Staff Artist: Daria McMeans

Nora Miller, A&E Columnist

A brief conversation with the interdisciplinary art teacher, Daria McMeans, can entice one to create art that expresses personal style. Currently, McMeans teaches Drawing 1 and 2, along with AP Art History, and notes that she is able to reflect on experiences as an exhibited artist while teaching.

“When I’m thinking about projects for the class, I try and bring in aspects of the student’s personal experience, because that’s really what art making is about,” McMeans explains.  “‘How do we create meaning with objects?’ was a project I was developing. I was trying to think how I can show the students the process of thinking through this idea, and that was actually the source of coming up with the idea of the wedding project I did,” McMeans says.

McMeans’ acrylic on canvas wedding gown series is one of a number of examples where she has intersected teaching, her personal emotions and memories and  with a broader, societal outlook on her subject.

“I think [her work] has always been sort of based on autobiography. From thinking about body and history to things about gender and self-worth,” McMeans explains.

McMeans has earned her bachelors at Pepperdine University, has been a resident at Skidmore College and received her masters from the University of Pennsylvania. With all of her experience, McMeans still describes her work as ever-changing because of her admiration for experiment when it comes to visually transferring her recent life experiences.

“I started to change from the painting to mixed media/installation. I think that permeates the confluence of different parts of yourself and what that looks like visually,” McMeans says.

After collaborating with renowned contemporary artist, teacher and curator Michelle Grabner, McMeans began to experiment with the media she uses in her work, and the intention behind the pieces.

“The rest of my artistic career has been trying to define how memory. How do we see, what are we looking for and what do we see when we’re looking? What lenses affect how we see the world?” McMeans explains.

McMeans’current and previous works can be found on her website,