Sofi Hailu

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As an artist with more than 5 years of experience studying and practicing creative processes, I use an innovative mindset to create art and solve problems while using my passion for people to connect with the community.

I am the daughter of a Ukrainian and an Ethiopian who met in art school and started a family. I was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and arrived in the U.S. when I was 2 years old. Growing up, being an immigrant of two artists made me creative and innovative. It also cultivated my love of learning about other cultures. Seeing my two parents unable to make an income through their art propelled me to strive to do what my parents couldn’t: be a practicing, nonstarving artist.

Throughout my education, I learned about the vast world of art and business. I learned how to use a variety of tools to be creative and innovative. I took my first art classes at an expeditionary charter school called Odyssey. Here, I was exposed to camping and the outdoors, and I fell in love with one of my artistic inspirations: the natural environment of Colorado. I graduated from a charter high school called DSST- Montview, which pushed everyone to have internships. I was able to intern for a local artist who showed me how wide the art world really was.

In the Fall of 2020, I graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and a minor in Entrepreneurship. During University, I had the chance to study at an art school in London called Goldsmith’s College. Here I was able to explore my identity as an artist and meet people from all around the world. During my senior year, I used tools and concepts I learned throughout college to teach myself animation and create my first animated works of art.

Currently, I am a receptionist and art manager at Azari Rug Gallery. Previously, I nannied, tutored, and taught art to a group of 2nd graders while they had virtual learning. With every job, I strived to make it an extension of my education, while being creative and entrepreneurial.

Generally, my current goals include being healthier, more humble, and more genuine. I also hope to strengthen my values of learning, self-expression, well-being, relationships, and discipline. However, artistically, I am hoping to cultivate my art practice and focus more on learning the tools to animate and compose my own films. I also hope to play a hand in improving art education at a K-12 and University level, so that more students have the tools to pursue their artistic passions.