Alum Sonya Revell Returns to Webster for latest Kooyumjian exhibit


On Sept. 8, Webster University’s Kooyumjian Gallery welcomed former student Sonya Revell for an artist talk on the gallery’s latest exhibit, “Sonya Revell: Revelry + Reverie”

Photo by Emme Goelz.

Located in Sverdrup’s newly renovated west wing, the Kooyumjian gallery showcases the work of current and former students, as well as photographers handpicked by Gallery Director Kristina Richards.

The gallery’s latest exhibit highlights the vibrant works of Sonya Revell. The photographer is originally from Louisville, Kentucky. She arrived at Webster University in 1998.

Photo by Emme Goelz.

Living in Kentucky, Revell said she felt sheltered and unable to experience all that life had to offer, leading her to a career in photography. After moving to Webster Groves, Revell felt her eyes had been opened after experiencing a whole new culture. She decided to pursue journalism as her major at the beginning of university, later switching to photography after learning of new opportunities. She shared some of her biggest artistic influences came from pop culture moments, drag queens, Tim Burton and flamboyancy. 

Since graduating, Revell has had work featured in Forbes, American Airlines, the Wall Street Journal and more. The signature style seen in Revell’s freelance work shows through into her commercial work. Revell tends to incorporate bright colors, architecture and serenity in all she creates. 

As with many other artists, Revell’s career took a standstill in the year of 2020. She described feeling burnt out during the pandemic and not being able to get up close with her models during photoshoots proved difficult, Revell said. 

Revell found enjoyment and refreshment in taking walks and taking in the world around her, allowing her to feel present and grounded. Currently residing in Miami, Florida, Revell takes in the colors, architecture and tropics of the city around her, providing inspiration for her current work. 

“If I am broke, the beach is free!” She said.

Despite her impressive portfolio, Revell said that she feels every time she makes an accomplishment, her goalpost gets moved up one more spot. She is still searching for that “made it” feeling. 

Revell finished off with advice for students trying to work a similar path.

“Take it one step at a time,” she said.

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Emme Goelz
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