Students on campus can be seen sporting pins on their jackets and backpacks with professor Chester Lee and his infamous catchphrase, “If I may,” or ones that read “Don’t kiss fascists,” a quote from professor Ralph Trost. Both pins are references to professors at the Kasteel Well campus.
Junior Liza Rogulina decided to commemorate her memories from her semester abroad at Kasteel Well last spring by making buttons. The visual and media arts major created a set of six buttons centered around her experiences in Europe.
Rogulina created an Instagram account, @lizar_buttons, and sells each button for $2, three for $5, or the whole Kasteel Well pack for $9. The account has 118 followers and features buttons with quirky sayings and Emerson references. To purchase buttons, buyers can direct message Rogulina on the account.
“I don’t know the number of how many I’ve sold, but I’ve sold over $100 worth,” Rogulina said.
Rogulina said the inspiration to make buttons came from watching visual artists on YouTube, such as Baylee Jae. She said she designs each button on Photoshop, prints the image, then uses her button maker to cover the image with plastic and attach the metal backing. Rogulina said the buttons take less than a minute to make.
Rogulina said she started creating buttons when she couldn’t find the types of designs she was looking for already made.
“I had a lot of really specific kinds of designs I was looking for but nobody had, so I thought ‘I’ll just make it on my own,’” she said.
Due to the popularity of the Kasteel Well pins, Rogulina created more designs to advertise on her Instagram account. Some are based on Emerson, such as one with a picture of President M. Lee Pelton and the phrase, “This man ate my tuition.”
“I didn’t make the design for the Lee Pelton pin, but I did ask the person who did make if I could use it,” Rogulina said.
Rogulina said she started designing other buttons at the request of junior Emilie Krone. Krone said she and her friends, who also studied at Kasteel Well in fall 2017, loved Rogulina’s first set of buttons and wanted Rogulina to create more.
“I saw [the Pelton meme] on the Facebook page and it was already circular, so I was like ‘Oh my god, this is perfect,’” Krone said. “She had just gotten her button press so I sent her a picture and said, ‘Liza you have to make this—people would totally buy it.’”
Junior Jonah Puskar, who created the meme of Pelton featured on the pin, posted it to the Facebook group Emerson Shitposting. The post garnered over 190 likes. Unbeknownst to Puskar, Rogulina printed his design on a pin to sell.
“People told me to make stickers of it, but I thought ‘Oh, it’s not that good,’” Puskar said. “Then I went to my girlfriend’s apartment one day and she said ‘I have a surprise for you.’ She pulled something out of her bag and it was this pin, and I said ‘Did someone actually make a pin of my stupid meme?’”
Other pins for sale feature short epigrams such as “Can you not?” and “Not today satan.”
Many buttons display Rogulina’s original artwork. Aside from creating and selling buttons, Rogulina posts her artwork on a separate Instagram account with over 700 followers. Her art mostly features people, and she sells some designs on Redbubble.
“In general, I pretty much draw girls because it’s what I do for fun,” she said. “I’ve always liked drawing people, more specifically girls. I’ve done a bit of graphic design too.”
Rogulina said she is considering opening an Etsy shop or bringing her buttons to art conventions after graduation.
“I’m just doing this for fun, and I’m excited people like them,” she said.