It may surprise some to hear that Cedar Rapids features could remind someone of Bulgaria, but to senior graphic design major Tanya Stoyanova, the resemblance to her hometown of Yanbol is very striking.
“It really reminds me of my hometown because of the layout,” said Stoyanova. “We had a lot of fields; the buildings are pretty similar.”
Stoyanova and her family moved from Bulgaria to Minnesota three years ago to live near relatives. While she was there, she attended community college before moving to Cedar Rapids. After attending a university in Bulgaria with class sizes in the hundreds, she decided that small class sizes were a key factor in choosing a new school; this led her to Mount Mercy.
“I like being more than just a number and being able to interact with a teacher,” said Stoyanova.
Her original artistic interests included photography, but she chose graphic design in order to ease the process of a job search post-graduation. The drawing and graphic design classes that she has taken at Mount Mercy have helped to fine-tune her artistic skills.
“I’ve grown as an artist a lot,” said Stoyanova. “My teachers have helped me a lot with getting better at what I do and having better discipline as an artist. Most artists tend to procrastinate, and it’s really hard to work on your own.”
Stoyanova has her own studio space on the fourth floor of Warde Hall where she works on her drawings and her senior thesis, an artistic piece focusing on women’s depiction in the media.
Her portfolio was selected as a winner of a contest within the art department last year. Her favorite piece from the portfolio was a series of five drawings that represented language barriers and her experience with being an immigrant in America.
“I cannot see myself not being an artist,” Stoyanova said. “That’s something that people see—that art is very important to me.”
“I just feel that it’s one thing that lets me express who I really am because when you’re around people you cannot always show your true self for various reasons,” she continued. “With art, I can relate with how I feel and how I think and just put it out there for people to see.”
In her spare time, Stoyanova enjoys visiting many of the antique shops in Cedar Rapids to see if there are any items to integrate into her work.
Stoyanova would like to return to home to Europe to visit someday, but she says that she will continue to reside in the United States because of the more promising job opportunities here.
This Student Profile was written by Cassie Paulson, Feature Editor, and was originally published in the Mount Mercy Times during the 2013-14 academic year.