Welcome to arts, ink.

Welcome to arts, ink., where our student artists and writers are given a forum to illuminate the Michigan student experience through art. If you’re a U-M student interested in becoming a weekly contributor, there may be a position available to get paid for your work. We review applications and hire new bloggers twice a year, in September and January. Read more about Blogging Opportunities here!
Email us at arts@umich.edu with questions.

If you want a nice snapshot of some of our favorite posts from last year, check out the “Summer 2023 Reading List” tag!

Mixed on Campus #3 – Alanna Grace-Marie

Name: Alanna Grace-Marie
Mix: Black, biracial (German & Nigerian)
Major & Year: Sociology – Afro-American Studies; Junior Transfer Student

I am a visual sociologist and multimedia artist. I use my art to tell my unique story as well as share Black history and culture to uplift my community with positive representation. My business instagram is @equitable.arts

Q: How has being mixed affected your campus experience?

A: Being a Black presenting biracial woman at a predominantly white institution, representation is hard to find. So I create my own! And I collaborate with others who have intersectional identities to share their stories too.

Q: What do you wish more people knew about the mixed experience?

A: The mixed experience is unique for every individual and it can be complicated in unique ways too! This isn’t always a negative experience, we can use our unique perspectives to brighten this world. So please, refrain from placing us in stereotypical boxes.

+1: I will write an autobiography one day soon to show the world how being both Black and biracial has informed me and shaped my experiences in this world. I was raised to act a certain way and certainly, society put more pressure on me to conform. But now, I reject this! I am all of my ethnicities and identities, uniquely me! No need to pick a side.

+2: Blair Imani is an educational inspiration of mine. She also rejects stereotypes of her identities and lives an authentic life to uplift all marginalized individuals.

Fable Friday: Japanese Water Goddess

Sorry for the late post this week! My inspiration for this week’s post was similar to the previous project I undertook. For this one, I wanted to focus on a sorceress that is inspired by traditional Japanese kimonos and then also her regular everyday clothing. I thought water powers would be an excellent contrast to the fire sorceress I previously was working on. I have a more dynamic illustration in progress right now too – maybe I’ll post that next week!

TOLAROIDS: Favorite shoot

I’ve been sorting my photos recently and I stumbled across so many pictures from the past that I wanted to share, but this still probably remains my favorite creative shoot. It was for my own exhibition that I curated in 2019 and it featured dance in different transformations. The problem with capturing dance is that a photograph only captures a short snippet, freezes the dancer in one moment, while the entire idea of dance is that it’s continuous. That’s why I used long exposure to capture the continuum and to really show the act of dancing.

If you hover over the images you can see what settings I used, just if you’re curious 🙂 I am working on editing some new photos so there should be some new exciting content soon.






With any questions/comments/concerns you can find me at:

email: akilian@umich.edu

Instagram: akilian,jpg

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 11: The Forbidden Love Letter

My Heart,1

Winter was barely a chill compared to the cold of your absence.  The heat of your hands entwined in mine and the warm blush of your cheeks keep me alive in this frosted land.  Even so much as an hour away from you is as an eternity in the ice.  I do wish we could make our bond known.

I know we cross paths out in the open, but unless we are alone holding hands I see you as a total stranger.  I wish I did not feel this way, and I hope you can forgive me for harboring this sentiment.  I am glad we are closer together now and that I no longer have to withstand these frigid nights alone.

I dreamed a dream that someday we could be together as we hope to be, but in my mind I know it cannot be.  I wish I could deny my love for you, but you have caught me in a deer trap so sure that I know I will never escape it.  For now, we must be content with these little moments.  I sense a time when we may have to be apart for good.  I fear this time, but I try not to dwell on it.  I much prefer dwelling on you.  My heart,2 be steadfast.  We must savor these moments before everything comes to its glorious, frightful end.

I do pray you can forgive me.


Now and forever,


Your soul3


  1. This letter is presumed to be from one courtier to another. The writer and intended recipient are anonymous, indicating a forbidden relationship, possibly an extramarital affair.
  2. The author seems to be talking both to the recipient and to themselves.
  3. “You are of my heart and I am of your soul” is a line from a traditional Tokavskan romantic epic. “My heart, your soul” is a colloquial phrase used in romantic relationships to signify true devotion.


Hey everyone, welcome back to Chroma. This week, I painted someone looking into a mirror in a bathroom, having a crisis about their reality. I feel like bathrooms, whether in your home, a club or bar, or even just random public bathrooms, are almost liminal spaces. Somewhat unconsciously, I’ve gravitated towards drawing them for my backgrounds in a lot of my illustrations. Looking at your reflection, specifically your eyes, can sometimes be freaky in different contexts, which somewhat inspired the text written in the mirror. Additionally, this character I drew here has accidentally become someone that I’ve been including in a lot of illustrations, so prepare to probably see them again soon.