Professional Visual Artist
Bachelor of Arts in Art ’16
The time and effort my professors devoted to me during my years at the University of Mobile was priceless.
– Caroline Ennis ’16
“All my life, I have been entranced by the beauty and excitement the water has to offer. Through my art, I express the passion I have for the water,” says award-winning visual artist Caroline Ennis, a 2016 graduate of the University of Mobile.
During her years as an art student at UM, Caroline experienced professors who challenged her to dig deeper into the ideas behind her art. She also had the advantage of studying at the 880-acre Christian university campus located just an hour from Gulf Coast beaches and minutes from the diverse ecosystem of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta known as “America’s Amazon.”
Today, Caroline teaches ceramics in Tampa, Florida, and creates works at the Morean Center for Clay in St. Petersburg, Florida. She uses installation and sculptural methods that include ceramic, fiber, drawing and unfired clay to explore ways to reflect the coastline’s familiarity and the obscurity of deep water.
“University of Mobile professors Phil Counselman and Megan Cary taught me skills that were important to my development as an artist. They taught me to dig deeper into the thoughts behind my work, how to install my work in a gallery, how to professionally showcase my work in a digital format, and how to give an artist talk. The time and effort they devoted to me during my time at UM was priceless,” Caroline says.
Q. What inspires you to create art?
A. Growing up near the Gulf of Mexico shaped my life from a young age. Activities such as offshore fishing, scuba diving, searching for seashells, reading stories or poetry about the sea, or just living near the water have influenced my life and art in many ways. The ideas in my art come from the appreciation and respect I feel for the water.
Q. What did you enjoyed about being a UM student?
A. I graduated from the University of Mobile in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Art and a minor in Graphic Design. From 2012-2016, I played on the UM Rams volleyball team under Coach Jon and Amber Campbell. Being a collegiate student-athlete was a very exciting and memorable time for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to have continued my athletic career in college, and I enjoyed the challenge of being a student-athlete.
What I love most about UM is the faculty and staff! My instructors across all subjects at UM were so incredibly dedicated to forming my education. Most of all, I am so thankful for the immense support and one-on-one instruction and mentorship I received from Professor Phil Counselman and Professor Megan Cary.
Q. What have you been up to since graduating from UM?
A. I attended Florida State University to work toward my Master of Fine Arts degree. Florida State University’s Art Department granted me a full tuition waiver and a paid graduate teaching assistantship. Some notable awards during my time at FSU include MFA Award (2019-2020), Ceramics Award (2020), graduate study travel grants, and a scholarship to an artist residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine. I graduated with my Master of Fine Arts in 2020 summa cum laude.
My MFA thesis titled “The Gulf, the Shallows, the Deeps” centered around my passion for the water and my experiences growing up near the Gulf of Mexico. My thesis art installation included hand-cut fabric patterns resembling fishing nets and three large ceramic sculptures influenced by views of the seafloor through nautical charts and underwater sonar.
After my graduation from FSU in 2020, I accepted a ceramics teacher position at Land O’ Lakes High School in Tampa, Florida, and spearheaded a new 3-dimensional art program.
Through it all, I continue to pursue my own creative work and participate in numerous group and solo art exhibitions. I have been creating work in a shared studio space at the Morean Center for Clay in St. Petersburg. I enjoy the community aspect of working in a shared studio and have made many great connections with talented artists. Currently, I have been working on sculptures resembling castles embedded in the seafloor and decorative pieces thrown on the pottery wheel adorned with hand-sculpted seashells.
Q. How has the University of Mobile continued to be a part of your life after graduation?
A. In 2021, Phil and Megan invited me to install a solo show in the Marilyn Foley Gallery at the University of Mobile. My show was titled “Uncharted Blue” and included work I completed between the years of 2018-2021.
Q. What advice would you give to prospective UM students?
A. My advice is to take full advantage of the opportunities you have during your time at UM. Find it within yourself to independently put in the extra time it takes to hone your craft. Stay late in the studio, do internships, work closely with your professors and make connections with your peers.
Q. Where can we see some of your work?
A. You can view images of my recent work on my website and Instagram art page.
Instagram Handle: caroline_ennis_art