Artist Profile: Owen Rokous ’21



Connor Fahey, Editor

Owen Rokous ’21 has been passionately creating art since middle school. His preferred medium is photography, and in the past he has worked with painting, drawing, sculptural collage, and printmaking.

Driven by his love for photography, Rokous wanted to “diversify what media he works with,” so last year he went to the Oxbow School for a studio intensive semester-long art program in Napa, California. There, he was afforded the opportunity to further explore different mediums of art, and further develop as an artist.

When asked if being at Kent has helped him grow as an artist, Rokous responds that “the artistic faculty and the supplies that we’re enabled to use whenever we need them for a project are awesome in regards to making art.” Elaborating, he says that “the teachers are good at leaving things up to you as an artist, while still giving you inspiration and direction when you need it.”

Over the summer, Rokous attended a program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago called Advanced Digital Photo Projects, where he further improved his photography and technical skills.

He explains that his main project during the course was about “gender performativity and the binary of gender in our culture; and how a lot of people don’t necessarily conform to that, but because of our society, they have to conform to it often by engaging in displays of body language we as a culture associate with one gender or the other.” According to him, the photographic aspect of the piece was centered around “expressing non-gendered physicality in framed spaces.”

Accompanying it was “a video essentially compiling a series of pop-cultural references in the form of GIFs from movies and animated shows or films: relevant excerpts ordered to create a narrative calling attention to the body language which people and characters express themselves through from pieces that have impacted me directly in childhood and more recent years because the stuff we see in the media has a big impact on everybody’s perception.”

Outside of the arts, Rokous is also an accomplished athlete and member of the varsity soccer and lacrosse teams at Kent. This coming winter, he will be creating floorcloths and painted canvas rugs as an independent study during the afternoons. He is also part of the Improv Club, and his favorite subject is, of course, art.