationship towards art-making that corresponds to a vital need, a matter of personal balance and identity. She has executed commissions all over the world. Anat works with a variety of materials including acrylics, latex, tempera, chalk, pen, marker, colour pencils, digital and more. Typically working on at least 20 projects at one time, Anat prides herself on her ability to work on a large scale and at a rapid pace. Her work ranges in size from a few feet wide to over 30 feet tall and covering a variety of subject matter. Versatility is her strong suit, commenting, “Everything inspires me.”

Anat has created hundreds of pieces in the past ten years. Her work is found throughout the greater Houston, Texas area, including public spaces like interstate highways, bridges, buildings, churches, and schools. Additionally, her work is displayed in museums and select shows. Anat has work displayed nationally in California, Utah, Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Rhode Island and of course, Texas, and internationally in India, Israel, China, Colombia, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany.

In addition to her mural work, Anat participates in international street painting and street art festivals nationwide and around the world.




Images provided Anat Ronen.

Kelly Hieronymus

I am fascinated with the world from above and captivated by the fields, rivers, and roads that surround the Central Illinois area. From the sky each field is unique, the patterns being created by the machinery farmers use to plant and plow their fields. The details of each field are further shaped by the crops used that year and the years before. These independent actions result in unintentional beauty when viewed from above.

With all my paintings, I begin with a natural color and an extreme color, allowing the two colors to come together and determine what comes next. The third dictates the fourth and so on. The final color combinations are a result of many layers reacting with one another. The lines you see in my work provide a physical barrier between colors and bring a third dimension to my paintings. In real life, they represent the roads, creeks, and property lines that divide the fields of Central Illinois and the farmland that makes up the Midwest.

I hope that people take away from my work that there is an unrecognized beauty in every detail of the land around us. Our ground-based lives restrict us from seeing this unique perspective. I hope that my work inspires others to explore the world from a new vantage point and find beauty in what they see.




Images provided by Kelly Hieronymus.

Cris Hughes

I started making art in the mid-1990s, focusing on photography and mixed media. Now years later, as a scientist in my everyday life, I’ve found I still crave a space for art. I’ve continued with mixed media, and as I developed a love for growing plants, I wanted to incorporate it into a form of art. I gather the floral and faunal offerings of my surroundings throughout the seasons, whether at home in the Midwest or traveling across the country, to create imaginative representations of the outside world. This has also become a collective form of art, as friends and family find and gift me with natural items they find attractive to include in my work. I remember who gave me each piece, and where it came from around the world. I collect, organically preserve, and compose each item in my natural portraits, creating an intersection of seasonality and ecosystems.

The aesthetic of my art is a reflection of my merged expertise – I delicately mount each item using the traditional tools of specimen display, merging my interests in both art and scientific observation. This process of searching for these tiny objects in the world, and considering how to relate them to one another in a finished art piece have required me to slow down and pay attention to the environment, which even in an urban space has much to offer: magical niches of mushrooms hidden under fallen magnolia leaves at my grandmother’s home, or a collection of moss glistening with dew by a baseball field. For the audience, the final art piece beckons them to do the same thing- take the time to look at the tiny details and whimsical architecture of each composition.


Images provided by Cris Hughes.