Pilsen First Friday: Figure Place

For July's Art First Fridays in Pilsen husART will be debuting the works of three talented students from the American Academy of Art. 

From different disciplines, different medium there is an exploration of figure, body, form, place and environment. 

In their own words:


Mike Filipek

I was raised in the suburbs of Rochester, New York and moved to Chicago to pursue my education in art. I am now a student at the American Academy of Art working towards earning a BFA in Digital Illustration. 

With this body of work I explored the connection between materiel and nature. By displaying a variety of extinct animals and objects from present human life, a relationship has been formed with the industrial materials that I used to create them. The paintings are made using latex wall paint, aerosol paints spread with pallet knives, and stencils.


Sarah Lovitt


I have been artistic ever since I could hold a pen. My father would often entertain me by drawing on placemats and paper napkins, some of which still hang in my home. My work has always leaned towards realism, even in my "Napkin Art" days. My tendency for realism has led me to the American Academy of Art, where I am pursuing a BFA in Life Drawing. 

In this body of work, I chose to focus on the senses of vulnerability and isolation. In my earlier works, I would often leave the subject isolated on the page, finding it intuitively wrong to add to them. My interest in isolation and vulnerability became a more intentional focus in my later works. With my Helping Hands: Fragile Heroes series, I sought to honor those who have helped me throughout my life, even when they were vulnerable themselves. Not wanting to idolize them, I chose to focus on their hands instead. I believe hands show a great deal of emotion and character without actually identify the individuals. This leaves the content more open to a personalized emotional response by the viewer.


Mikaela Muersch

I am a senior, currently studying life drawing at the American Academy of Art. This fall I plan on studying abroad in Florence, Italy to hone my skill in the classical methods of art. My focus is primarily on structure and figurative works, although, I have also done designs from t-shirts to book illustrations. When I’m not drawing I can be found practicing yoga, playing with my rats or riding my bike.


My work is figurative, centering around the human form. I like to work primarily in pastels and oil paints because it focuses on shapes and masses, bringing groundedness to the piece. It is this weight, I believe, that allows the figure to be drawn out from the page, and brought into our environment. These elements give me a sense of connection to my work, and, hopefully, makes the viewer feel a three dimensional realty that removes the stagnant boundary of paper and canvas.