Meet Shahla. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park double majoring in Studio Art (with a specialization in printmaking) and Art History. At UMD she learned to become proficient in such diverse printmaking techniques as woodcut, copper plate etching, and screen printing. For the past year, she has been represented by the Washington Printmakers Gallery, and was the recipient of their 2010 Excellence in Printmaking Award. Currently she has prints for sale at the Brentwood Arts Exchange, as well as on her Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/DCprintmaker?ref=si_shop. Her work primarily deals with exploring her mixed heritage (Irish-American on her mother’s side and Azeri-Iranian on her father’s side) and expressing that complex synthesis/confrontation of cultural influences visually. After graduating from college, she attended an Art History/Decorative Arts/Material Culture graduate program in NYC for one semester. She ended up discovering that her true calling lay beyond the classroom walls — in the *applied* arts and design, and the vast, complex commercial network that supports it. There is nothing quite like the retail environment that is New York City. The creativity is contagious. After her semester there, she moved back to DC and has begun (or, rather, continued) working in specialty retail and taking sewing classes from the Bits of Thread studio in Adams Morgan. She has no idea what she’ll be doing five years from now. All she knows is that at the moment, she’s very happy to be doing what she’s doing, and very excited to be exploring something that’s related to the fine arts but also very very different from it.