Student artists find enlightenment Graphic design and illustration seniors display work in exhibition

(Bianca Ramos displayed graphite illustrations and oil paintings - her main focus is portraiture. Photo by Amanda Martin)

Thirteen studio art majors with concentrations in graphic design and illustration displayed their work in the Mazmanian Gallery this week in the senior exhibition show, “Enlightened.”

Their work will be on display until Friday.

Each student’s work has its own dedicated lighting in order to emphasize the show’s overall theme.

Ranging from redesigns of corporate logos and advertisements for events around the University, to original illustrations and paintings, each student had a number of works on display.

Andrew Mackisey said the theme of “Enlightened” is how to “describe our four years here. … The result is all this.”

The first of Mackisey’s displayed pieces is a set of three distinctly colored beer bottles he designed for his fictional beer brand, “Hello.” Each label features a simple smiley face. The eyes on each face are drawn in different styles to emphasize the beer’s personality.

The “Déjà Vu Herbal Porter” sports a green face with two sets of eyes. The face on the label for the “F*ck you, F*ck you, F*ck you Triple IPA” is red and has slanted eyes, making it look angrier than its counterparts. Finally, the blue “Sexy Saison” gives its drinker a wink.

Mackisey said his most popular piece is a tourism poster advertising a “real affordable Peru.” He made the poster using Adobe Illustrator.

The poster features a figure climbing a mountain with the sunset in the background. The shapes are bold and abstract, sticking to an aesthetic of simple geometry as the colors of the mountain complement those in the sky.

Mackisey describes his process as “violent … fast and deliberate.” He said the most time he spent on a single piece was two hours.

“If I’m working on something and I hesitate, that’s how I know it’s done,” he said.

Located in the center of the gallery’s far wall is Eric Van Hyning’s display featuring five paintings and two pages filled with numerous character sketches.

Van Hyning said his work falls into the theme of “Enlightened” because he “tried to really focus on the lighting.”

He said he aimed “to give a sense of light and illumination” to his two “story-related” pieces. The two paintings in the center of his exhibit are based on the fairytales Rumpelstiltskin and the Baba Yaga.

Van Hyning often draws and paints characters from fairytales. He believes “art is a really important part of storytelling [because] it gives a visual aspect to things that we read about and imagine.”

While he used oil panit for all of the work on display, Van Hyning said he “really enjoys” working with watercolor because “it’s so quick and easy to control.”

Van Hyning starts with pencil sketches to “develop the character” for whatever piece he’s working on. He then makes a larger, more detailed version of the same character with powdered graphite, which he then seals and adds layers of oil paint to “build up the value and color.”

For Bianca Ramos, being “enlightened” is “the realization of human emotions and how we portray them.”

Ramos’ display features a large oil profile surrounded by graphite illustrations depicting an extreme close up of people’s faces from their brows to the bridge of their noses.

Ramos said she starts by looking at or taking pictures of people “who have beautiful facial expressions or something that’s not ‘perfect’ like creases in their faces, sun marks, freckles – things that draw interest into the face.”

She said she’ll take 50 photographs which she will end up combining into one graphite portrait. Sometimes she said she even uses pictures of multiple people and mixes them together to create a portrait that incorporates aspects of each subject’s facial features.

Ramos draws “sketches individually of different parts of the faces and pieces them together, figures out the lights and the darks” and then creates the final portrait by combining them all.

Ramos’ goal is to prove that “sometimes you don’t need to see the whole face to understand someone.”

Post-graduation, Ramos plans to be a tattoo artist focusing on portraiture. “I want to be able to transfer my work onto someone forever,” she said.

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