University of Southern Indiana

The Art of an Efroymson

by Erin Meyer

Livia Alexander '18 in USI's painting studio

Livia Alexander ’18, art, the daughter of a longtime USI employee, grew up on campus. She remembers watching a VHS tape that captured her budding artistic skills, recorded at the Children’s Learning Center when she was 3 years old. “I was always just painting,” she recalls of the video. “I had this big rainbow, and I was so proud of myself.”

Twenty years later, the 2019 Efroymson Bridge Year Fellow is back painting at USI. Her rainbows are now replaced by oil-on-canvas interpretations of serious, sometimes controversial issues: depression, suicide, privacy and gun control. “It’s hard to sit down and talk to people about these things, but the visuals can speak without us speaking,” she says. “I want us to come together as one instead of being so divided in every way.”

Established in 2012, and awarded to one USI Art and Design Department graduate each year, the Efroymson Bridge Year Fellowship allowed Alexander time to grow her portfolio in preparation for graduate school. Her work, Mortal Flesh, was exhibited in USI's Kenneth P. McCutchan Art Center/Palmina F. and Stephen S. Pace Galleries too.

Her Words 

Learning Curve

“I learned not to give up on myself, because large projects can be exhausting and shake your confidence. You’ve just got to keep going. I learned a lot about how I think and how I process art.”

Mortal Flesh Exhibition

“I paint flesh, I paint people. And ‘mortal’ ... it’s life and death, it’s people making mistakes—us mortals compared to gods being perfect. We make mistakes. We have flaws. We have negative sides to us, as a race, as individuals.”

Interpreting Art

“I like to give people enough to face them in the right direction, but how far they want to walk in that direction is up to them. Putting the painting topic in their own worlds has more of an impact on them.”


“Don’t be afraid to change direction in the middle. Don’t be afraid to get this feeling in your gut and go with it, because that’s what being an artist is about.”

Point of View

“I really enjoyed painting others’ lives and human experiences that we all go through—relationships, depression, all these universal themes that every culture, every person has— and finding that unity.”

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