Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Fairy tales and nursery rhymes hold a certain amount of nostalgia. As part of our childhood, these familiar characters are often left behind while we grow and mature. Their stories are frozen in time and shown to the next generation in the same way they were introduced to us. True characters evolve over time, this is how they stay relevant to changing times. These well rounded characters are what make the art of storytelling exciting. It is important to me to be able to intertwine the traditional characters with a more modern appearance.

For this body of work my goal was to create a visual narrative that incorporated traditional fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters with a pop culture story line, while injecting references to more modern styles and trends along with some humor. The original story that this narrative is built on is Aesop’s Fable; the Tortoise and the Hare. Once this was established as the base, I combined it with the traditional 80’s overcoming the odds formula by referencingOver the Top. The Hare, after losing to the Tortoise has no other option than to redeem himself through competitive arm wrestling.

These two stories mixed together needed a strong supporting cast of colorful characters and environments in which to grow and thrive. Each character is placed in their own personalized environment filled with symbolism so that when drawn into the large narrative they are not just a blank faced extra taking up space in the background.

The hidden references throughout all of the pieces pay homage to the age old tradition of storytelling. These small nods to different author’s approaches to the stories are important to me as an artist. We cannot progress forward without knowing and honoring where we have been. The whole time the environments and characters help build the excitement around the approaching rematch.


Amy Schmierbach

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type



© The Author(s)


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