Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2024

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author's Department

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type



I am Micah Mickles, a mixed-media visual artist in St. Louis, Missouri. My artwork is deeply rooted in my personal experiences and serves as a memorial and monument to counteract the enduring effects of grief and loss. What sets my work apart is the transformative impact of my everyday encounters, inspired by my 14 years of experience working at Trader Joe's. These encounters have led me to reflect on my profound connections with diverse communities. By delving into the hidden narratives of mundane materials encountered in the workplace, I prompt a reexamination of convenience and supply chain origins. Inspired by the iconic artwork of Andy Warhol, my artistic evolution led to a deeper exploration of food as case studies, unraveling stories of history and exploitation. Ultimately, my artwork bridges past and present, drawing from childhood memories of frozen homes and abandoned spaces to evoke themes of nostalgia, time, and memory. My abstract works invite viewers to contemplate the intersection of personal narrative, community connection, and artistic expression in exploring memory and identity.



Program Chair

Lisa Bulawsky

Thesis Text Advisor

Meghan Kirkwood

Thesis Text Advisor

Meghan Kirkwood

Faculty Mentor

Meghan Kirkwood

Committee Member

Jack Risley

Committee Member

Sage Dawson

Artist's Statement

Life is my fundamental material, shaping sculptures, fiberworks, and prints that archive a unique history deeply intertwined with mine. As a mixed-media artist, I am not just a creator but a storyteller. I breathe new life into lost and found objects, transforming them into vibrant narratives. Each piece is a testament to my deep appreciation for untold stories and my exploration of family traditions. Rayfield's Chamber 2024 is not merely a fusion of personal loss and cultural inspiration. It is my transformative journey, a response to a devastating flood that swept through our home, obliterating my father's possessions. Driven to preserve his legacy, I was compelled to archive his life's work, infusing these forgotten archives with my history. The result is a poignant story woven with my family's traditions through sculpture, fiber, and printmaking. My practice is not just about healing; it's about providing hope and self-discovery. The journey toward self-discovery and liberation can be genuinely transformative, especially when one embraces vulnerability and explores one's creativity.