On Friday, April 8, senior graphic arts and studio art majors unveiled their hard work and talent to the public, in the 2016 art and design senior capstone presentations. Eight students presented their projects; their eye-catching colorful displays representing the culmination of months of research, preparation, and careful craft.
The Marcolian spoke to several of these students about their academic undertakings.
Senior graphic design major Brittany Martin created “B Rad Ice Cream”; a simulated small business aimed at employing people with traumatic brain injuries. She says a family member inspired her to pursue the topic.
“My brother actually has a traumatic brain injury from a car accident in 2009. So, I’ve kind of seen his struggles with finding a job and getting back to the life he had before,” Martin said.
In addition to her graphic design major, Martin is completing minors both in advertising/public relations and psychology. She says her background in psychology became a vital part of the project.
“I did a lot of research on the traumatic brain injury field… Research was the biggest thing,” Martin explained.
Her multimedia display includes both digital and print materials, everything from a tablet-based study app, to a website, menu and business cards.
Kendra Embrescia is a senior, graphic arts major and studio art minor. Her capstone, entitled “Ocean Flavored Dreams,” utilizes info-graphics, digital illustrations, and hand-painted glass window-displays to spread awareness about oceanic environmental concerns.
“I got a lot of inspiration when I went to Florida. I went to the beach everyday and I saw how trashed they are. And then, I started doing a lot of research and there were three main problems that came up: overfishing, pollution and climate change,” Embrescia explained.
Embrescia says she hopes her presentation will inspire people to make environmentally conscious decisions – regardless of their distance from the ocean.
“I know we’re in Ohio, so obviously we don’t think a lot about the oceans and the problems associated with them,” she said. “Even though it’s so far away, if we recycled or did small things like that, we’d be able to make a difference in the long run. What we do has an impact, regardless of how far away we are.”
Graphic arts major Lexi Callaway presented her project, “Java Kitten.”
“My objective was to create something that really didn’t exist before,” Callaway said.
Callaway was drawn to cats as a subject to research, fascinated by their “quirky nature” and “natural tendency to go viral on the internet.” This is where her minor came into play.
“My inspiration came from my advertising background, wanting to know why cats were so popular,” she said. “There was a lot of crazy statistics about how dominant they are, and it just took me down this weird rabbit hole – so to speak.”
Callaway decided to create a coffee company that repurposes their packaging – boxes and other materials that can be used as cat toys.
“It’s supposed to be fun and silly – not so serious,” she said.
Silly as it may be, the work behind Callaway’s project was no joke. She designed the logo and boxes, an instructional booklet with 30 illustrations, as well as coffee mugs, T-shirts, coffee bags, and a poster.
Senior studio art major Cong Liu’s capstone, entitled “That World,” features charcoal and pencil drawings of Eastern Asian mythological figures.
Liu says it is important to know that food and martial arts are not the only interesting parts of traditional Asian culture. His exhibit combines both Chinese and Japanese figures, incorporating drawing techniques used by traditional Asian artists.
“They are some very classical magical creatures or figures in the stories that have been told for hundreds of years,” Liu said.
Liu used traditional mythical books such as “Shang Hai Jing (Legends of Mountains and Seas)”, and the “Hyakkiyakou Series” by Toriyama Sekein for reference throughout the project.
“Personally, I am kind of a superstitious guy, so I really care about supernatural things. Secondly, my grandma believes in the mythologies and stories. She told me all the time, since I was very small. So, I think that’s made me very interested in them,” Liu said.
Liu says most Americans are not very familiar with Eastern Asian mythologies. He hopes that his pieces will help students understand more about Chinese and Japanese culture.
“This capstone is a free topic. No one tells you, ‘you need to do this or that.’ So, I wanted to show something from my own culture,” he said. “In the eastern world, we believe in some different things and I think they are very interesting.”
Elizabeth White is a graphic design major and astronomy minor. Her project, “Cinema vs. Science,” addresses the “vast array of misinformation” in the field of astronomy – specifically in regard to extraterrestrial life.
“I’s about how Hollywood and the media – various movies, video games and things like that – have really distorted the true concept, series and findings of the search for extraterrestrial life. So, it’s addressing that Hollywood has a huge influence on those things, and then going through and giving the accurate information,” White said.
She says her info-graphic display was an effort to combine her major and minor. White was inspired by her experience with one particular class.
“The content from this project comes largely from an astronomy class that I took here called ‘Life in the Universe,’ and it’s my favorite class that I’ve taken at Marietta College. I’m just really interested in all of the different aspects of the search for extraterrestrial life and the different things that we’ve come to accept as scientific fact, and how it got there, and how long this process has been going on,” she explained.
White says the most enjoyable part of her project was finally getting to see the printed version.
“I’ve stared at a computer screen for eight months, to see the final printed product was really exciting,” White said.
The capstone projects will be on display in the Hermann third floor gallery weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., now through May 1. Anyone interested is welcome to view them.