Kristin Posehn ('01)

Photo credit: Aaron Farley

After graduating with distinction in visual art from Duke in 2001, Kristin Posehn is now making her living as an artist.

Working as both an artist and writer in Los Angeles, she has received numerous international commissions and accolades for her work. Posehn said she values her visual arts undergraduate experience in part because of the breadth of the liberal arts education Duke provided. It’s not something that a strictly art school would have provided.

“I had experiences that none of my friends who went to art school had,” she said. “The multiplicity of people at Duke, compared to an art school, is a really incredible thing. You can interact with so many professors, researchers and graduate students, and I learned to think in several different ways. That was something that was very different from an art school.”

When Posehn came to Duke, she was planning on majoring in physics, and began her studies with several math and physics courses. She realized, however, that she wanted to make more of her passion for art and studied sculpture, printmaking, bookmaking and philosophy. She was also able to get a non-traditional background in documentary photography by taking courses with the Center for Documentary Studies.

“I particularly had a lot of space and freedom at Duke through independent studies and other classes,” she said.

Posehn continued her education and went on to get a master’s degree in sculpture in 2002, as well as a PhD in fine art in 2007. Both degrees are from the Winchester School of Art in the United Kingdom. She later completed a two-year residency at the Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands.

“Duke is a very different liberal arts background for an artist to have but it can be a real resource,” she said. “As an art student, it can be difficult to believe in a career and a future in art, but the only way to find out if it is right for you is to jump in and start making art."

Posehn has produced commissioned works for several institutions around the globe, including the Bonnefanten Museum in the Netherlands, and is preparing upcoming shows across Europe. Her first book, Reclamation, was published in 2012. Information regarding her works is available on her website.