Seniors with majors in the John Brown University visual arts department are preparing their portfolios to display their transformation over the past four years.
The visual arts senior portfolio is a collection of the best pieces each student has done during his or her time at the University. The portfolio shows the students’ overall improvement and advancement as artists.
Kyle Dyer is channeling what he learned during his four years as a graphic design major into a job as a full time designer for Adaire Creative Group. Adaire is a design firm that was created by JBU alumni and is also where Dyer interned last summer.
“At my internship last summer, all the clients would come in needing help starting a new company. They were coming to us so we could create an identity for them and help get their passion off the ground,” Dyer said.
Although Dyer has always been interested in art, his passion has not always been directed towards graphic design.
“I started out as an illustration major because I did a lot of fine art in high school, and I was good at it. Then when I came here, I didn’t really enjoy it as much, so when I took the foundational classes for the major I found that I was more interested in graphic design. It was a visual way to communicate with people and express someone’s story,” Dyer said.
Dyer says his favorite piece for his senior portfolio is the logo he created for an eight-year-old baseball team called the Arkansas Yellow Jackets.
Chloe Fennell, like Dyer, has always known that her talent was in fine art. The fine arts program here at JBU is what first attracted her to the university. Fennell is now concentrating on both fine art and illustration.
“Drawing is a constant thing that I do. I like how drawing helps me to see my thoughts outside of my head. It makes my thoughts into something visual and tangible, and then other people can see my thoughts,” Fennell said.
Fennell has both a senior show for her fine art concentration and a senior portfolio for her illustration concentration. For her fine art exhibition she has chosen to focus her attention on the human form.
“For my fine art exhibition show, I did paintings of figures, which I have loved drawing figures for a really long time. I have known for about three semesters that I wanted to do my senior show over figure painting. I just love how the human form is expressive. Motion is also a theme in my illustration work, which speaks to me being an athlete,” Fennell said.
Fennell’s senior show is composed of 17 huge high contrast paintings that she painted from November to April.
Alyssa Schoenwald was led to the graphic design major through the fear of being undeclared.
“I didn’t have a specific talent coming in to JBU, so I just chose something I was interested in, because I did not want to say that I was undeclared,” Schoenwald said.
Her decision to be a graphic design major ended up pairing well with her minor in marketing. After she graduates she still plans on including graphic design but would like to focus more on marketing.
“I am not going in a graphic design direction after I graduate; instead, I will focus more on marketing and use graphic design as an asset. I will be interning with World Vision this summer as a part of their youth mobilization team,” Schoenwald said.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that works to provide aid to countries that suffer from poverty.
When Schoenwald looks at her portfolio she can tell that her definition of what graphic design is has completely changed.
“Graphic design is about solving problems. Originally I thought it was about creating visually appealing things, but it is about solving human problems. It is not just about how to make things beautiful but finding the communication problem and seeking out ways to fix it visually,” said Schoenwald.
One concept that all the seniors try to communicate is to incorporate Christian ideas in to their work, or work ethic, without it coming off as a cliché: an issue that senior cinema major Romello Williams has come across in his own work.
“I have always wanted to find a way to mix great films with Christian perspectives, and that is something my professor Snediker has always emphasized. He taught us to show Christ through all perspectives. He really teaches us to avoid the cliché stuff, because the only people who really watch those films are Christians, and cliché films will not doing anything for them because it is not showing a realistic picture of what life as a Christian is like.”