The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

A glimpse into the life of UI student artist William Hohe

Damini Rana
William Hohe, a junior in Media, at their solo art exhibition “William’s Summer of Rest & Relaxation” in the Illini Union’s Art Gallery, 2023.

Every 21 days, William Hohe, junior in Media, sits down and plans their outfits for each day of the following three weeks. Utilizing their expansive wardrobe and accessories, they wake up every morning with a carefully curated outfit.

Hohe is known for their founding of the Circular Fashion Expo and various other artistic endeavors in the Champaign-Urbana area.

Having been raised Catholic, Hohe explores intersections between religious upbringing and queer identity as a central theme in their art.

“I feel I’ve always wanted to be an artist, and I knew from a really early age that’s what I wanted,” Hohe said. “My love of art came from that curiosity met with the friction of the unserious perspective of what it takes to be an artist.”

Hohe grew up in a family where every moment was photographed and recorded in photo albums, exposing them to photography at a young age.

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“That was a very archival process, and that inspired my love of photography,” Hohe said. “The idea of the perception itself changing based on who’s taking it and how you want it to be taken is what got my start with photography.”

Hohe looks to Keith Haring, an artist whose pop art emerged in the graffiti subculture in New York City during the 1980s, as one of their biggest artistic inspirations, with multiple tattoos of his artwork on their body.

“His way of looking at art was so unconditionally inclusive,” Hohe said. “He was making art for himself, but at the same time, he didn’t really care how it was received, and I love that.”

Since arriving at the University, Hohe has been a pivotal part of The Fashion Network (TFN), an RSO dedicated to “fostering creative collaboration between individuals and groups interested in fashion on campus and in the community,” according to TFN’s LinkedIn.

After joining TFN during their freshman year, Hohe worked with some students to found the Circular Fashion Expo (CFE), the University’s largest fashion exhibition. CFE debuted at the Siebel Center for Design in Spring 2022.

“We wanted to make this event that celebrated sustainability action, which is circularity — keeping that elongated lifespan of garments and fashion alive,” Hohe said. 

TFN has since put on five CFEs, with the most recent one on April 27. Hohe stepped down after four semesters as lead organizer, taking a backseat to operations and assuming the role of art and design director.

“I’m just excited to see this spin people bring to it because I’m at a distance,” Hohe said. “I’d be their adviser and have their questions answered, but I’m excited to see the new creativity that comes.”

Hohe hopes to spread CFE beyond the University, and they plan on staying involved after they graduate.

Looking forward, Hohe will spend this summer on the road, driving across the country with money from a grant they received in the fall.

“I’m just trying to follow what I like right now and see where that leads me,” Hohe said. “I hope to end up with some kind of photo book. I want to hold something in my hands and be able to say, ‘I made this.’”

Hohe has started applying to MFA programs, and they will have various exhibitions around campus in the fall. Beyond a career in the curation of art, they envision becoming a teacher.

“I never thought of myself as a teacher until really recently,” Hohe said. “I would love to do some education for art or influence some type of younger audience. Providing that to someone would be awesome.”

With a wide range of interests, Hohe believes in the importance of being a multi-hyphenate person, especially as an artist today.

“Looking at the media of art, each media really speaks to each other,” Hohe said. “I think of myself more as a photographic thinker than a photographer because I use so many other forms of art to curate.”

Being an artist encompasses every aspect of Hohe’s life, and they have made a lasting mark on the University. With just one more year left before graduating, Hohe looks forward to continuing to create art with a core sense of authenticity.

“I have this dire, relentless need to keep creating and producing in a way that leaves an impact,” Hohe said. “I hope that leaves an impression on people.”


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About the Contributor
Sam Gregerman
Sam Gregerman, Senior Feature Reporter
Hi! My name is Sam, and I’m a sophomore majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. I was hired as a features writer in Fall 2023 after transferring to Illinois, and I began writing for buzz at the beginning of Spring 2024. I’m very excited to step into the role of Senior Feature Reporter and continue my contributions to The Daily Illini! If I’m not in the office, I’m probably next door at the Pi Phi house where I live, reading or watching reality TV. If you have any Champaign-Urbana events or topics you’d like covered, please send me an email using the button below! It is my goal to amplify community voices to the best of my ability.
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