Artist Spotlight: Tanyssa Behnke

Name: Tanyssa Behnke

Art Website:

Grade:  Senior (December 2015 Graduate)

Major/Minor:  Art, Graphic Design Sequence (although my art is more Fine Art and photography based)

Why did you choose SNC?

As a tour guide for the admissions office at St. Norbert College, I’d have to say it was the communio that grabbed my attention when visiting campus. As I reflect, it was professors meeting for coffee and singing with me in the Knight Owl, roommates who shared the same love of God and opportunities and experiences such as study abroad that have helped shape my character that really made St. Norbert the best choice for me.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?  Why?

I love environmental documentaries and foreign films with subtitles. I like the educational value of these two genres. Some of my favorite foreign films include many Danish films starring Mads Mikkelsen, “The Wave” (“Die Welle”) and “Girl on a Bicycle.” I am inspired by the beauty of other languages and try to learn cultural cues based on how the actors interact with one another, how they dress and what the scenery looks like. I enjoy seeing how much I can guess at the plot while picking out the words and phrases I recognize. I have to admit, I’ve watched quite a few more upon returning from Europe after studying abroad in Italy.

What is your favorite piece you’ve done so far?

My favorite series I have worked on recently dates back to junior year when I started working with the organic substance of eggshells. Since then, my photograph, “Eggshells,” has been the star piece hanging on the wall, which took first place at last year’s Student Juried Art Show in the Baer Gallery. This has led up to the entirety of organic materials that I am working with for my senior show.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?  

Nature remains my biggest inspiration while creating art and defining my values. Whether I am photographing preexisting organic objects or forming my own art with natural materials –I am constantly reexamining the environment and learning from the already existing beauty and art in nature.

What do you like doing besides creating art?

Aside from creating, I enjoy reading and writing, as many artists (I hope) do. I enjoy being very involved in my church and cultivating fellowship for members.

What are your plans for after college?  

After I graduate early in December, I plan on taking a one-way ticket to Arizona where I intend to visit some family, check out the University so that I might obtain my Master of Fine Arts (MFA) within the next few years and continue my young journey of culturing and cultivating myself while spending time in nature. I am planning on starting up youth art programs to involve the community in projects to better their environment by beautifying it and building relationships. I would like to bring better recycling programs to the southern half of the States and intend to use my art to shed light on the important issues of recycling and stopping the use and creation of plastics and PVC products.

What is your favorite music to listen to while creating?  

Classical music is usually what helps me attune my hands and mind when brainstorming and starting my projects.

Interview conducted by Anastasia Montavon

tbehnke (1)


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