OU Petrel to Tour with the Indigo Girls

When he was thirteen years old, Ben Williams ’11 knew he wanted to play the guitar.  His “practical Jewish mother” had one piece of advice:  “She said, play the bass because you’ll make more money that way,” recalls Ben.  “Everyone plays the guitar.”  Now, the OU communication major is gearing up for his first big job as a bass guitarist.  Starting in June, Ben and his four bandmates will hit the road as the opening act for the legendary folk rock group the Indigo Girls.

Since joining the local pop group The Shadowboxers last summer, Ben spent much of his senior year traveling with his band.  “Playing music is definitely a dream job,” said Ben.  “It’s fun pursuing something that can seem a little impractical.”

Ben recently sat down with the Oglethorpe Blog to share on video a little more about the band, meeting the Indigo Girls, and which OU professor he hopes to see at their Atlanta stop…

Felicia ‘Diosa’ Stevenson ’10: Pop Princess & Businesswoman in the Making

In an age of MySpace superstars and wide-eyed music industry hopefuls, it’s refreshing to see a young start-up who is truly about the business of entertainment.

Enter Felicia Stevenson, better known as “Diosa” in the underground music scene.  A 2010 graduate of Oglethorpe, she strategically chose to study business administration while aggressively pursuing a career in music.  Her hard work paid off, as before she has even released her first album, Felicia has shared the stage with some of the music industry’s most popular acts, including Grammy Award-winning artist Lil’ Wayne and Atlanta rapper T.I.  Now she’s working full-time to produce an album that’s will showcase her talent…and her business sense.

Up-and-coming pop sensation Diosa says her favorite professors at OU were Dr. Collins and Dr. Hetherington. "I love these guys! Thank you, Dr. Collins, for encouraging me to study abroad at Oxford University in England and thank you, Dr. Hetherington, for being a great advisor."

“I feel that life must have a balance of liberal arts education and the arts,” said Diosa.  “I was a morning student at Oglethorpe, but there were times I had to take night and morning classes so my schedule wouldn’t conflict with my music career. I remember there were days I went to morning classes, then attended night school, left there at 10 p.m., drove to the studio, recorded music, left the studio at 8 a.m., and arrived back at class in the same clothes I wore to school the previous day. My life was exhausting!”

She says the experience of her father, who is her biggest musical influence, inspired her to make music and good grades. Continue reading

OU Alumni Find Common Ground in Philadelphia

Alumni Board Chair Randy Roberson '97, Chelcie Rowell '09 and Taryn Cooksey '08 in Philadelphia

We didn’t exactly know what sort of evening to expect when Taryn Cooksey ’08–who was visiting Philly from Atlanta–and I entered Solstice Restaurant at Loews Philadelphia Hotel for an Oglethorpe alumni reception. Would we be the only young alumni there? Would we be overdressed? Would we even be able to find a parking spot in Center City so close to City Hall?

All those anxieties were for nothing, of course, because as soon as we got there, we were swept into conversation with alumni who shared a formative undergraduate experience with us and who live and work and play in the same city as me. It would have been hard to populate a room with people who had more in common with each other!

Bahar Shariati ’02 dropped by to chat before returning to late-night bowling with colleagues at her law firm. We had both lived in Traer and could laugh about the ups and downs of communal living with college freshmen in a building with a courtyard. But that evening for the first time I realized that the sense of community I experienced while I was living on campus also extends beyond Oglethorpe’s front gate. As the wife of one alumnus exclaimed, “I went to Penn State, but whenever we go to Oglethorpe alumni events, it seems like he knows everyone in the room.” Continue reading

Josh Egnew ’99: A Man of Many Canvases


Photo by: Bryce Ward

In the Spring of 1999, as Josh Egnew finished up his Bachelor of Arts at Oglethorpe, the young painter probably never imagined that he would one day be considered one of New York’s renowned artists.

Having spent years of his life painting, Egnew went international with his work—a career that has taken him from Stockholm to Luxembourg, Brussels and back, not only as a painter but also as a professional tattoo artist. Egnew’s creations have blossomed from brush and easel to ink and needle,  allowing him to defy the old adage of a  “starving artist” and create a legacy of his own.

In 2010, the New York-based artist’s work was on display at an art exhibit titled, Metanoia, which showcases the “dark yet beautfiul” artwork of Egnew and several other popular New York tattoo artists.  Metanoia–the Greek word for a change of will and the reforming of one’s mind–went on display at P.J.S. exhibitions in New York, NY and ran through August 29.

"Take the Night," one of the paintings on display by OU alum Josh Egnew. "I enjoy watercolors. I have a good time manipulating them. That said, I'll paint with anything."

"Metanoia is a collection of new works that deal in ethereal subject matter. They're visions of the night if you will. There are 5 of my pieces in the show all of which straddle the line of dark... yet beautiful. "

"Old Moon," by Josh Egnew. "I find inspiration everywhere. With my recent works, the main inspiration is the cosmos, nature and scandinavian metal music. "

On the Weirdest Tattoo a Client Has Ever Requested:

“Oh….I get that question a lot and it’s never easy. I feel like nearly everyday is something bizarre in some way. I work in hipster central so, it’s almost like a contest of people “out-doing” each other. I’ve tattooed robotic m&m’s, shrimp riding skateboards, etc. The list goes on but, honestly it’s all sort of a blur at this point. The things that stand out most are the larger pieces that I’ve been getting to do more of. I’ve been enjoying doing japanese inspired pieces lately. That’s a lot of fun.” 

 On Tattooing Becoming More Accepted Into the Mainstream: 

“When the media embraces things it changes everything. Suddenly everybody’s hero’s/idols are tattooed.That spawns copycats or inspiration and society gets so used to seeing it that they just seem to accept it. Especially where I live. I think there may be more tattooed people than those without in my neighborhood. It’s time to move! haha. I do wish it had stayed a bit more “grimey” but, what are you going to do?”

Any Advice to Other Young Artists?

Oh man, I’m not one to give advice.   It’s taken me long enough to find my way and there’s still a ways to go.  Just work hard.  There’s too much competition in life to just sit back and believe that you deserve something.  You’ve got to earn it more now than ever.”

 How Many Tattoos Do You Have?

“I couldn’t begin to count. I’m covered in them.”

 Photos courtesy of joshegnew.com