Featured Students

Featured Student: Ruochen Zhou


  • Name: Ruochen Zhou
  • Year: Graduating May of 2017
  • Major: Studio Art with an emphasis in Sculpture
  • Hometown: Zhe Jiang Province, China
  • Quirky Fact: I like to go fishing all day long.
  • Favorite thing to eat on campus: The double bacon cheeseburger in T-Room.
  • Best movie you’ve seen recently: The Mechanic II: Resurrection
  • Favorite movie: National Treasure
  • Best book you’ve read recently: Logo Design Love by David Airey
  • Favorite book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • What you like to do on campus: Go to the gym or work in the studio.


Q &A:

Tell us about yourself:

I came from China originally and have been here in the US for about 5 years now. I spend a lot of time on my art, especially working on my sculptures and collections. I would say that I am a fun and interesting sort of person. In my free time, I like to go to the gym, play golf, and go fishing. I am always of two mind sets when it comes to my art: I always have the traditional mind and a kind of crazy mind that comes up with all kinds of crazy ideas which combine themselves in my sculptures and other works, which usually seems to confuse people. I also play music—I can play the violin, the guitar, the drum, and the trumpet. I have studied the violin for 10 years, since 2000.

What made you come to Murray State?

It was actually a kind of personal reason. I struggled a bit when I was in China. I really liked to paint and draw, so I took different painting and drawing classes in high school. When I graduated high school, I decided that I wanted to try studying the western style of art and not just focusing on the traditional Chinese art. So, I came here to Murray State and decided that I wanted to put the western art and the traditional Chinese art together and make my own style. I have really learned a lot here and grown my own style of art.


Who have you enjoyed working with?

I have liked working with the people in my major, my professors, and other artists. I really like working with Chris Lavery, who is my main professor. I also like working with Dale Leys, who taught my drawing class. I worked with an artist before in China, which was a lot of fun. You would get an idea and it would be like you were in the middle of the ocean with that idea all day and that idea would turn into a hundred more just flowing out of your mind. You would just draw the sketches and pick out which one you would do that day and which one you wanted to do next. Pick which one you thought was best and looking at the market because as an artist you aren’t just doing art for the sake of art, but also to make money.

Who inspires you in life?

There is an artist in China whose work has helped me and made me feel that I have support in making my art and that I can do anything.

What made you choose the major you did?

When I came here, I had to take both 2D and 3D classes for foundation classes. When I first came here in 2011, I had chosen to do jewelry design and metalsmithing. But what I really connected with was my 2D and 3D course. I had already spent a lot of time on drawing and painting when I was in China, so I found myself more interested in making stuff like sculptures. Making sculptures turned out to be the best choice for what I wanted to do. I don’t want to make just tiny little things like jewelry; I want to make huge works of art.

Work related to your major:

I had a few things up in the Eagle Gallery which I just took down. But, I always have a few pieces around, showing at the university.

Planned future projects:

There is an assignment coming up soon that I am looking forward to. It is a glass-topped box sculpture; we have to design what we want to put inside, like what we have to do in the gallery.

But, what I plan to do myself is a huge public sculpture, just one piece, and I already have a small model ready. I would like to make it and put it as a statue to leave at MSU forever. It would be a metal sheet that I would weld together, and it should be over eight feet tall when it is done.

Future plans:

After graduation from Murray State, I plan to attend graduate school, and I have already applied for some. I would like to go to VCU in Virginia because that university is one of the top schools for majoring in sculpture in the USA. I would really like to work in America after graduate school because I have really liked my experience here so far.


“Ruochen is a very intelligent and energetic artist with a personality full of kindness.” 

-Dale Leys


“Rouchen has been a great pleasure to work with at Murray.  His dedication to his study of art is one of the highest among all students I have worked with over the past 15 years.  He is motivated, thoughtful and willing to learn anything that comes his way.  I believe his curiosity and tenacious work ethic will be the outspoken traits that will lead him to success.”
-Chris Lavery

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