The New School Graduating Class of 2021 Thesis Highlights | Part 5

The New School
8 min readMay 12, 2021


Despite the immense challenges the past year has posed, the graduating class of 2021 has created work that inspires, teaches, and even challenges us. Leading up to The New School’s commencement ceremony on May 14, 2021, we’ll be highlighting their work and accomplishments so our entire community can continue to learn from and support their research and art practices.

Additional work from the Parsons School of Design Class of 2021 will be featured virtually throughout the summer. More information about this year’s Parsons Festival will be available soon.

Interested in checking out more work from this year’s graduating class? Click here for Part 1, here for Part 2, and here for Part 3, and here for Part 4.

Congrats, grads!

Natalie Lam

BFA Fine Arts, 2021

“I lodge an investigation of the ecological unknown into the complexities of human behaviour, contemporary culture, and our persistent evolution. My studio practice demands borrowing from scientific, anthropological, and philosophical discourse, a careful weaving of inquiry and imagination, empirical research and artistic speculation.

To deepen my understanding of the human-Nature relationship, I draw from extensive re- search, timely personal experiences, or a combination of the two. Subsequently realized through multimedia — sculpture, installation, text, or video, the work often comprises natural materials coupled with found synthetic objects in ironic or paradoxical compositions. The universe and our existence in it are profoundly interwoven in complex systems both fathomable and unfathomable, and my pro- cess is founded on distilling such fundamental questions to simplified forms. I ultimately endeavor to excavate the fabric of our collective ecological existence. Through a process of curiosity and inquiry, regress and progress, investigation and research, I am driven to reason and celebrate that I never fully can.”

Taysia De Mesa

BFA Fine Arts, 2021

“This body of work focuses on the impact that light has in natural spaces to reveal color in the Northern California landscape. By painting landscapes en plein air, I am able to experience light and color in real time. The use of acrylic paints allows for rapid color mixing and application, and when placed on synthetic paper it allows the paint to slip on the surface to melt colors by brushstrokes. Once the acrylic dries, I have captured a concise moment in time. The once wet painting surface can no longer be moved, and the fluid landscape becomes a singular moment that refuses to be altered.

I often revisit the same trail to paint because of the high vantage point, that allows me to see a vast area of land and sky. I observe how its color story changes by the hour (usually from 3 to 8 pm), and by the day, year-round. My observations and perceptions of color constantly evolve in outdoor spaces to reflect the changes in light throughout the day. Therefore, I have begun to paint a minimum of two paintings in one session. These parameters have deepened the way I observe and begin to form memories about the site over time. My awareness and understanding of the sky’s colors extends beyond the universally accepted perception of it being Sky Blue. As the sun sets away, the moon, stars, and artificial lights begin to illuminate the landscape, causing color to shift again in hue, saturation, and value.”

Check out more of Taysia’s work on her Portfolio website and Instagram @oftable

Stephy Hsu

BFA Fine Arts, 2021

“I have been exploring surrealism for a while, and I found it motivate me to create my imaginary world. I’m seeking to present dreams and apply the idea of automatic drawing to this series, and let go of all the rationality and logic, connecting my inner world to my ego, leading to a state of mind. It is not about the result but the process of making that create the connection, and the connection is the key to reflecting and understanding ourselves.

I documented my dreams everyday and analyze the meaning behind the dream. Sometimes my dreams are two dimensional, sometime are distorted three dimensional landscapes and images. The analysis of painting is similar to dream analysis. Just like dreams, people will unconsciously vent their inner unconsciousness in paintings, which make the paintings introspective, figurative, and full of fantasy. It is a symbolic language that can be refracted. It reveals a lot of subconscious information, and this kind of orientation is usually challenging to obtain in conversation. It can show a person’s overall personality, mood, emotions, and even physical conditions, and painting is easier to capture than dreams. I’m able to illustrate my dreams and reflected it during the process. For me, it is a way of healing and a way of expression that could bring myself into a meditative realm. This series will reveals my sensitive thorns between my family and I, also how my insecurity present in my dreams, no matter it was a pleasant dream or a nightmare.”

Check out more of Stephy’s work at her Portfolio website

Griffin Hecht

BFA Fashion Design, 2021

“My thesis collection offers sex-themed work at a discretion. In my collection, I aimed to take traditional business attire pieces, and add elements of sex, kink, and fetish throughout them.

I developed prints and embellishments using MRI and cystoscopy scans, as well as pixelated images of the naked body. Blending equal parts sex and business, I looked to unconventional office supplies to develop my collection. Examples include photocopiers to create prints made of lubricant, or tape to create restriction, a common kink found in conducted surveys. I showcase this and other kinks throughout the collection. My personal favorite piece is a knit sweater with an image of a chest harness I constructed out of old dress shirts.

I hope for my collection to showcase a new outlook on sex related art, and most importantly, to show people that sex work is real work. Creating a line of business attire showcasing sex and its many facets, I challenge others to reconsider the stigmas around sex work and offer the industry the same respect that any other would be given.”

Check out more of Griffin’s work on his Instagram accounts and @griffhecht

Malart Cunningham

AAS Fashion Design, 2021

“What is Heaven on Earth? Is it where the waters and the skies meet or can it even be the pure bliss of having a moment in the day to reflect on life? Each person’s perspective of Heaven is different.

The world physically paused, but our spirits gave us the momentum for a better tomorrow and to appreciate life even more. My passion is to outfit the greatest creation on Earth, US! Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. My creations are outfitted for the Kingdom, which you and I are apart of.”

Check out more of Malart’s work on instagram @mac_world87

Jess Park

MFA Industrial design, 2021

“Fall injuries are a major cause of the elderly losing their mobility and independence. Hip fractures are the most common of these injuries and they increase the mortality rate of elderly patients. Ageism is also an underlying issue and the stigmas that come with ageism, such as frailty and poor health, can make older adults reluctant to use hip protective gear and other assistive devices. Pillo is a collection of loungewear for the elderly that are easy to wear and take off, machine washable, comfortable to wear, aesthetically pleasing, and economical. They have shock absorbing foams inside inner pockets on the hips to prevent hip fracture by softening the impact upon falls. The attractive and easy to use design makes the user more willing to use the product and lengthens the life of the product while also combating ageist stigmas.”

Check out more of Jess’s work on her website and on Instagram @_jesspark_2020

This concludes our series highlighting The New School graduates of 2021. Congrats to all!



The New School

A university in New York City for scholarly activists, fearless artists, and convention-defying designers established in 1919. #100YearsNew