time for some summer reading!

Welcome to arts, ink., where our student artists and writers are given a forum to illuminate the Michigan student experience through art. Take a few minutes this summer to sit back, relax, and look back on some of our favorite posts from the last year by perusing the Summer 2021 Reading List tag!

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Artist Spotlight: Voz

Voz (real name Vy) is a talented young illustrator and designer from Seattle. Her artwork is inspired by Japanese animation, fashion, tattoos, and pop culture.

Voz’s cute, clean, and stylish illustrations are so thoughtfully composed, such as her Shoebox Village series, which takes popular shoebox designs and turns them into eclectic storefronts–for example, Nike SB transforms into a tiny 7-Eleven surrounded by cherry blossoms. Another notable project is a set of Black Lives Matter stickers, which Voz designed to raise funds for Color of Change and the Black Trans Travel Fund. Her other illustrations depict unique, vibrant characters, and include experiments with streetwear, tattoo commissions, and more.

There’s something so dynamic and perfectly timely about Voz’s work. Her colorful prints wonderfully capture a sense of individuality and youth that can’t easily be described in words. If you take a look at her personal Instagram account, you’ll be wowed with her laid-back, effortlessly cool fashion aesthetic that informs her work.

Take a look for yourself. Grab a sticker pack or some delightful prints at her shop. As Voz says, it’s always a good time to “add some drip to your home.”


*This is also my last post for arts, ink. as I am graduating this May. It’s been a great three years writing about arts and culture. That’s all, folks!


Nike x Ramen Shop
Adidas x USPS
Nike SB x 7-Elevent
Golf le Fleur x Plant Nursery
Yeezy x Milk Teazy Cafe
Panther Sticker
Jack of Spades
Demon Slayer x Supreme

The Artist’s Panel: Bird

Hello everyone! To any of the UofM students out there reading this: A little bird told me that you might need some encouragement during this exam season. You’re doing great! You are capable! Drink some water and be kind to yourself! Have a safe, productive and healthy week, all. This little bird believes in you, and so do I.

Leo the Mer-Guy! Chapter Nine: The Order of the Night

The group murmured in shock, glancing left and right, capes billowing as anxious bodies moved beneath them.


The rainbow-haired person pointed the flashlight directly at Leo. “We have been followed.”


All eyes turned toward him, glinting brightly against the flames in darkness.


Well. Leo did not wake up today expecting to get murdered. He’d braced himself for a crappy day, but this was just about as crap as crap could get.


Mouth dry, knees wobbly, Leo stepped forward and into the light. “Uh.. uh…” His thoughts were completely empty. He offered a trembling wave. “Hi?”


“Name yourself and your intent,” The rainbow-haired person demanded, voice echoing powerfully.


“I’m L-Leo. Leo Castellan. I just moved here and I thought–“


“Why did you follow us?” they interjected, the edge to their tone growing ever sharper.


Leo swallowed. “Because you seemed cool?”


“Excuse me?”


Leo cleared his throat. “Because you seemed cool, and my parents wanted me to make some friends,” he tried again, his voice a little louder.


The rainbow-haired person blinked. “Oh.”


The group of kids glanced at each other, some spooky nonverbal communication passing between them.


“I can, uh, just go, or–“


“No, hold on,” the rainbow-haired person said. Their voice was normal now, instead of the Gandalf-y tone and power from before. “Did anyone bring an extra robe?”


There was some shuffling, some silence, some footsteps, until a voice piped up: “I did, but it’s kinda small.”


Leo looked to the speaker, who he’d previously assumed was some kind of hunchback toddler. They threw back their cloak, revealing the truth: they were just really short with a really huge backpack. They set the backpack down, pulling out a cloak from under some potato chip snack-sized bags. They held it out toward Leo. “Here.”


“Oh. Thanks.” Leo stepped into the circle, feeling like he was breaking some unspoken rule. He took the robe from the kid, the flames making his eyes water.


He put the cloak on. It ended just below his waist. He looked over to the rainbow-haired person, who seemed to be the leader.


They shrugged and nodded. “Alright, everybody, make room.”


The circle widened by just enough to let one more person join its ranks.


Heart still going crazy, but no longer out of fear of his imminent death, Leo stepped between the backpack child and the rainbow-haired person.


“Welcome,” the rainbow-haired person said to Leo, “to the Order of the Night.”

Weird and Wonderful: Wacky Sci-Fi Grab Bag

For this week’s installment I decided that rather than writing about only one film, I’d write about three films: Mac and Me, Earth Girls Are Easy, and Stay Tuned. These three weren’t well-received by critics, but they hold a special place in my heart as goofy cult classics. Although they aren’t necessarily “good”, each of these sci-fi comedies is far more entertaining than their ratings would have you believe. Grab some popcorn, candy, and your favorite beverage, and settle in for a silly triple feature.

Mac and Me (1988):

This is one of those rare films that is just so bad it’s good. The titular alien, MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature) just wants to return to his family, but instead he ends up at the home of young Eric Cruise (Jade Calegory). Eric must then convince his friends and family to help guide MAC home. Sound familiar? It should, because Mac and Me is essentially an E.T. rip-off funded by product placement. The film was pitched by producer R.J. Louis — who had connections to fast food giant McDonald’s through advertising work and Ronald McDonald House charities — as a promotion for McDonald’s. One of the highlights of this wholesome alien advertisement is a dance sequence at McDonald’s, featuring Ronald McDonald himself (and an uncredited young Jennifer Aniston in her very first role). The additions of life-saving Coca Cola, a trip to the mall, and a pink Cadillac in the final scene couldn’t be a more cheesy love letter to American consumers. 

I love this film so much because the more I learn about it, the more I wonder how it ever got made. The sheer ridiculousness of Mac and Me is what kept me glued to the screen. Come on, a film funded by McDonald’s in which the main character’s name is MAC? How could you not giggle the whole way through?

Earth Girls Are Easy (1989):

Ever wanted to see Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans transform from fuzzy aliens to 80’s California hunks? Here’s your chance. In Earth Girls Are Easy, L.A. manicurist Valerie (Geena Davis) kicks out her rude fiancé only to discover aliens have crash landed in her pool. After a classic makeover sequence, Valerie, her friend Candy, and the aliens hit the town and learn all about 80’s pop culture and what it means to be human. Along the way, the cast breaks out into multiple musical numbers and dance sequences. In 2001 Earth Girls Are Easy was set to be adapted into a stage musical, and if it hadn’t flopped I firmly believe it would have been an instant classic.

This film gave me such warm feelings because it exudes a carefree atmosphere. The premise was so strange and charming that the film didn’t feel its hour and forty minute run time at all. It has all the kitschiness of a more popular 80’s rom-com, but the extraterrestrial twist gives the film the bonus weird factor that it needs to be permanently burned into my brain. 

Stay Tuned (1992):

Don’t sit too close to the television for this one, kids. Stay Tuned stars John Ritter as Roy, a television-obsessed couch potato who accepts a mysterious offer for a new state of the art satellite dish. He and his wife, Helen (Pam Dawber), are sucked into “Hellevision”, a gruesome game show in which the contestants must survive for 24 hours. If not, their souls are stuck in Hellevision forever, and it’s up to their kids Darryl (David Tom) and Diane (Heather McComb) to save them. This film parodies over twenty television shows and films in delightfully devilish ways — one of my personal favorites being “Duane’s Underworld”. As they journey through these parodies, the whole family learns what is truly important: each other. 

Stay Tuned is one of the most amusing satires of media consumption I’ve ever seen. Even if younger audiences might not understand every reference, it’s still well worth the watch. The idea that even Hell itself has had to adapt to technological advancement is comedic gold, and the actors absolutely nail every gag. In the age of Netflix binging and rising screen time, Stay Tuned is just as relevant, and just as goofy.

No matter which one of these films you choose for a lighthearted movie night, you’re bound to have a good time. Who cares what the critics say? Sit back, relax, and revel in the cheesiness.