Artists @ Home: Overcoming trials with Covid earns a UNO artist an award of excellence


Makayla Roumph

Liz Rollin’s award-winning “Rhythm of Life” is on display at the UNO Gallery. The images show the piece at its climax, overwhelming the viewer with many different videos simultaneously working together to tell the bigger story of life that all happens in unison. Photo courtesy of Liz Rollin.

As a multi-crafted artist in design, illustration, animation, abstract sculpture, creative photography and videography, UNO student Liz Rollin faced trials amidst the pandemic that caused limitations, restrictions and disconnections from her passions.

“When my mental health is taking a decline, I’m not going to be creating like I normally would,” Rollin said. “Last semester was one of the hardest semesters I’ve had. I felt like I had to force almost everything I was creating. I lost my drive and ambition to create.”

All of Rollin’s in-person classes were moved to remote including 3D sculpture and printmaking, which she says are difficult to learn in a digital setting. Adapting to the changes of Covid was a challenge, but Rollin shifted her mindset and refocused her mission as an artist.

“It [Covid] also impacted me in making me think more about how I want my art to affect my viewers,” Rollin said. “I notice I try to make a positive impact on my viewers and make things that would make them happier rather than sadder.”

Rollin said “art” is the connection between the creator and the viewer as well as the object for the matter being communicated. On the other end, she defines “design” as utilitarian and used to solve a problem.

“If you asked me this [to define art and design] a couple years ago, I would’ve had a completely different answer,” Rollin said. “But after taking many design classes, I have been forever changed.”

Rollin is a senior at UNO pursuing a double major in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising and Studio Art with a concentration in Digital Art.

One of the many opportunities provided to her through UNO was being awarded the Bertha Mengedoht Hatz Excellence in the Arts Award for her “Rhythm of Life” piece. The piece was also selected to be in the UNO Juried Art Studio Majors Exhibition and was selected by Carlos Castro Arias, the Assistant Professor of Art at San Diego University.

Rollin continues to evolve and be inspired by professors, peers, other artists and art history.

“I’m such an art history nerd that so many historic artists inspire me,” Rollin said. “I can find inspiration from any art movement there is.”

Social media and experiences also inspire her and have opened many doors to her ever-evolving vision of design.

“I am always being inspired by so many people and things!” Rollin said. “Traveling and seeing different cultures than my own is something that inspires me so much as well. I’ve studied abroad twice studying art history in London and Italy, and both of those trips have forever changed me and continue to inspire me.”

After graduation in the fall of 2021, Rollin plans to find a job that allows her to utilize both of her majors, more specifically in a position that allows her to help with the creation, editing and production of creative video pieces or other digital art pieces.

“Regardless of whatever job I end up at, my plan in my free time is to really focus on my art, create and keep trying to get into exhibitions.” Rollin said.

Despite challenges faced for all artists in a pandemic, Rollin said she has learned to put her mind over matter when it comes to creating. She encourages the community to support the local artists in response to the budget cuts and other obstacles continuing to affect artists.

To support Rollin’s storytelling and vivid color and film aesthetics of design, visit her website at and her Instagram @lizrollin.