More than a decade removed from his time at EIU, Frankie Flood’s list of achievements as an artist and educator has grown to impressive lengths. Despite that professional success, Flood hasn’t lost sight of the university’s impact on his life.
“I feel like Eastern provided me with a very strong foundation in art, and the relationships I was able to form there with the various professors was probably the most valuable thing to me,” said Flood, a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who completed undergraduate and graduate degrees within EIU’s Department of Art.
“I think Eastern also provided me the opportunity to grow. From having a strong foundation to actually developing my work and figuring out what I needed to do to become a professional in the field of metalsmithing.”
Flood is an associate professor of jewelry/metalsmithing at UWM, serving as an area head at the Peck School of the Arts. After earning a bachelor’s degree in art education from EIU in 1998, he completed his master’s in metalsmithing in 2000 and moved on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
These academic degrees and an accomplished teaching career are merely the tip of the iceberg for Flood, however; his metalsmithing artwork has been displayed in national and international exhibitions, known for its utilization of “the industrial processes of machining, stamping, anodizing, and powder coating to create one-of-a-kind functional objects.”
These functional objects include large-scale works like hot rods and choppers, along with smaller works like pizza cutters, bracelets, bottle openers, and various other pieces. According to Flood’s personal website, his inspiration is an interest in machines and tools coupled with the influence of a working class upbringing.
Flood says a key to his success can be traced back to his time in Charleston.
“Something I’ve taken away from my education is that you never stop learning,” said Flood. “No matter what level you’re at, there’s always something new to be learned and to discover.
“That really started at Eastern, and I’m really grateful for it.”