Daisy Trudell-Mills Wins National Art Scholarship


Highlands fine arts senior Daisy Trudell-Mills is in the art foundry at Highlands molding some wax forms of a human face and hands before casting them in iron. Also shown are a bird skeleton and a daffodil.

Photo: Rick Loffredo/University Relations


Las Vegas, New Mexico – Daisy Trudell-Mills is the first New Mexico Highlands student to receive a National Museum of Women in the Arts scholarship, which is awarded in the amount of $2,500.

The 20-year-old fine arts senior from Las Vegas will complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May 2019 with an emphasis in sculpture.

Trudell-Mills said scenarios presented in her work are meant to provoke emotion and pose questions about the essence of life and the manner of an individual’s engagement with the world around them.

“Natural science is a recurring theme in my work as I am heavily interested in the physical world and the science behind the nature around us,” Trudell-Mills said. “I intend for my work to provoke awareness of the precious life our world holds and the importance of preserving it.”

She said that despite the advancement of scientific knowledge, the mysteries of the world continue to exist.

“As an artist, I enjoy the visual exploration of phenomena that manifests beyond the edges of what is known,” Trudell-Mills said.

Trudell-Mills said the drive has always been within her to create art.

“I’ve always known art to be my passion. I see art as a platform where I can communicate concepts. I showed an interest in art at a very young age, and my parents, who are both artists, encouraged me and exposed me to various art mediums,” Trudell-Mills said.

Tara Trudell, Daisy’s mother, is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer who graduated from Highlands in 2014 with a BFA in media arts. Daisy’s father, Dakota Mills, is also a Highlands graduate, earning a BFA in fine arts in 2004 with an emphasis in painting.

“It was inspiring to me to have my mother as such a prominent example of what a strong woman artist looks like,” Trudell-Mills said.

When Trudell-Mills took her first sculpture class at Highlands, she was hooked.

“It was a profound experience because I learned to create sculptures out of many materials. I like the idea of breathing something into existence in three-dimensional space with sculpture,” Trudell-Mills said.

The subject of many of Trudell-Mills’ sculptures is the human female form. She also sculpts animals and their skeletons as well as other subjects from the natural world.

Trudell-Mills learned iron art sculpture techniques from David Lobdell, a fine arts professor at Highlands who oversees the university’s art foundry and who also chairs the Performing and Visual Arts Department.

“Daisy is a natural artist who was informed early in her life about art,” Lobdell said. “She’s a very purposeful artist who always has a strong vision of what she wants to create. Daisy is evolving from an accomplished traditional figurative sculptor to a more contemporary-minded artist.”

Trudell-Mills said Lobdell has provided valuable guidance and support for all her sculpture endeavors.

“I feel a sense of family and community within the Fine Arts Department at Highlands,” Trudell- Mills said. “Professors like David Lobdell and Todd Christensen have broadened my perspective and knowledge greatly. Two art students I admire are Mary Miller and Mateo Roybal.”

This isn’t Trudell-Mill’s first art scholarship. In May 2017, she received a Lorraine Schula Outstanding Art Student scholarship from Highlands.

Trudell-Mills said her goal is to be a professional fine art artist.

“David Lobdell is preparing me for a position at an art foundry in Santa Fe. It’s very exciting,” Trudell-Mills said.