Westridge Welcomes Mick Lorusso

Mick Lorusso, STEAMWork Design Studio Assistant

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Mick Lorusso

Approach education with more imagination and creativity and push the limits””

— Mick Lorusso

When I first chatted with Mick Lorusso, Westridge’s new STEAMWork Design Studio Assistant, he enthusiastically showcased his design for Making with Mick, his after school program designed for Westridge’s lower and middle school students. 

Housed in a box, Lorruso’s design features a pine cone with googly eyes, a 3D printed leg stand, a mountain background, and a tiny arm that measures the humidity level of the environment. The simple yet creative project extends far beyond the realm of art, incorporating science and design, and more importantly, captures Lorrusso’s interdisciplinary approach as a creative artist and teacher.

Making With Mick Pinecone Project
(Mick L.)

Lorusso is an artist who integrates visual arts, the sciences, and philosophyspecifically focusing on the study of microbiology, societies, and the environment. “I am creative and I love learning and teaching,” said Lorusso.

Through his integrative artwork, Lorusso confronts issues at the intersection of human society and the environment. Lorusso’s most outstanding and unique design was a project about alternative energy. Household waste was the main inspiration of this project. He discovered a bacteria that produced electricity when breaking down food scraps. Using this idea of producing energy with bacteria, Lorusso incorporated it into his artworks.

His favorite pieceMicrobial Schöppingenis a small village model containing bacteria to produce electricity and illuminate the town. The beautiful sculpture integrates science, art, technology and design. 

Lorusso started his teaching career in 2010. He has taught at UCLA’s Sci|Art Nanolab Summer Institute for the past seven years, mentoring and encouraging students to examine art from different perspectives. He has also worked with XOCIARTEK in Mexico City. The group also does projects that integrate society, art, technology, and ecology. He teaches at the Boys and Girls Club and also volunteers at The Center Hollywood as an art and yoga instructor for the homeless.

Mick Lorusso teaching lower and middle school students in a Making with Mick session. (Mick L.)

He wishes to inspire his students to have fun and to consider their relationships to society and ecology. “We are living in a time where it is pretty obvious that if we don’t pay attention to those relationships, things are going to continue to get out of control,” said Lorusso. He aims to create projects that are aesthetically pleasing and also creates a sense of wonder, with big ideas behind it. He also looks forward to talking to people about environmental initiatives and sustainability and Lorusso encourages students at Westridge to get more involved with design by reaching out or by integrating different disciplines and incorporating our five senses in our daily lives.