Days go by, rain comes and goes; buildings are built, occupied, and abandoned. Walls that were once so vibrant with life are eventually silenced. Generations upon generations witness the same subject with different eyes, perspective, and time. Minds are stimulated with excitement through the curiosity of our senses. Restorilazation and revitalization are a necessity to honor the enchantment that has once taken place. Constructing an infinite memory out of what was once a fleeting location is the goal to be achieved throughout the artwork.
As a community we cannot let the walls be silenced or forgotten. The sounds heard, textures witnessed, and the industrial infrastructure itself that once held such importance must be esteemed. The buildings and structures alone in them self is of art, the linear patterns, the geometric depth, the shape, and forms standing alone are mostly overlooked. Bringing these sites into the contemporary context with digital photography lets the unoccupied location have a new life, in a new era.
Personal influence was cultivated within a small blue-collar county, of Carmi, Illinois. A town full of momentary dreams. The remote town forced creativity and appreciation to be pushed beyond the stereotypical. One child might find peace, beauty, and comfort in the subway, or surfing in the ocean; however, for me, it was found in my own back yard. Watching my father work in his collapsing metal shop with his worn-out equipment. Waking up to the sound of a diesel engine running, a chain rustling, or an air pump accelerating might displease a stranger but to me, it is a lullaby and alarm clock. To me it is what I call home.
Curiosity is an innate human drive that is often lost in childhood, but easy to find if one looks. I find a strange beauty in examining the broken wings of a dying butterfly. Within my work I hone in on these beautiful moments, and have found textiles to be the most diverse medium to show what I see. Within textiles, I’m able to emphasize the glimmer with glitter and the soft textures with felt and silks. When taking a road trip in Kentucky, we often pass by hills that’ve been blown to pieces, exposing the layers of rocks and opening opportunities for new growth within them. This growth is glamorized, but the slow decay of those rock forms and the fossils within is often ignored. Mistletoe feeds off of a tree like a parasite, yet these blemishes and natural diseases are admired. While negative at first glance, it consistently reveals hidden value and beauty upon closer examination.
This process of transformation within the natural world inspires me to create work. I use imagery like bugs and fungi to show they are as beautiful as they are necessary. By using a textile medium when using this imagery, I create a relationship between decay. It’s important that textiles degrade the same way. The transformation from growth to decay is part of a beautiful bigger cycle.
This balance of growth and decay and how nature creates an environment that causes people to closely examine their surroundings. I spark the viewer's interest by using vibrant colors and eye-catching material to depict macabre imagery. Disease and parasites are heavily associated with my consistent theme of growth and decay, as it is a growth that causes decay– like many other diseases. All too often, people tend to go about their days on autopilot ignoring much of the world around them. My goal is to encapsulate the viewer in an environment and push them to comprehend new subjects and perspectives by bringing attention to the world around them.
Stay curious and observe the beauty of our world that has always been there.
We all want a place to call home where we get to put our roots down. For some, this place is the state they were born in, and for others, it is a place they stumble upon along the journey of life. Some of us are lucky enough to live in such unbelievably special places, however, we don’t always seem to notice or appreciate this. The seemingly endless nature of our bustling society seems too often keep our focus shifted away from the natural beauty around us. This thought prompted me to begin this series of paintings and prints that highlight not only everything I love about my home state of Kentucky, but also all that it has to offer, from land to resources. Roots to Ridges stands for many things; from the roots we put down, to the roots of the agriculture that provides for us all, to the ridges that our livestock roam, to the ridges we explore. To bring this to life, I first focused on my hometown. These works explore multiple facets of the Kentucky landscape, from the rolling hills of horse country to the lush forests, rivers, and small towns that shape The Bluegrass State’s identity. This visual story creates a balance between our breathtaking geography to the agriculture that provides so much for us. My mission behind doing this is that I hope it brings the viewers to appreciate all of our untouched natural beauty. Our society's constant need to expand is consuming not only miles of land, it is consuming wildlife, habitats, and scenery that can’t be replaced. Through the appreciation I hope to spark, I also hope it sparks the conversation of conservation. Conserving what we have is important for so many reasons; the most obvious reasons are to protect wildlife and to promote biodiversity but also so that we can preserve what we have so future generations can enjoy it as a reality and not a distant memory.
In these works, I address many components of the Kentucky agriculture system from the industry overall to livestock and crops. My lithographs take a scientific visual approach. The choice to complete these works monochromatically in black and white allows the viewer to get lost in the realistic detail used. Through my careful attention to rendering, I work to capture the essence of what is and what once was and to intimately appreciate all that our agricultural system provides for us. In contrast, my screen-prints and paintings incorporate a more colorful and playful approach. Vast and bold color bring life and energy to my oil paintings. I use these heightened color palettes to convey my feelings of love and gratitude for the landscape’s generosity and never-ending beauty.
I take inspiration from printmaker Stephanie Berrie’s ability to render subject matter with attention to detail and for her compositions. Ioana Villatoro also inspires me with her acrylic paintings of the natural world that she enlivens with intuitive, expressive decisions about color and mark making. Highlighting all that Kentucky’s environment provides is important for those that live here because in a world that is so fast paced, we could all use a reminder to slow down and take a look around, Hopefully, Roots to Ridges inspires us all to take pride in the wild spaces our Southeastern state of Kentucky.
We live lives that revolve around consumption and buying more than we need. Past fashion preys upon our laziness and encourages our rather prodigal spending. Why repair something when you can just buy a new one? We have become disconnected from how the clothes we wear are made and distanced from the people who make them. Fast fashion companies are more concerned with profit than creating durable products, paying their workers a living wage, or protecting the environment.
I want to contrast current fast fashion trends with older and more thoughtful practices, some of which are coming back. A century ago, people took great care in creating garments that would last a very long time. They also went to the almost insignificant (to them) trouble of mending their clothes, rather than throw them away as is common practice now. Visible mending, a new wrinkle on an age old practice, makes a statement through extending the life of a garment while also making that garment desirably unique.
Wearing used and thrifted clothes can be a way to make a difference and an easy habit to acquire. I myself wear secondhand and vintage clothing on a daily basis. In my experience, the vintage clothing community is a safe and supportive place for people of all ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, allowing them to merge aesthetic appriciations of the past with contemporary activism. This is exemplified by the popular motto and hashtag: "vintage style not vintage values,"
My work is spread over multiple media: painting, printmaking, and ceramics. The square format throughout much of my work alludes to social media interfaces influence our self fashionings. The juxtaposition of historic and contemporary ways of "consuming fashions" should invite the viewer to reflect upon their own practices to fashion a sustainable self.
When I was 7 I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which is a debilitating neuropsychiatric disorder that affects men, women, and children. But, most people often use it as an adjective to describe when a person is organized or a perfectionist. My designs attempt to inform and demonstrate to viewers who do not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder what it is like to have OCD. Through package, product, and layout design, I have created boxes and informational materials that not only raise awareness about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but also demonstrate the repetition and overwhelming, chaotic nature that is associated with living with OCD into tangible experiences for viewers.
The work in my show begins with a moire pattern that illustrates the brain scans of a person with OCD and a neurotypical person, and the subtype of OCD that is typographically illustrated using a decoder design on the interior of the box. Inside of the larger box I designed interlocking compulsion boxes whose exterior matches the chaotic, overwhelming decoder design of the larger box they are in. These boxes are meant to demonstrate the repetition of obsessions and compulsions. Also inside of the boxes are various informational materials including, decoder filters, stickers, a brochure, and an informational booklet. The materials on the inside of the box are meant to be a way for viewers who don’t have diagnosed OCD to begin learning about what OCD actually is while also dismissing the trivialization that is often associated within the disorder. Because OCD is a diagnosed medical disorder I relied on factual information from the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, which is a foundation that is chaired by medical professionals who have researched and/or treated OCD.
Stylistically, my work consists of minimal illustrations and typography. Throughout my designs I only use 5 colors and black and white. I chose these 5 colors for my work because they are bright and overwhelming while still having the ability to overlap and contrast to make the layered typography designs. The 5 colors I use in my works help me to complete intriguing and educational layered compositions. While choosing these colors I was inspired by Massimo Vignelli’s Knoll designs in which he uses bright, saturated colors, bold sans serif fonts, and typographic overlay. For the overall typographic designs I chose Futura, a bold sans serif font, to make the designs seem overwhelming to the viewer while still being readable. Paula Scher’s use of typography as an illustrative element, especially her work with typographic overlay and her “How are you?” posters inspired the layout designs of my informational materials and posters. Overall, while designing the pieces in my show I drew a lot of my inspiration from minimalist designs often seen in modernist typography design.
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Sonder- the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. -John Koenig, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.
I find comfort in realizing everyone’s lives are as terrible and fascinating as my own. Dealing with stigma about mania and depression has affected me throughout my interpersonal relationships- I have felt and often still feel isolated. I’ve learned a lot about myself through my research in clinical psychology and by creating art about my bipolar disorder. I’ve set myself the goal to make other mentally ill people feel less misunderstood and isolated.
In my prints I display identity, depression, and pressure through anthropomorphized figures. But, the figure never has a human head. It is replaced with an item that aids in telling the story of the individual’s mental state and complex emotions. I use unrestrained lines similar to blind contour and portray the figures in varying sizes- often large- to take up space with the viewer. My surrealist style is inspired by Mark Ryden and Kathryn Polk, using imaginative freedom to explain the figure’s story. They are alone, unobstructed by an environment except for objects they are engaging with and key momentos around them that form an idiographic synopsis of their state of being. Their isolation creates an invitation for the viewer to join in and take up space in the piece, providing the figures company.
Whether studying psychology or dealing daily with my own mental health, this body of work visually portrays mental health fluctuation in hope to create oneness and solidarity. I present an opportunity for viewers to evaluate mental illness and its impact on our fascinating, detailed, terrible, and happy lives. I encourage you to sonder and realize how simultaneously unique and analogous a stranger truly is.
From an early age, I was exposed to the detrimental effects cancer can have on individuals as well as their families. One after another, I experienced the passing of family and friends. The heartbreak that I endured during these times inspired me to push for more advocacy and change in the cancer world. Through my design work, I am exploring the human connection, how humans interact with each other, and how art and design can influence the way we see challenging situations. This connection is explored in my senior BFA show, driven by my passion for fundraising and advocacy in the nonprofit industry that I've continuously pursued.
The Advocate project is an awareness campaign that combines my graphic design education and skills with my passion for advocacy and awareness for cancer research. Through design, I educate viewers about Advocate - a campaign that focuses on the discrepancies in stage 4 breast cancer treatment and funding. Breast Cancer has the highest percentage of received funding over all other cancer types, yet only 2-5% of this funding is allotted to stage 4 research. Stage 4, or metastatic breast cancer, is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is incurable and deadly.
Advocate reaches multiple constituents. The patient, caregiver, and fundraiser all have a role in making up what Advocate promotes. These three channels work together through awareness, support, and assistance. Advocate is made up of elements of branding and poster design, advertising, digital marketing and research. It combines shades of blue and green; representing knowledge and growth. The focal point of my show is four posters, which give a glance of the reality of metastatic breast cancer. In these posters, statistics of the disease are spread across the majority of the page, which are highlighted around the broad range of patients it affects. The posters aren't meant to give the viewer the full answer, but to want to learn more about the subject - as advanced cancers can be complex and easily overlooked.
Much of the inspiration of my work stems from both Corita Kent and Massimo Vignelli. Through both Kent and Vignelli’s use of active designs with color, lettering, leading lines, and more - I was inspired to create digital and moving graphics for Advocate. Each highlight the work Advocate brings to the table, and the people that help support them.
The Advocate project aims to educate the viewer about the complexities surrounding terminal cancer diagnoses. To help those better understand the discrepancies in awareness and research of those going through a journey much overlooked. To encourage advocacy for not only their own health, but others. And to know that with great courage and perseverance, there is always hope for the future. I hope by viewing my show, you too are impacted by connections made through interactions with one another, and inspired to make a difference in your own community.
My work focuses on themes of identity and personal history, the things that make us who we are. Whether that is what kind of
childhood we had, the trauma we have endured over the years, the thoughts about ourselves that we believe to be true, or just simply the environment we grew up in. I’m interested in the psychology of metacognition and how we can become so analytical and aware of our own thoughts or the thoughts others have of us. This internal investigation of why myself and others are so critical of ourselves has been one of the driving forces in my work.
Using food and human anatomy in unexpected ways, I question the causes and outcomes of unhealthy perceptions of our bodies. I cover heavy subjects like eating disorders and the detriment they do to your mental health and your way of thinking. Such as, the idea of craving to be able to see your own bones, or the unhealthy thought expressed by an acquaintance, imagining how skinny they could be if their intestines were removed from their body. I believe clay as my medium helps me bring these ideas to fruition by the malleability of the material and how it is both visceral and fragile.
These concepts in my work have been very personal to me, which has made the creation of these sculptures more of a healing process for myself. Digging into my own eating disorder as part of the inspiration for my work was something I never thought I would do, but now realize it was necessary for my artwork. I hope the viewer can gain a greater understanding and perspective of what it’s like to experience these disorders and not be hesitant to discuss them as well.
Throughout my childhood, my parents often took me out into nature to go hiking, camping, and just explore. Now when I am in nature, I am reminded of my childhood and reflect on the memories of safety and comfort that I experienced, but through the lens of the person that I am today. As I have learned about and engaged with people in my community, I realized that their experiences and views of being outdoors and in the environments that I grew up feeling comfortable in are much different than mine. These different experiences are based on factors such as family or community, external factors, social location, and their personal experiences.
My work is a way for me to reflect on and convey my own experiences as a child as opposed to how I feel today, and also to be an advocate for others who feel unsafe in outdoor environments. I reflect on the complex relationship between people and their surrounding environment in two different media - painting and graphic design. In my paintings, I explore my personal and experiential relationship with the natural environment, as well as how my relationships with family have affected my experiences. I think about what it means to be a woman in nature alone, and how I can sense that with the comfort I feel, there are also feelings of uncertainty and a lurking danger. Through graphic design, I create influential advertising campaigns and posters about inclusion and safety, and visual identities and branding that present a welcoming and inclusive environment.
To show the tension between the comfort I feel in nature in relation to danger that exists, I place myself in paintings as a child and as an adult in situations where the feeling of lurking danger is present, or where the figures are vulnerable in some way. The images that I paint feel precarious and unsettling, but comforting at the same time as I often appear happy in nature with my family. The figures in my paintings interact with recurring symbols and elements such as fog, water, or roots. I use elevated, dark colors and gestural mark making to show opposition and emphasize an unsettling mood. A few of my contemporary painting influences include Shannon Cartier Lucy and Teresa Dunn. Shannon Lucy paints unsettling or uncomfortable scenes that can also be intimate or inviting, as a lot of these scenes are in familiar, everyday spaces, and this is a balance that I also strive for in my own work. In Teresa Dunn’s work, I am mainly inspired by her mark making, use of color, and level of resolve that she achieves in different areas of her paintings, as well as the ways that she uses figures. Her mark making is very gestural, and she also brings in a lot of non-local colors in order to create more conflicting scenes.
The colors that I use in my graphic design work are warm, natural, and tonal colors that visually communicate feelings of familiarity and comfort. I use bold serif typefaces such as Gastromond and Freehouse that appear adventurous and lighthearted, paired with wide sans serif typefaces such as Avenir and Effra because these typefaces appear approachable, friendly, and dependable. I am influenced by the ways that the designer Jessica Hische creates importance and draws attention through her bold and elegant typography. The flat and minimalistic illustrations and icons that I use in my infographics and advertising designs also make them easily digestible and welcoming for the viewer. In the design of the logo for my national park system, I used a shape that resembles an arrow as well as a minimal illustration of a mountainscape. In this logo and in my illustrations, I am influenced by the designer Chester Don Powell. Specifically, I am inspired by the flat and intricate illustrations and bold typography that Chester Don Powell used in his designs of Works Progress Administration posters for national parks.
Sports design is marked by the ability to unite people behind a communal message. Growing up, athletics and art became anchors in my family. Most of my time was spent playing outside with my dad and brothers, while my mom taught me how to stretch my creativity and make art, seeing things for the end result and finding the beauty in the process of creating. Later on, I witnessed sports and art build community and cultivate creativity, functioning as something more than just entertainment, but a key part in bringing people together. This project entwines the energy and unity of sports culture with the essence of clean design.
Britt Davis’s work and my own experience as a St. Louis Blues intern serve as the inspiration for this portfolio. As an intern, implementing new brand guides highlighted the paramount role branding plays in the sports industry and within a community. Through design, teams create personality and cohesion, a story that fans can rally behind. This project series combines these formative experiences with Britt Davis’ use of creative strategy in drawing inspiration from a city’s people, culture, and history to create a unifying and cohesive brand.
The Kansas City Beasts brand is built on the foundation of intentional design–utilizing typography, texture, photography, and a strong color palette to create a cohesive identity system. The construction of the team’s culture and fan experience inspired a design that would connect the essence of the team to the community. The brand features unified yet bold, modern typography, which sometimes interacts with the layout or photo itself to create an illusion of depth or abstraction within a design, invoking the city’s trueness and grit. The brand maintains a balance between clean and complex relationships, relying on textures and patterns to break up space within a composition. These formal elements result in work that is both functional and communicative. The designs present information in a comprehensible way regardless of fans’ knowledge of sports, highlighting the city’s collective people rather than individuals.
The digital and print project series communicates the identity of the Kansas City Beasts through manipulating contrasts within the foundation of the design. The poster series in particular centers on cut-out photography on top of vivid, textured backgrounds, combined with bold typography to form an engaging composition. These eye-catching projects brim with impactful visuals, intentional movement, and a lively yet subtly gritty tone.
I’m constantly surrounded by sports. Between playing sports and attending many sporting
events, sports became a part of my identity. The sport that quickly formed a central part of my identity as a sports fan was hockey. My father introduced me to hockey after I had already begun my own athletic career; like any sports fan, watching games together, cheering on our favorite teams, and experiencing the excitement was an invaluable experience. I found the speed, agility, and tenacity exhibited by hockey players on ice to be an absorbing display.
Outside of the game itself; the personality, appearance, and history that defines each team is something I’ve been equally fascinated with. I find sports design to be edgy and aggressive with bold typography, agile movement, and formidable body language in its imagery. One notable difference between major and minor league hockey is the creative liberty allowed in minor league branding. This creative liberty allows for fun, extravagant branding. By meshing my love for sports design with the subject of a minor league hockey team, Richmond Apparitions was Created.
Choosing the location of Richmond, Virginia. I wanted to explore a city that is deeply rooted in American history as well as paranormal history. Paranormal history has always sparked my curiosity and imagination. When creating my logo for Richmond Apparitions, I knew I wanted a ghost as my mascot to be more playful. In my designs as a whole, I incorporate a palette of grays and blacks with a singular statement red. This allowed me to build a playfully darker aesthetic within the branding, while maintaining visually appealing designs through fun typography, bold hierarchy, and strong use of imagery and design throughout.
Inspiration for the identity work I’ve built for my Richmond Apparitions, comes partially from the branding by the creative team consisting of Jeff Ipjian, Wes Tiongco, Bryna Taylor, and Amanda Le, for the 2019-2020 NHL Anaheim Ducks. This system includes a monochromatic palette paired with a bright color dynamic which I found very appealing. With the addition of gritty layers to add a paper-like aesthetic. I am also inspired by graphic designer, Alex Flick. His designs mix colorful illustrations with bold yet fun typography that add a playful approach.
While making this body of work I focused on the idea of worth. To be more specific, how undefined, personal, and perpetual this task of assigning value is. Using the curation of objects as a convoy to discuss how and why we assign this value. Our current knowledge of the objects, assumptions, whats adjacent, the attention the items have been given. Focusing on the conversations had between the subjects and as a result the viewers. I was recently brought to the idea that intelligence can be measured by the amount of connections one can make. With this in mind, my goal for this work is to have potential for a multitude of responses, an intelligent piece of art.
Through dealing with the found and curating what's available, new perspectives can be associated with this imagery while also benefiting from its familiarity. I enjoy contextualizing things that have already been recontextualized. Finding that many things at this point have already been re-recontextualized. The addition of Miss Piggy who has already been set the context of a chess piece, or a vandalized cardboard Maude from a Louisville alleyway to a Murray gallery. Turning things on their head that have already been faced down.
Working in this way creates a balance between improvisation and planning. Having the general idea of the work and while allowing the art to appear in accidents during the process. Attempting to maintain an enjoyable state of surprise and control. The self actualization of some work through found objects in juxtaposition with objects containing clear hints of time and craft is what points the conversation towards value.
The why is more ambiguous— I am less willing to disclose. My why would only dilute others thoughts when asking questions or make their own connections. When clay is propped like an angel or wax poured into a lion, does it have more inherent worth? I suppose that would depend on how the viewer values me as an artist.
Born too late for the space age, too poor for space tourism, and too early to explore the galaxy, I’ve turned my obsession with sci-fi pop culture into a design career. A steady diet of bad films and cheesy sci-fi left me feeling like the world lacked something. It lacked pageantry and fun. We all share pop culture, and it gives us a sense of a world that’s more fun than the one we live in now. The movies, toys, and games of my youth helped shape my sense of what the world could be, a world that could be something more. That sense of wanting to make the world more than just the day to day is what made me go back to school at 37 and pursue an art degree.
Too often design is merely functional; despite being intended to tell a brand’s story those stories can be flat. Instead I like to use bright colors, simplified forms, and nods to other works to make even an annual report into something of an experience. Even a logo can become a character in and of itself, turning a brand into a story. I also use images and tropes of sci-fi and fantasy to bring a sense of fun to life. There’s something rewarding about creating an ad that makes the world seem more adventurous and full of possibility.
This is what my show, Life Isn’t Fare, is about. I wanted to show off my layout skills and packaging design skills, as well as my logo designs, but in a realm that allowed me to build a sense of fun, too. The astronaut is something I’ve always sort of identified with, exploring spaces that are strange while isolated from his environment. The astronaut with his taxi image was a recurring piece from my past works, and so I decided to build a toy line about that sense of fun I wish reality had. A bit of adventure, a bit of silliness, and a world and show defined by logos and icons, similar to our own daily life. It’s a show about exploration into new spaces, a work a bit about myself, and a way to show that design can be fun.
The comic and animation work of Vaughn Bodē and Ralph Bakshi are heavy influences on my work, especially their off-beat questioning of society. The wild colors and cartoonishness of Frank Koziks’s poster work was what first made me consider becoming a graphic designer. Discovering Lester Beall’s use of vivid color and master of using and breaking the grid was a pivotal moment in my development as well, and countered my fascination with Romek Marber’s near-scientific cover designs. Mieke Gerritzen’s typography has also been a big influence and helped me rethink my own use of typography and how to make it stand on its own. My show’s work was also very much in the footsteps of Larry Hama and Ron Rudat’s work in toy package design and illustration; their world building on GI Joe is one of the biggest reasons my show even came to be.
Please enjoy the little slice of the toy aisle I’ve presented, and the figures and characters in it, and hopefully leave feeling a little happier, and a little more weird, than you came in.
Kieran Beasley Monarch Skateboards
Monarch Skateboards is a company that designs and produces skateboards and skate merchandise for a primarily teenage and young adult demographic. This diversity of skate style and culture allows me to blend experimental imagery and themes with my personal design style which is often structured and patterned, with designs and illustrations both monochromatic and exploding with color. Skater personalities and tastes are always varied and individualistic. I design with that in mind, to appeal to everyone in and out of the skate park.
To fill my designs with more personality, I incorporate a mxture of darker, grunge inspired designs and illustration with bright colors like pinks and blues, which allows me to build off of traditional skateboard trends while adding my own personal flair. I use gritty textures for classic looks and bright patterns for more modern looks. Blended into the designs are also patterns to consistently lead the eye across the boards and posters. The skateboards I design are made with blank decks that print my designs onto using vinyl.
To aid me in brand consistency and bringing life to skate culture in my designs I took inspiration from a few sources. Santa Cruz Skateboards has been a big inspiration for me; their designs mix colorful illustration with a consistent brand look, even when their designs vary to include photography. Aesthetic Apparatus is another place I get my inspiration from; their bright colors and gritty textures always look great paired with their bold typography which I try to emulate in my skateboards, posters, and other merchandise. They have everything from posters to packages to storefronts and keep brand consistency even if the design styles vary from project to project.
I was raised in a community that was raised to not empathize with queer people or their struggles. I was hyper-aware of my differences growing up, both internal and external, and spent a lot of time pondering identity and how people perceive one another. My work is the result of that introspection; sequential artworks depicting characters in states of transmutation or duality that explore both beautiful and repulsive facets of identity alike. I encourage my audience to join me in questioning the way we categorize ideas like gender, sexuality, and self image. I manipulate familiar multidimensional surfaces, primarily ceramics, mixed media videos, and zines, to create small narratives. The work provides a unique opportunity to form a relationship with the viewer as they interact with it. The tactility of my work grounds the experience in the relatable, while the integration of humor and empathy encourages people to understand both themselves and each other. The viewer’s ability to enjoy my pieces, regardless of their prior experience with the subject matter is my priority. I want my audience to see themselves depicted in my work without shame. By doing this I hope to alleviate the stigma associated with “otherness.”
I am influenced by Lisa Barcy and Lisa Hanawalt for the ways that their art practice mirrors my own. Barcy integrates and manipulates found objects in her animations in a way that inspires both my still and motion-based work. Hanawalt parallels the way I use lighthearted imagery to speak on deeper and more sensitive topics, all while managing to keep a humorous tone.
Steve Burdine Artist Statement (50+n)-20=T will be how much longer I have lived than I ever expected to. I believed that Reagen was going to lead the country into a Nuclear Holocaust. Instead it has been a trickle down erosion of freedoms through neoliberal capitalism and the steady march of deregulations that once protected the working class, such as Reagan's attack on the PATCO Strikers and the war on drugs. Existing in a neoliberal capitalist society has always been frustrating in a fundamental way. On one hand, I want to earn a good living and make enough money to not have to worry about basic bills. On the other hand, I do not want to support a system that continues to create monsters. Artists like Keith Morris and Chuck D were making music that critiqued neoliberalism as well as Reagan. Their complex soundscapes influenced my Art. I add visual elements in a way that represents sampling(in Hip-Hop) and hardcore chord structure (or the lack of it) and recognize that my path to abstraction was through doing graffiti in my youth, driven by the push for aesthetic beauty over legibility of the words. These marks I made on the decaying buildings in my city was the first expression of my angst in my art in an abstract way. My current work makes tension with basic shapes and the layering of paint, often with remnants of things in my house. I learned this language from artist Bing Davis. As a mentor he taught me how to use decay in my art by using unconventional items to make art from. The layering of these materials in my work reflects the sedimentation of trash as each subsequent layer of discarded things builds on top of the next. Some elements that extend beyond the ground, or even start to peel, create a feeling of the deterioration. I have some obfuscation of the layered images so the viewer may feel the curiosity or frustration of the almost recognizable. This restriction of access is one I feel when I work hard but yet am still blocked by class or other external systems. Often I will try to constrain the tension with more formal shapes like rectanglesbut, as with life, this constraining often fails. My work can be like seeing a pile of refuse where some parts are recognizable but it never actually resolves to a recognizable whole. The color choices I begin with, primary colors and/or earth tones, are the color palette of the Unions and of labor. When I feel like my work has become too precious, I either stop working on the piece or I do something to it that renders the precious part dead. I want some elements to remain unclear, feeling like a fleeting thought or memory, which is how I often feel--distracted by daily inputs from marketers and social media which amps up my need for self-preservation. The work is a way to filter all of this information barraging me and distill it down into something less disorienting. My conversation with neo liberalism and the frustration I feel is what I aim to express in these works. Leaving the viewer with the feeling of apathy, disgust, disorientation, or darkness while interacting with my work. Overall it is not as important for the viewer to walk away with a working definition of neoliberal capitalism as much as with a sense of the tension and frustration many of us feel because we do not even recognise we are living in neoliberal society.
I thrive through the creation of minimal and concise designs. To me, I find the beauty not only in the finished design or shape but throughout the process as well. Through my delicate lines and dramatic forms, I am able to create connections with my clients to not only fuel my passion but cultivate their dreams. My love for design is found in illustrations, branding, and typography. These are the skills that I have been honing the past few years. Illustration allows me to combine the commercial use of design while also having creative freedom. Through delicate lines that vary with length, width, and distance apart; I have been able to create a stylized form of imagery that adds to the overall theme of a brand. Being able to understand the rules to design is the foundation to be a designer however, knowing how to manipulate the rules to create not only a dynamic but also a balanced design is what produce a more diverse design.
Due to it’s organic element with endless possibilities and functions, clay has been a medium I have enjoyed working with. Currently, I find myself being drawn towards the minimal shapes with sharp lines paired with a black or white glaze. It is the dramatic forms such at the lengthy straight lines or interesting curves that I highlight by only having few design elements to keep the attention on the functional yet modern shape.
The process of branding a coffee shop has been an encouragement to finding the middle point of where both my passions can be seen in the same idea. I have been inspired by Radim Malinic’s work due to his package design and brand identity. His depth in this field and his ability to create eye catching work due to his great sense of color, has been an influence if my current work.
A ceramicist that has inspired my work is Branan Mercer. His work is interesting due to his dramatic shapes that could not only stand-alone but also works beautifully with his thick glazes.
We often do not value moments until they become memories or we do not value memories that come from difficult moments. Within Lost and Found, I explore how we lose, gain, or fabricate memories to protect ourselves from traumatic events. My constructions present these difficult experiences through the comfort of repurposed objects and handmade soft sculptures. Both of these artistic processes have become a way for me to cope with the loss of many loved ones. The women I have lost used sewing to help others feel comfortable in their own homes, to make the discomforts comfortable. The discomforts being negative experiences that impacted my family, loss of a loved one, financial struggle, emotional disconnection, and more. Through the act of building a living space and filling it with organic stuffed pieces, I commemorate the work the strong women from my family did to help others when they fell on hard times, creating comforting memories with their quilts, homemade toys, and homey charm.
My found object assemblages and soft sculptures also mimic how memories are formed, we subsciously pick and choose what we remember, which is the same nature I used when creating these works. My works reclaim objects others have discarded much like Joseph Cornell’s assemblages, I want my objects to spark the memories of others as they seem them both individually and in relation to one another. The collection of found objects to represent the memories we forget being a representation of this mentality. The use of soft sculpture comes from a place of struggle with personal discomforts. Experiencing these events that are universal such as; loss of a loved one, financial struggle, and emotional turmoil and presenting them in a similar way that helped my family cope with them.
Within Lost and Found there is upholstered furniture and objects, not only are these staples in any living environment, they are objects that many people have a sentimental memory about within their own personal context. This ability to create relatability between the viewer’s own memories and the ones I am trying to create further pushes the idea of these memories being universal to everyone. The pieces in the show are mundane in nature but gaudy in texture, the majority of the pieces and objects have a treated surface, being treated with anything from beads, glitter, string, plastic bags, and beyond this my use of multiplicity makes these objects seem mundane rather than special.
Growing up, I always hated moving. Every moment leading up to that move is a celebration, then a goodbye, then a memory. We wonder what we will do with the things we take with us, as well as what will happen to the spaces we leave behind. The first time I moved I didn’t know any of these things, nor did I think it would change my life completely.
My work is a reflection on my experiences from moving to America and what I have learned. I strive to challenge people to think about what makes a house a home through my lens as a Salvadoran immigrant. My work displays the emotions and items I associate with my move and reimagines the spaces from my youth. The wide assortments of color and naked terra cotta are a nod to Mayan folk art and Hispanic artists before me. I play with scale and saturation in my pieces to remove the items from reality as a reminder that they are sacred, yet distant memories. The work looks familiar yet feels unsettling; posing questions about how we view the immigrant experience. What is it like to see your loved ones for possibly the last time at an airport or as they walk towards the U.S-Mexico border? When I.C.E officers slash jugs full of water or take backpacks full of survival essentials in the Sonoran desert are we obligated to do something about it? How do we show compassion to those making life-changing transitions?
Inspired by the testimonies of millions of Latin-Americans in this country, I take what I learn from my community and highlight the differences and similarities in where we come from and the places we go to. My symbolisms and thematic choices are influenced by Mexican-American artist J. Leigh Garcia, whose work deals with the ‘residual racial discord’ of major historical events between the U.S and Mexico, particularly Texas. Though my work is more personal to mine and my family’s experience, I feel it’s important for me to acknowledge and learn from the heavy end of the Latine diaspora. Moving to America is riddled with obstacles no matter the method of doing so. Having moved so young and not knowing when -or if- I would return, I struggled with remembering all my ‘lasts’ and preserving those memories as I age. It’s a celebration of what I had before boarding that plane, and a tribute to those who unfortunately don’t get to have that choice.
Kiley R. Cox
Content Warning: Trauma
Birds are beautiful, fragile, yet strong species that defy the laws of gravity. Birds have been used as symbols throughout history, and have been a huge influence within my work. To me, birds are the most relatable and enviable animals to humans. We long to adopt their risk taking behaviors, their romantic way of mating with one another for life, or even just their ability to fly and go wherever they wish. To be a bird and not care about anything in the world would be liberating. People as a whole are a lot like birds; we are both strong and fragile.
For young adults, it is this liberation and freedom that we crave so much and strive for in life. So when it is taken away from us, it is painful. As a woman, to be put in situations that take away our power over our own bodies, which has been done since the beginning of time, is nauseatingly painful. “Fight or Flight” is a representation of that power and control being taken away by creating this malicious interaction between birds and human hands.
Using charcoal, I am able to capture beautiful and soft textures of the birds while also emphasizing the harsh shadows and tense angles of the hands which are harming the birds.
The content of the work in this exhibition is very heavy and personal for me, as well as anyone else who has experienced the feeling of helplessness and feeling trapped in a situation or relationship that is destructive, unhealthy, manipulative, or even violent to be in. While particulars of transgressions against our physical, mental and spiritual autonomy differ, trauma does not exist in a hierarchy. I offer these images to survivors to validate their experiences and mourn for their own loss of self-worth and power, and to other viewers as a means to communicate the intensity and impact that traumatic experiences have on people. I hope that viewers empathize with these birds being mistreated and relate to them in ways that might help them to not only recognize their own self worth, but also to underscore the importance of acknowledging, preventing, and stopping this kind of treatment.
Everything is temporary, whether it is our anxieties, our joys, or anything in between. These emotions are fleeting, but it is important to focus on these moments of intense mental states. My current work highlights the micro and macro aspects of emotion and body language with various personal experiences from myself and others.
My lifesize drawings focus on the larger narrative and allow a connection between the audience and the work, whereas my screen prints highlight individual features of the human body. The imagery is developed by having conversations with those who identify as women in a specific age demographic as it personally feels the most relatable and comfortable. Sharing mine and other women’s experiences through the work provides a deeper understanding of how diverse our emotions can be. They discuss their experiences about specific body parts they sense emotions and what color may be associated with those feelings. Where do they feel elation, anger, or sadness? It is then highlighted with color to provide a visual language rather than a verbal language. Color psychology is also a factor to the work, and it allows an exploration and a gaining an understanding of how and why we associate colors with specific meanings. This also allows an exploration of how this concept can change with symbolism.
The work is a commanding size, allowing women’s emotions to be seen and given attention, regardless of the feeling’s temporariness. This provides the opportunity to discuss discrepancies between males and females and how portraying emotions have been criticized, or often, invalidated women’s feelings altogether. I am inspired by many women artists such as artist and educator Jenny Granberry who also works with the human figure, using more monochromatic themes. Jen Mazza has also been an inspiration for a long time with her intimate compositions and selective color palettes throughout her different series. My work uses a combination of body language and color to create an outward projection of our inner moods, and this has been a focus for the work.
This show is a visualization of my experience returning home from war and using art to breakthrough instead of letting the experience break me. The pop-art style of this exhibition is intended to reflect the optimistic nature necessary for my recovery. I have used this style throughout most of my work to display heavy topics in a way that engages the viewer. This show will be a multimedia explosion that will showcase the skills I have learned while using my G.I. bill to earn my BFA at Murray State University. The goal of this exhibition is to give the viewer fine art through the lens of graphic design (using as many graphic design elements as possible). I will be displaying 3 large groups of graphic designs with posters, vinyl mounted on foam core and vinyl on plexiglass with one of the sections including a large monitor that will display a video collage that visualizes the mental state of life after war. This exhibition will be a commentary on my military service and my experience returning home from combat in Afghanistan. I am using the “Pop art style” as a way to intrigue viewers toward my work with bright colors while describing traumatic events / hard truths of war that are normally avoided by civilians. This video will be presented in front of a larger foam core and graphics display that includes a blue thought bubble and “wham” shape. The main idea of the show revolves around the thoughts or memories of war and how that has impacted my life forever. My goal is to not only represent my personal experience but to relate to those who have been through similar events.
Elaine C. Fitzgerald
I have always been fascinated with the vastness of nature. It comes with this feeling of importance and magnitude that I want to capture. My show draws attention to the wonders of nature that are being lost to climate change. One the one hand, I want to give the viewer an appreciation and sense of wonder for these pockets of nature; I focus on the sublimity of these places, designing for five national parks that are being greatly affected by climate change. On the other, I want the viewer to understand that these spaces are being lost. I feel that illustration is the best form of communication to talk about climate change because, while these ideas and themes can be spread with text, it is easier for the viewer to visually understand the changes happening to nature through illustrations rather than large bodies of text.
In the Fight the Rise project, I have created an awareness campaign that uses a poster series because posters are an easily accessible form of spreading information, ideas, and imagery. I use vector drawing to create clean and concise shapes that form the illustrations, as well as a limited color palette that provides high contrast to the composition. This draws the viewer’s eye through the work and gives the work visual hierarchy. This hierarchy pulls the viewer’s gaze through the diptychs the posters create and tells the narrative of climate change’s destruction. I am illustrating national parks because they are well known areas that have more of an emotional and cultural impact than other lesser known stretches of land that are also being affected by climate change. I chose Sequoia, Everglades, Glacier Bay, and Saguaro National Parks because this collection of parks shows the range of climate change’s effects in vastly different environments. I am also illustrating Yellowstone National Park because it is the first national park, and one of the most recognizable features of the United States. Each park has two posters that form a diptych. Both halves of the diptychs mirror each other’s typography and palette creating a visual narrative. I use large, bold headers to grab the viewer's attention and smaller, finer fonts to provide the main information of the posters. Each poster also has a twenty-five point star icon that emphasizes an important fact about the park or climate change. The posters are large in order to overwhelm and inspire a sense of awe in the viewer to draw them into the illustration. I am printing the posters on recycled paper to further push the idea of working sustainably. I have also created collateral for my campaign which includes T-shirts and a motion infographic that explains ways to contribute to the fight of climate change. All of the collateral is designed to advertise my awareness campaign using the same typography, color palettes, icons, and hierarchy as my posters.
My campaign connects very different areas in the country, so I looked to campaigns like the National Park Service’s Recreate Responsibly campaign and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail poster series which both span multiple parks and states. By looking at these campaigns I was inspired to use the same hierarchy of typography and star icons across all of my posters to tie the compositions together despite their vastly different illustrations.
We all wear masks for different reasons. Some wear them to appear more confident, others wear them to act funnier than they may otherwise be. I wear mine because I’m terrified of facing the consequences of being myself - a gay man. My constant state of being is a mix of anxiety and fear that it’ll slip and I’ll be discovered, and then abandoned, ostracized from my family and those around me. These feelings have been on and off for me for the past decade since I came out to myself, and I found comfort in an unexpected place - Chick-Fil-A. The cow mask in my work references Chick-Fil-A and my employment there.
The restaurant had a less-than-reputable standing with the LGBT community while I worked there, and there were moments where the workplace felt cult-like. Full-grown adults gathered around watching old, creepy VCRs about Christianity, or automatically repeated phrases ingrained in them by the company months after leaving. However, I’d never worked with a more understanding and accepting group of people. My coworkers included straight, gay, and nonbinary individuals who made me feel like I could be open about myself for the first time, and that was liberating. I felt a comforting sense of togetherness with my queer coworkers, my fellow ‘cultists’ - we all had to wear our own masks to hide ourselves, our queerness - and yet we were vulnerable because we were in the public eye. We were hidden, yet vulnerable. The nudity and cow masks in my work represent this - the push and pull between being hidden, yet vulnerable to the eyes of others, as well as the figurative mask that I as a gay man wear to protect myself.
The work explores the many feelings associated with wearing this mask. While wearing it includes a sense of fear, doing so among fellow ‘cultists’ made me feel less alone. ‘FEELING YOU’, features a soft, yet impactful and intimate touch between two ‘cultists,’ reflecting on the way shared small moments of vulnerability provide comfort. Additionally, absurdity and hyperbole diffuse tension and deflect fear for me. Why would a naked man in a cow mask stand alone in a drive-thru lane after hours? If customers have the audacity to sing while waiting for food, maybe there are people out there who are lawless enough to fuck on a fast-food counter? Ridiculous lines of thought like this distract from the looming knot of anxiety forming in my chest.
I am inspired by the queer men who have come before me - men who were brave and open about their sexuality in ways that I aspire to. Hugh Steers creates a balance between intimacy and anguish in his work. There’s a beautiful solidarity in soft touches that are shared in moments of suffering and anguish. I am also drawn to the way Robert Mapplethorpe’s work questions the erotic and the obscene. I believe there is bravery in obscenity - in a willingness to put out work that others may openly scoff at, or be disgusted by. I find his ‘behind the black curtain’ photographs to be compelling depictions of powerful men in vulnerable situations. While these men willingly gave up some measure of control and freedom to someone that had power over them, they not only retained their own agency, but also created their own power in turn.
Through research I have explored what exactly speaks to queer audiences and can also be embraced by non-queer audiences. In this exhibition and accompanying magazine, I want to create a queer magazine that intersects feminine and masculine gender performance, specifically how the two performances can live within one person. Creating colorful and dynamic shapes and pieces in this magazine is key. The viewer should feel engaged looking at the layouts this presents, but also feel informed and educated as they read it.
Spectrum is meant for those who relate to queer life, but also for those who are wanting to learn more about this community. The fonts and colors are used to create a modern yet refined feel to the magazine. The color palette stems from wanting to be professional, with moments of high upbeat energy. Employing cyan and reds which play into gender stereotypes to create the intersection between masculine and feminine. When creating the layout and background for this magazine, no rectangles are used for shapes other than text and photography. By doing this, the intent is to create a sense of breaking out and being different from other magazines and what norms have been set. Triangles and circles have connotations to gender and sex, both having the ability to be masculine and feminine depending on the location and use of the shapes. Editorial photography reinforces the articles of the section. The photography has a sense of fashion photography to it but will allow the viewer to perceive the intersections of gender through clothing and stance. The life and energy the models and designs exude should encapsulate the viewer to recognizing that queer individuals exist outside of the stereotypes that are placed on us.
Inspired by both Ben J. Crick and Raine Bascos, I want Spectrum to exist in a place where queer can live freely. These designers create bold and energetic designs to keep their pieces youthful and modern. Those ideas and designs are the kind that can make this happen. It should be a visual playground in which these ideas can wander and be freely discussed. This work exudes dynamism and life to make it live alongside in this contemporary setting. Being queer is one of the best aspects of my life and it is only right for me to discuss other apects of this community outside of what the media provides. It deserves to be in a contemporary spotlight.
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