Q&A: Meet 2017 Artist of the Year Chelsea Roehl

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Artist of the Year recipient Chelsea Roehl poses for a photo with Bill Bailey.

Chelsea Roehl is the 2017 Artist of the Year! Earlier this year, we interviewed Chelsea to discuss her win, he art and what the title “Artist of the Year” means to her. 

What is your day job?

I used to work in the Student Activities Office in the Wood Center at UAF, but I just recently started a new job at NBCUniversal in Los Angeles, California. I work with the Creative Services team in the Film department to create online advertisements (along with miscellaneous other things) for newly released films, family movies, and home entertainment. 

Tell us what your design represents or symbolizes. 

My design represents Alaskan wildlife in a vectorized form. I follow ed the natural fur patterns of the animal (a fox) and using stylized lines I created a modern representation of the animal digitally. I was born and raised here in Fairbanks, Alaska, so to be able to represent the natural beauty of my home in my own style is what I aimed to do. 

How long have you been an artist?

I have been an artist ever since I was able to hold a crayon. I really have to thank my parents though because they inspired me when I was younger. They taught me to dream and how to achieve my dreams through hard work, dedication, and practice. My mom was my first art critic but I thank her so much because she always pushed me and to this day continues to push me to be better.

What motivates you to draw?

My love for art, the world around me, making people smile, and the idea that one day I can inspire other people like many artists before me. Art is my passion and I’m motivated every day, whether it’s by something I see while out and about, or a crazy idea that pops into my head. Also, one of the greatest feelings in world is knowing my art affected someone, somewhere, in a positive manner.

What does being named “Artist of the Year” mean to you?

Being named “Artist of the Year” means so much to me. That moment when they called me up on stage, I was filled with emotion because it felt like I was accomplishing a dream I had set for myself while making my parents proud. I aspire to have a positive influence on the world and achieving part of that aspiration in the city where I grew up, it was such an emotional and heartwarming experience. 

What are some of your most recent accomplishments?

Well last year I received a letter back in December from President Obama, that was a surreal and amazing moment. I had written him about a month earlier and completely forgot about it until my dad called me and told me I had a letter from the White House. I was also recently selected to be a Team Leader for the SIGGRAPH Student Volunteer program. SIGGRAPH is one of the largest computer graphic conferences and it’s always jam packed with new technology, amazing people, excitement and fun! Lastly I was named on the Chancellor’s list at UAF for my grades again this past semester, so that’s always a feel good moment. 

Click here to read more about the Artist of the Year program, a collaboration between the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Association of Fairbanks. Click here to RSVP to Chelsea Roehl’s First Friday showcase in May.