Vanessa Mayoraz has always examined things from the smallest angle, and now as a professor and an artist she shares her passion for curiosity and nature with others.

Mayoraz attended Bauhaus University in Germany. From there, she went on to study as a foreign exchange student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

“I always was in between art and science,” Mayoraz said.  “I could not decide between the two. The art school in Geneva as opposed to the university as an entry exam that was pretty selective. I decided that if I was accepted the first time, I would apply in the art school I would go on to pursue art and if not I will then go on to biology or biochemistry. It was my way to flip the coin as I was unable to choose.”

Mayoraz originally taught in Florida until she and her husband applied to ETSU in search of full-time positions. Mayoraz started at ETSU in an adjunct position, then a visiting position, and is now a full-time professor of extended media.

“I’m an artist and a faculty. I really love teaching. I also love doing my artwork,” Mayoraz said. “The department is really supportive.”

When asked what her favorite type of medium was she did not have a preference, but she still does not paint.

“I’m mostly a conceptual artist,” Mayoraz said, “and I decide on a concept and then I’m going to look at what’s the best material for me to use. Lately, I have done a lot of drawings, and I’ve worked a lot about memories. Drawing is a little like writing for me.”

Mayoraz said that the technique she uses to create her pieces may change depending on the installation.

Mayoraz spoke on some of the things that inspired her the most, such as nature, pollination, and connections between people and pollinators.

“If they don’t exist,” Mayoraz said speaking about pollinators, “we don’t exist.”

She spoke about one of her pieces titled “Infrastructure.” The piece is constructed from many different parts, but a key part is a plant. This piece is to show how people look at the world and try to understand every bit of something. In particular, it is inspired by many aspects from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

Mayoraz said that one day man will reach a point where we won’t be able to understand it all. “How we look at nature and think we understand everything, or we try to understand everything. We think that we can explain everything, but we only have so much understanding.”

Mayoraz has a passion not only for her work as an artist, but as a professor with a curious mind and a  love for life.