In Alumni, Department of Art

As Thomander’s view of success expands and the lines between art and non-art blur, new creative possibilities emerge

Rachel Stallings Thomander sits in her studio with her baby, Tomás

Seven-year-old Rachel Stallings Thomander walked into a university classroom with her mother and looked up to see several large-scale paintings hanging on the wall. “I want to do that!” she thought.

The oldest of Gloria and Gregory Stallings’ three children, Thomander periodically attended art classes with her mother, an art minor at UC Irvine and the first woman in her Colombian family to receive a college degree. Mother and daughter worked side by side on art projects as Stallings completed class assignments.

“I remember making a small oil painting depicting planets and space, and a dish for chips and salsa,” Thomander recalled. “I grew to love making things during that time and knew I wanted to keep doing it for as long as I could.”

Although she continued to pursue her dream of making art, Thomander didn’t consider herself an artist for a long time. From her perspective, only special people were artists. It wasn’t until she decided to major in art at BYU that she slowly became comfortable using the term to describe herself.

Read the full article by Abby Weidmer at

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