CAMD Student Spotlight: Meet Ian

Victoria Alvarez

Ian MacPherson


Year: Second

Major: Architecture

Hometown: Morristown, NJ


An aspiring architect, Ian swears by his calendar and constantly finds ways to immerse himself in the Arts. His interest in celebrating artists from underrepresented backgrounds has influenced the journey to find his artistic voice –

“I want to be a part of that push to lift other artists up.”


How did you get started with art? 


“My first introduction to the arts was actually through music. I played piano and composed from a young age, and still do to this day.”


“When I’m starting a design or visual art project, I’ll typically get my inspiration from whatever new piece of music it is I hear… I’ll try to understand [it] and then abstract it as a spatial or visual reinterpretation.”


“In sixth grade, I was fortunate to be nominated for a pull-out enrichment program…One of my teachers submitted a poem I wrote to a contest and I ended up winning, so I decided to try to get my work out in the open.”


Current involvement in the Arts:


“I’m doing the illustrations for a children’s book my sister is writing. We want to tell the story of our mom’s immigration to the U.S. from Colombia… we feel it’s a message that people really need to be exposed to.”


What inspires you?


“I am inspired by nature, theoretical physics + astronomy, art, and contemporary issues. I also mine the stories passed down through generations of my family and my own life experiences…”


How do you balance school and art?


“My calendar is my friend! I schedule in my quality time with art by writing a poem every night and sketching whenever possible.”


“The nice thing about studying architecture is that sometimes you can make your schoolwork into an art project…I’m fortunate enough to have found a field of study where I can channel my creative side in really rewarding ways.”


What else are you involved in at UVA?


“I run a research project with my friend Gabriel Andrade downtown where we collaborate with incredible middle and high schoolers to use technology and design to combat feelings of placelessness in Charlottesville.”


  • Undergraduate Researcher, Architecture Robotics Research Group
  • Student Ambassador and Assistant Administrator, UVA Architecture School
  • Historian, National Organization of Minority Architecture Students – UVA Chapter
  • Editor, Scratch art zine
  • Social Chair, The Washington Literary Society & Debating Union


What advice would you give to other aspiring artists?


“Tap into the awesome arts community we have on Grounds, because there are people here doing awesome work who would love to talk about it or even collaborate! Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire, be it your peers, professors, or people in the community.


“Most of all, do what you were put on this earth to do— make art!”


Plans for the future:



Ian’s current plans include gaining work experience in architecture for a few years and then going to graduate school. 


“More long term, I want to publish an anthology, start a blog, score a full symphony, and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.”


Fun Fact:


“I collect old books. My favorite is a leather bound Italian academic paper from 1921!”



Want to learn more about Ian? Check out his portfolio page and find him on Instagram @ianmacfierce.