Trisha Johansen: "Swampy" the Swamphorse


Trisha Johansen '09 (Digital Arts and Sculpture) will always be remembered at SOU. Not because of her Schneider Museum Merit Award, Dankook Outstanding Undergraduate Award, or 3.99 GPA. Or because she served as the first chair French horn player in the SOU Symphonic Band. Or even because her short animated film, Deep-song, won a regional student award at the 2009 Ashland Independent Film Festival.

No, Trisha will forever be known as the brilliant creator of Swamphorse, the 500-pound, 7'1" x 10' x 3' mythical creature affectionately known as "Swampy."

Trisha combined her passion for both art and biology to create a life-sized sculpture of an imaginary animal. She drew blueprints and modeled the musculoskeletal system, even accounting for physiological adaptation.

"I did research on real animals. I drew a lot of bones. I love studying zoology and internal structures of animals," Trisha explains. "It was like working on a real animal. I could feel the presence of it." The SOU community will continue to feel the presence of its beloved Swampy, whose permanent habitat is now the second floor of Hannon Library.



Trisha Johansen sits atop Swampy the Swamphorse