Senior studio art students display portfolio work

(Photo by Cesareo Contreras.)

The Mazmanian Gallery this week displayed the portfolio work of 11 senior studio art majors with concentrations in graphic design and illustration.

All the students involved are part of art professor Stephanie Grey’s 400-level graphic design and illustration portfolio class.

As the name of the class would suggest, displayed throughout the gallery are a number of drawings, comic strips and graphic design works highlighting each student’s individual skill-set.   

While some decided to focus more on showcasing professional work they created in internships and off-campus jobs, others decided to display pieces from a number of passion projects they’ve been working on.   

Tapping into his love of comics and cartoons, Dani Brindisi displayed strips from three of his original comic books, “What a Dame,” “Change?” and “Sam’s Spook.”

Each of Brindisi’s comics has a distinct premise. “What a Dame,” for example, tells the story of a group of gang members in the 1920s collecting the debts owed to them by their clients. The star of the show, however, is the group’s incredibly powerful guinea pig, Clyde, who they use to punish the individuals who refuse to pay up.      

“If they don’t pay their debts, they give them what’s coming to them,” Brindisi said.

When thinking about his biggest influences, Brindisi points to American animator and director Craig McCracken, who created some of Cartoon Network’s most widely adored cartoons including “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.”

“They just have this cartoon-y comedic style to them that I really personally enjoy,” he said.

Brindisi begins his process by first drawing character models in his sketchbook and then writes up plots that interweave each of the characters’ storylines. Once he creates a sketch he particularly enjoys, he scans the page onto his computer.

In his artist statement, Brindisi notes that although it can be challenging to write compelling and relatable plotlines, nothing is more exciting than finally creating a narrative that subverts readers’ expectations in a meaningful way.

“Through my skills of storytelling, I’m hoping to attract crowds who are captivated by the tales I tell,” his artist statement reads.

Placed in the center of the gallery’s back wall, Colin Moran’s five posters not only showcase his deep fascination with flat expressive colors and bold typefaces, but also his collaborative work style.

Working with the co-founders of Trebl, a locally owned athletic web store, Moran created a series of graphics to help promote the new business venture.

Also on display were designs Moran created for a group of his friends who are in the bluesy jazz-rock band “Jodie Road.”

In creating all these designs, Moran stuck to his “semi-abstracted style” and created works that although are distinct, feel uniform when arranged together.

In one printed out design, a bright orange backdrop complements an amalgamation of instruments placed within the design’s center. This design, in turn, compliments Moran’s Andy Warhol-esque self-portrait that is made up of a series of flat colors such as pink, green and orange.

“I create art that carries a sense of honest expression,  art that aligns with my personal interests of color and shape – a result of my personal touch,” his art statement reads.

At the start of the semester, Shayna Yacyshyn decided to reach out to her friends on Facebook to help her with senior portfolio project.    

“I’m starting an art project where I plan to make 50+ tiny cartoons of people in my life,” the post read. “Comment 3 things you love and 3 words to describe yourself! (This is to help me make your cartoon uniquely you.)”

The post blew up immediately, resulting in 50 comments from friends and loved ones in the span of a few days.

Placed atop the two shelves situated within in her portion of the exhibit are 47 cartoon cutouts representing most of the friends who commented on her Facebook post. Accompanying each piece is a unique fabric Yacyshyn designed.      

“Each of my displayed characters are based off of people I know accompanied with an object or entity that they are passionate about,” her artist statement reads. “My hope is that viewers are able to see parts of themselves in my characters and feel a sense of connection to the world around them.”

Students’ work will be on display until April 13.

Starting April 23, senior studio art majors with concentrations in ceramics, painting, printmaking and sculpture will showcase their work. Part 1 will run until the April  27 and Part 2 will from April 30 to May 4.

[Editor’s note: Shayna Yacyshyn was a member of The Gatepost’s editorial board]