Auburn Artist Michelle Mayhall

Michelle Mayhall is a junior at Auburn University studying graphic design and minoring in women’s studies, creative writing, and marketing. Her involvements on campus include being a sister of the Kappa Phi chapter of Sigma Alpha Lota, the international music fraternity, which she is also the treasurer of. She is a marketing assistant at the Auburn Rec Center, and writes for the Rec’s blogazine “Be Well.” Her work there also involves being a photographer, a member of the Instagram team, and a graphic designer.

Although she is now avidly pursuing graphic design, Michelle did not come to Auburn initally to study graphic design. When asked what prompted her to change directions, she responded: "I have always loved art. I entered Auburn as a nutrition major, changed to elementary education, and then found graphic design. I would have pursued graphic design from the start, but I had no idea Auburn even had a graphic design school, let alone how impressive it is. Now, I can’t imagine pursuing any other major."

Michelle’s extensive experience through Auburn has provided her not only with the skills useful to a designer, but also the opportunity to illustrate a children’s book. Michelle is the illustrator of the book “Finding Spirit: A Dog lost in Auburn,” written by Margaret Neel Wright. They published the children’s book this past September. The book is about a lost dog, and the profits from book sales benefit the Lee County Humane Society in Auburn.

Michelle describes her experience illustrating the book as “wonderful.” She says, “I worked on the illustrations all summer and had a great time doing it. I believe the author and I are both really proud of the outcome.” She has already been approached about another illustrating opportunity. 

Michelle has also had artwork featured in the local Fieldwork Projects gallery on Gay Street. Her work has been featured in their Juried Self Portrait show (Sspring 2016), the Salon Sale (December 2016) and the latest exhibit “Foreground: On Painting,” which Michelle and her classmates organized and produced. She also recently had graphic design work featured in the graphic design department’s Spring Juried Student Show.

With these experiences, along with her degree, Michelle hopes to later work for Disney as either a graphic designer or an animator. "Anyone who knows me knows my passion for Disney and aspirations to work for them one day. I would like to either work as a graphic designer for them or eventually attend a two-year animation program and hopefully become a Disney animator." She also hopes to continue illustrating, and even illustrate her own books someday as she also has a passion for writing.

Although Michelle’s hard work is apparent in everything that she does, she also accredits Auburn with the amazing opportunities that it offers students. “The fact that I can say I’m a published illustrator before graduating college is only possible because of opportunities within Auburn, and I will always be grateful for that.”

Michelle is an inspiration for those also pursuing the arts, and she demonstrates how hard work truly pays off. You go, Michelle!