Seniors showcase diverse works

Students browse work for the Senior Exhibition, including work by senior
Jessica Herrington, which included a collection of vinyl covers and more. 
Megan Ferrando/The Lion's Roar

Seemingly endless hours and nights spent in the art lab all led up to one special night for art students where they showed off the best of their hard work. The Art + Design Senior Exhibition opened November 24 in the Contemporary Art Gallery. The show will remain open until December 12. 

“For these visual art students, this is more important than graduation,” said gallery director Dale Newkirk. “Their families are here. This is their celebration. To them, this is their night.”

The show features work from all graduating art seniors in various fields such as graphic design, photography and more. The opening reception resulted in a packed house as family, friends and art-lovers crowded into the gallery to browse the diverse works. 

“The most challenging part was actually branding the whole company, but it was also the most fun,” said graphic design senior Brynisha Faust about her project. “I enjoyed that one the most. To have a vision and then actually see it come all the way through with all of the components to the project [is great].” 

Many in the field of graphic design focused on branding for various companies. Graphic design senior Cody Martin created designs for a jewelry company, Paris. 

“I have a kind of design geared towards the feminine beauty side, then I have one that’s geared towards the manly side,” said Martin. “Also, one geared towards romance, engagement and Paris.”

Martin’s focus on jewelry coincided with his recent engagement. 

“It was kind of a season of my life,” said Martin. “I just got engaged, so I really wanted to do something I could focus on and have a lot of passion towards and so a jewelry company was really the direction I wanted to go.”

Aside from family and friends, various students chose to attend the opening to see the many works by senior Jessica Herrington made up of vibrant record covers and posters. 

“It speaks to me though because it has a lot of color,” said junior computer science major Adam Callender about Herrington’s work. “There’s a lot of designs around here, but not a lot of designs with colors. It really pops out, and it’s kind of our college feel. It’s right down my alley so I understand it. I just like all of the shapes.”

All collections on show first went through senior review, which all art seniors must do. They must answer a series of questions around their artwork in hopes that it will be passed. 

“The faculty on that panel gives them advice, feedback and criticism,” said Newkirk. “Then they have a month to make those changes and get the show together from what they propose.” 

Since the seniors work in many different mediums and fields, deciding where to put each collection of work in the exhibition can prove as a challenge. 

“As a curator, I have to provide those resources in terms of space, which is challenging with this many students,” said Newkirk. “I never know until the reviews what I’m getting into. The new media people are doing more digital prints this time. The number of graphic designers vary. You don’t know how many big paintings you’re going to get.”

According to Newkirk, the seniors worked to make sure the exhibition was a success. Hard work did not end once their pieces were completed, but continued as the pieces were made ready for the exhibition opening. 

“This particular group, they really put a lot of hours into their show,” said Newkirk. “Most of them have never hung an exhibit of their work before so it’s different territory learning the exhibition standards. The students have really put a lot of hours into this and a lot of late nights working.”

Although their times as undergraduate students are ending, many already have plans for after graduation.

“Some of these students already have other shows booked for the future. Some of the graphic designers already have jobs, and that’s what we want. That’s what we’re building up for is those opportunities,” said Newkirk.

According to seniors, the time spent working on projects and perfecting pieces helped develop the artists they are today. 

“I appreciate the time I’ve been here with the professors and students who have poured into to me,” said Martin. “It’s just been really a fulfilling time being a Southeastern Lion.”