Around the Grid

"I don’t want viewers just to remember all the beautiful pictures I made. As an artist, I want to communicate ideas."

Here represents my artistic journey, all photographed by me, Karissa Jobman - an SMU advertising grad living in Dallas, Texas.

any inquiries?
email me at

Collegiate National Triathlon Championship

Every year, USATriathlon hosts a national stage for college athletes to face the elements and compete for the glory of a national title - or more likely - a personal record. This weekend in Tempe, Arizona hosted over 1,000 students from undergraduate and graduate degree programs nationally taking on the challenge.

The day consisted of three different races subdivided into men’s and women’s triathlon competitions: Sprint, Olympic, and Mixed Team relay. However, not all competitions are created equal. As commented by competitors across the nation, the Olympic race (1,500m swim, 36k bike, 10k run) is really the Holy Grail of the weekend - it’s what you save your energy for, what the spectators gush over, and where the winning glory is remembered.


Over my first cup of coffee in my life, I met Roosevelt - my favorite link to the city. Escaping the morning drizzle, I was greeted by powerful aromas and a the chatter of sociable older man, newspaper in hand, ready to discuss the daily politics with the baristas. He stuck out as the only black man in the predominately white neighborhood, but that didn’t stop him from making friends with anyone and everyone in the shop. 

Roosevelt moved from small town Pennsylvania ten years ago, charting from California to Seattle to land a gig as a baker at one of Seattle’s organic, vegan sweeteries. He fell in love with the city for what he loved to hate: it’s dreary days, overly health conscious population, and lack of parking everywhere. 

I was in a position to find friends, so I knew I needed to meet him. Casually sitting next to him at a big round table in the front of Caffe Fiore, I invited him into conversation and carefully listened to his stories.

Throughout the course of an hour, I traveled through his relationships with his coworkers, the death of his best friend, his shared affinity for documentaries, views on medicinal marijuana, and dream to travel to Australia. 

And just like that, call him a split second stranger and a life long friend, I finished my cup and we parted ways, promising I’d email him for a second cup of coffee next time I was in the city.

SOS Venezuela

When I first saw a student-made video of the military’s violent reaction to protests in Venezuela, I questioned its validity that exposed the realities of the country’s limited freedom of speech. But as I partook in deeper exploration on the matter, I found that indeed protestors were being shot, and a corrupt government was asserting aggressive power to instill fear to quiet the nation. 

I was confused by how a whole country could seemingly be in uproar, when here in the United States we are silent about these human rights violations happening just south of us. If we are a country who prides itself on its liberties of our voices, why don’t we speak out when injustices ensue. Instead, I often fall witness of viral Justin Beiber deportation posts instead of engaged conversations about the scandal of two dozen teachers facing unfair deportations in Dallas’ neighboring school district. 

While Venezuela is suffering widespread government censorship from media and social networks alike, I question the longevity of America’s Freedom of Speech for a different reason. I worry our idleness and complacency about international affairs, systematic oppressions, and global injustice will result in widespread self-censorship. Our lack of interest may be our greatest blackout, silencing marginalized humans - which terrifies me more than the threat of a fallen democracy. 


I took these photos this weekend at a protest outside the White House in DC that asked President Obama, “the leader of the free world”, to take action for Venezuela. The voice of these people stands strong, but the interest in these people as more than a spectacle was minimal. 

I commend them for using their voice to fight suffering. And I encourage others to continue to seek and speak truth.


19th street was a hidden gem in the Houston area, now the most diverse region in the United States. My previous experiences in America’s fourth largest city did not illustrate this diversity, so I was surprised to learn that less than 40% of the Houston Metro is Anglo-American, with impressive multicultural suburbs of Latinos, African-Americas, and Asians. 

This transformation has rapidly taken place over the last 20 years when Houston began to emerge as a national economic leader and an immigration hub for those looking to define themselves in a growing city. Now the city stands as a forward example of a movement in desegregation and liberal acceptance of its openly gay mayor, with no dominant majority.

So while the 70’s style 19th street sporting a vintage barber shop, a scrap metal antique yard, and local eateries may feel a little back in time, Houston is arguably one of the most forward cities in the Great American Melting Pot in terms immigration and diversity. 

Kira Gale

My grandmother is the first example of an entrepreneurial woman I’ve had in my life. When I met her she was a historian, writing about local history. But throughout my last twenty years, she’s written several books on the expeditions of Lewis and Clark, become an independent publisher, and is now considered the leading proponent on the theory that Meriwether Lewis was the victim of a political assassination. (I remember how cool it was to watch her on the History Channel with my roommates in my college dorm room.)

But most of all, she’s an innovator. At the age of 70, she is working to break into the mobile app and ebook business - technology even 20-year-olds are afraid to touch. And I tell everyone she’s the coolest because she’s taught me the importance of collaboration to make projects successful, acting on ideas, being unconventional, and refusing to sit still. 

She’s changing history, or at least how we learn and perceive it. 

Life in a Sponge
Arguably the rarest innovation in residential living on MIT’s campus comes with 5,538 pores, or windows, and serves as an architectural destination engineers, students and SpongeBob fanatics alike.
Steven Holl first set out to design the student dorm in 1999, envisioning a sponge concept that would make waves on creativity, efficiency, and functionality. As for the 350 students dwell in the sea organism, Simmons Hall may be characterized by peripheral distance, heavy furniture, bad cell reception, and amenities that make life in the middle of Boston a world of its own.

Pixelized Nature

Blue faces cover the modern world as humans from coast to coast bury themselves in a screen-addicted age. This new phenomena sweeping the developed world on one hand takes us out of nature, relocating our work and free time to to sedentary locations in technological consumption, but on the other hand allows us to experience nature in a new way.

I came across the reality of this recently while chatting with a friend (of course while we shared a computer screen to virtually explore the world beyond the coffee shop doors). He asked me if I had ever been to NYU’s campus in the city. Now I had been to New York once before, so glimmered possibility, but I had also walked the streets of New York City many times from behind the pixeled perspective of Google Earth. I honestly could not say with confidence if I had experienced the campus first hand or if I was so saturated by easily accessible images that I could fool myself.

There exposes the blurring of lines between virtual and reality, natural and synthesized. We continue to dig into out screens in a longing for the physical world. Our backgrounds are of mountains, our wallpapers of flowers seeking a connection to nature, but addicted to the blue light that wakes up our brain virtual reality is becoming the new reality of the present.

Lost Commodity

Inspired by Salvador Dali’s surrealist paintings and a post-apocalyptic theme in modern art, Hidden Quarry explores the view of the natural world from the sky when humanity abandons manmade materials to rot. Our proclivity to create machinery and build up a world as Gods is halted as nature encroaches and reclaims territory. Metal rusts as trees sprout, going to show that the riches and commodity we build up on this Earth for today, will not last for tomorrow. The eerie aura of world desertion calls us to shift our hearts and focus on Earth to an eternal presence when reunited with the Creator. 


The first time I moved off campus, left to provide and prepare food for myself without parents or a meal plan was my summer in Washington, D.C. I went to the grocery store the night I arrived to stock my apartment fridge for the first time in my life, but came home with a measly single sack of carrots, pita, and chicken that I could maybe survive off of for two days. 

I began to ask: how do college students adapt to this foreign lifestyle? 

By opening the fridge door, Chill exposing the food hoarders, the minimalists, the house party hosts, and the nutrition conscious in an intimate way. With a lack of guidance, meal preparation training, culinary tools, time, and a self-sustaining income, college students quickly latch onto a wide range of diets. 

Chill explores these routines and decision processes of college students as it relates to diets, spending habits, and collateral collections that cultivate the very behaviors that are carried into adulthood.

His Name is Jack
Over the last semester, Jack has become a key element of my photographic and artistic growth. Although having less technical photo experience than me, he has an eye for context and content which pushes me beyond “the beautiful photo”.A part of the Fountain Chemicals project.

Fountain Chemicals

A photographic representation of the chemicals used to treat fountains. Using a damage film technique, I shot underwater exposures of fountain water, then soaked the film in the liquid overnight. 


Undefining Photography

With the ever increasing capabilities of technology, particularly in the photographic realm, we begin to question where the concept of the photograph begins and ends. In this series I explore how our photo manipulation capabilities coincide with the creation of digital art itself. When similar aesthetics can be created both in camera with post production and in pixels, merely distorting colors, we, at times, become unable to differentiate between the two. 

Color of nature

When our feet crunch the earth, and our eyes fall we dig up the essence of our birth.

Color of Nature