Sleepwalking’s inaugural issue: how art creates connections

Sleepwalking's homepage. Photo courtesy of sleepwalking.comSleepwalking's homepage. Photo courtesy of

Hannah Kosoff | Contributing Writer

Most people can admit that self-expression is a crucial part in the world of art. But many have a hard time finding a platform to show their work. Sleepwalking aims to change that, thanks to two FIU students who established this zine, Rochelle O’Donnell and Carlos Ascurra. Sleepwalking just released its inaugural issue online and through pamphlets around campus. 

Dr. Christina Martorana, a professor in the English department at FIU and Sleepwalking advisor explained setting up the first issue. “One of the most challenging parts was figuring out how to get this exciting and creative idea off the ground and inviting artists to submit their work. Once we did that… the response was overwhelming… there were so many people interested in having their work featured.” 

One of the reasons O’Donnell and Ascurra created Sleepwalking was so that anyone could have a creative outlet. Therefore, Sleepwalking made sure to include a variety of art. These range from written pieces and paintings to sculptures, and ensure that there’s something for everyone.

Sleepwalking can help students put themselves out there by “providing a way of self expression… by sharing ideas, learning from one another and giving the chance to learn about someone else’s work… to experience a part of who they are in the arts,” said Martorana.

Due to Sleepwalking’s rate of acceptance, students now have even greater opportunities to network with their artistic peers. Even though many might think art is a solitary skill, engaging with others is essential in learning about art and improving in it.

“The process of art making, whether you are a writer or an artist… involves doing things on your own, and you sometimes very seldomly think, how you could put that somewhere to show it to people… and I think Sleepwalking can be a really great introduction here at FIU, for those who want to present their work… and maybe get a proper critique or have a conversation about it.” said Ascurra.

As an undergrad in art history, he felt that it was crucial to have interactions with other students in the fine arts. Being able to have direct conversations with fine art students and hearing each other’s insights can  help them gain a lot from each other. The ability to share your voice in a student run program develops a sense of comradery and encourages new ideas. 

O’Donnell, who also writes for PantherNOW, felt that it was pivotal to not just learn about curating a zine, but the production behind one. From both a journalistic and artistic standpoint, many people never get the opportunity to learn how to navigate the art world. 

Sleepwalking  pushes students to learn about the business aspects of art and how to promote yourself. By giving students the opportunity to learn how zines are curated, those with experience in graphic design and communications can apply those skills too. They are also planning to have a staff corner separate from their typical submissions. That way, anyone on the Sleepwalking team can show their work to the public as well.

Both O’Donnell and Ascurra are excited to introduce new artists’ work to the public to help them spread their insight. Thanks to Sleepwalking, FIU now has a launching pad for artists in hopes of spreading new ideas and discussions.

“There’s something so important in understanding how people perceive the world through art… and by knowing that, it can help us understand the world in new ways, and there’s something really beautiful about that,” said Ascurra.

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