Rhea Ewing

Rhea Ewing is an award-winning artist, comic author, and freelance science communicator based in Madison, Wisconsin. With a rich background in fine arts, Rhea spent over a decade merging science communication with their artistic endeavors. This unique intersection of art and science became a focal point of their work, eventually evolving into a primary passion. Collaborating with scientists and non-profit organizations, Rhea creates compelling visuals that captivate and educate audiences, embodying the belief that art and science are intrinsically linked through curiosity and the quest for understanding.

A proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, Rhea’s work is deeply committed to equity and fostering connections across diverse groups. They advocate for the accessibility of scientific information, recognizing its potential to save lives and bridge societal divides. Rhea’s artistry extends beyond visual creation, intertwining personal and political narratives to address and celebrate queer identities, especially within the Midwest context.

Rhea’s influences span a variety of artists and illustrators who have shaped their approach to both fine art and comics. Fine artists like Do Ho Suh and Kate MccGwire inspire Rhea with their ability to create powerful wholes from many small parts. In the realm of graphic novels, Alison Bechdel, Craig Thompson, and Leanne Franson have been significant influences, sparking those profound “art moments” where ideas and experiences connect deeply.

In their fine art and illustration work, Rhea explores the intersection of human ideas and the natural world, choosing species of plants and animals deliberately to convey metaphor and visual language. However, their comics and graphic novel work, including their debut graphic novel “FINE: a comic about gender,” place Rhea in a more vulnerable position, focusing on non-fiction and personal stories. This tension between the academic and the personal makes vulnerability an intriguing theme in Rhea’s work, something they have actively explored through leading discussions like the Dream Foundry’s Official Media Exploration Club.

Reflecting on the past decade, Rhea acknowledges the challenges posed by the pandemics, particularly the loss of art shows, galleries, and fairs that significantly impacted their income from the fine arts market. Despite these challenges, they have found joy in connecting with people who resonate with their work and in exploring the possibilities within their chosen mediums.

For those starting out in the field, Rhea offers both creative and business advice. They emphasize the importance of focusing on personal growth and artistic practice rather than chasing a conventional notion of success. Rhea advises against working for minimal pay and stresses the value of having a side job to support creative efforts without succumbing to the pressures of underpaid freelancing.

Rhea Ewing continues to inspire with their multifaceted approach to art and science, using their platform to foster understanding, connection, and meaningful dialogue. Their work not only highlights the complexities of gender and identity but also underscores the power of art to create change and bridge divides.