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Creating What Matters: Introducing the 2020 Excellence Award Winners

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has announced the 2020 recipients of the college’s Excellence Awards. Representing the pinnacle of undergraduate achievement at KCAD, Excellence Awards are given annually to those graduating seniors who exhibit a rare level of mastery and accomplishment in their chosen field of study.

“KCAD is beyond proud of these amazing students. Their talents are incredible, their passion is contagious, and their work ethic is exemplary," said KCAD President Tara McCrackin. "During their time in our community, they have made the most of every opportunity, and in the process made themselves, and everyone around them better. They are poised for great things, and we can’t wait to see what their futures hold.”

The 2020 Excellence Award winners will be recognized during a virtual ceremony on May 8, and their creative work is currently on display in the 2020 Excellence Awards Online Exhibition, which due to COVID-19 has been transitioned to a digital platform this year along with KCAD's Master's Thesis Exhibition and Undergraduate Senior Exhibition

KCAD is proud to introduce the following students as the 2020 Excellence Award winners:
 

Lotus Liu (Art History)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
There is no clear line between the “self” and the “other”. The contradictions between cultures can reach an equilibrium. My areas of research include cultural exchange, cultural appropriation, post-colonialism, Orientalism, and posthumanism in visual arts, fashion, and museum practices. During my time at KCAD, I explored the spirituality and the psyche in both traditional Chinese landscape paintings and contemporary Chinese paintings, Orientalism in museum fashion exhibitions, the relationship between technology and humans in anime and TV shows, the cultural appropriation related to Japanese Lolita fashion and the kimono, a current fashion trend in China reviving the traditional clothing hanfu, and many more interconnected topics.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
In summer 2018, through Studio Art College International, I went to Florence, Italy, and spent 5 weeks living and studying there. I learned about Renaissance Art in-depth, saw the gorgeous architectures, sculptures, and paintings with my own eyes, experimented with fresco, and made new friends

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
I was employed by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park as a paid Education Intern. I presented a research paper at the Grand Rapids Undergraduate Art History Symposium. I had an excellent GPA and was on the President's List every semester.

work by Lotus Liu


Joe Dunaske (Collaborative Design)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
As a designer, you have the possibility to affect the world at both a large and small scale. It is a thought that is as exciting just as it is frightening. I do want to create a large impact on the world, yet when I leave it, I don't want deep footprints left behind. That whatever I design, isn't left for those after me to clean up, or dispose of.

With that in mind, I believe it is my duty as a designer to design responsibly, keeping the entire lifecycle of the products I create in mind. To be constantly observant of the current systems we have in place and to design and implement sustainable alternatives where they are needed. And lastly, to be observant and to voice the needs of those with disabilities when designing new experiences and products.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
Setting up the Spark Park with a group of great people and getting to enjoy it in between classes on warm sunny days. Also while walking to class, I got the feeling that I was meant to be at KCAD, and I was on the right path, which was an amazing feeling as I was so uncertain throughout the years.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
My most notable accomplishments have been participating in the MWest Challenge, winning people's choice for Hammer and Nail, and second place for Considered Furniture. Also participating in Wege Prize and winning second place with Considered Furniture.



work by Joe Dunaske - see more at dunaskefurniture.com



Fabian Fronz (Digital Art and Design)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
My ‘Patty Meltdown Marketing Animation’ and ‘Cola Crave’ explore motion in different ways. One is animated, shifting focus between foreground and background, while Cola Crave is a still image that creates the illusion of motion. Before attending KCAD, I only ever worked with static imagery, not really thinking about movement. I had a fascination with figures, yet only ever focused on creating portraits. Through my time at KCAD, I expanded my interest, learning how to create dynamic character designs, and bending reality to fit a more stylized look that I deemed to be aesthetically pleasing to me. 

With my ‘Leftovers’ characters, I explored a more bizarre idea as I realized my creative concepts of a world based on the food pyramid. I illustrated characters by morphing my favorite foods with people, creating grotesque, yet cute character designs. I especially worked with the character ‘Patty,’ constantly redesigning her and testing out alternate ideas to strengthen my concept.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
Within my program, artistic diversity is very encouraged. Not only did I learn many different ways of approaching digital art, but I also got to interact with many students of all kinds of artistic backgrounds. It made it possible for me to advance and gain new and especially different perspectives on life and art. The Digital Art and Design community is very tight-knit, resulting in a never-ending flow of support around the 7th floor. A positive and uplifting environment and the studio-like set up of classes allowed for many interactions and opportunities for brainstorming that not only connected me closer with my own artistic voice, but with the people around me. 

I think the exchange takes an important role in demonstrating how other human beings use creativity beyond my imaginary cosmos. It helps me to keep evolving and inspires me to sometimes leave or modify my intended creative path. With every new day, I experience that creativity is developing in new and different ways.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • 2016 Award Winner 4th European Youth Art Exhibition at Unesco World Heritage „Zeche Zollverein Schacht XII“, Essen, Germany

  • 2016- 20 Recipient Portfolio Scholarship at KCAD

  • President's list recipient with a GPA of 4.0

  • 2017 Internship Heyst communication development Germany

  • 2017- 2020 Recipient KCAD Merit Scholarship

  • Freelance digital media designer

  • 2018-2019 Tutor Math in Art and Design Class KCAD

  • 2018-2020 Nominated member of the Honorary National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS)

  • 2019 GR Public Museum – "Old Town Adventures" 3D Artist and animator of interactive gameplay about Grand Rapids history

  • 2019-2020 Master student of the artist Eugen Bednarek, participant Art Exhibition “Junge Visionen 2" Art Gallery Project ZKE

  • 2020 Design and development of Powderkeg Revolutionary Card Game

work by Fabian Fronz - see more at artstation.com/fabianfronz and on Instagram @fabianfronz


Glyph (Drawing)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
Think on the language of propaganda. Its order and surgical intentions. It constricts you. We release you. Artifacts are cobbled  together in a delirious battleground. We contrast organic materials with the industrial reflections of a chaotic underground rave, pulsating in computerized primal grime. Symmetry is built and destroyed through our processes. Information is forced through a system that acts like a broken assembly line. Forms are cut, grafted, or lost. History and contemporary clash. Vertigo and insanity poison our spirit and belief. But we hold it together, for there is freedom in the chaos. Do not fear it. Cast laws and norms out of your mind. They are not you. Eliminate the propaganda and its order. Be free. 

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
My most memorable experience at KCAD was Danielle Wyckoff's Drawing Materials and Processes class. It was a crucial turning point in my life as an artist. Danielle taught me how to balance raw, uninhibited creativity, with critical thinking and self-reflection. I would not have this Excellence Award without her

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Anderson Ranch Artist Residency Scholarship, 2019.

  • Finalist in the 2018 Honda Drive and Design competition.

  • Finding a dollar under the basement vending machine, 2017.

work by Glyph - see more at glyphgallery.com and on Instagram @iamglyph



Dominique McNeal (Fashion Studies)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
I’ve always had a fascination with nature, the body, the mind, and the connection between the three. It’s sometimes hard to define how things happen, let alone why, but I think it’s interesting how we, the human race, use storytelling as a means to make sense of the world around us. Being connected and having a sense of belonging is important to me and, as a designer, it is paramount to create that feeling for my customers.

"Connect" is a collection inspired by the feeling of belonging to something greater. In my research, I took imagery from surrealist paintings, ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, and oceanic creatures. In my work, I focused on creating fluidity through the element of a line as well as a sense of depth through the multiple layers in textile development.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
My most memorable experience at KCAD would have to be the 2017 Capstone Fashion Show, Nocturne. I remember volunteering as a freshman and being completely starstruck in the process of putting on a show. There was just so much energy! I remember saying to myself, “Yea, this is what I want to do!” Also, seeing the senior collections motivated me to work hard so that in the years to come my garments would too walk down the runway. I’m grateful for that experience and I’m happy I was able to have it so early on because it really set the tone for the work ethic I wanted to have.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Embroidery designs for Marchesa featured on Vogue.com for Marchesa Notte Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020 Bridal, and Pre-Fall 2020.

  • ​Fashion illustrations being displayed at the Michigan House of Representatives.

  • Gowns featured on Mood Fabrics, Joann Fabrics, and Detroit Fashion News.

  • Fashion illustrations featured on Elton John, Keren Craig, and Sareh Nouri New York’s social media pages.

woek by Dominique McNeal - see more at dominiquealyse.com and on Instagram @dominiquealyse

 

Caitlyn Straley (Graphic Design)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
Music has always had a profound impact on my life. From a young age, I remember songs helping me express myself and understand my emotions. A huge musical influence for me has been my father. He introduced me to mainstream artists like U2, Tom Petty, Nirvana, and The Beatles. More importantly, he exposed me to bands near my hometown of Midland, Michigan. I grew up understanding that talent went far beyond what was played on the radio.

Underground music is not typically fueled by sales or pleasing the masses, but rather because someone’s soul believes in it–and I find that to be incredibly beautiful. As a graphic design student, I knew this was a concept I wanted to explore at some point in my academic career. The perfect opportunity presented itself in my publication class and Filter publication was born. The name Filter came from a common problem I would encounter. Underground talent is typically hard to find which can lead to hours of unsuccessful searching. Filter simply filters through the vast Internet of Things for good music.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
One of my most memorable experiences at KCAD was working in the Communications Department as a Graphic Design Intern. During my internship, I conceptualized and executed several creative solutions for a variety of media. This opportunity gave me valuable industry experience while developing meaningful relationships within the KCAD community. In addition, seeing my work out in the real world further elevated my ambition, creativity, and excitement for the Graphic Design field.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

- 2019 West Michigan American Advertising Student Awards:

  • Bronze Award (Integrated Campaign)

  • Silver Award (App Design)

- 2020 West Michigan American Advertising Student Awards:

  • Bronze Award (Integrated Campaign)

  • Bronze Award (Logo Design)

  • Gold Award (Publication Design)

  • Gold Award (Integrated Campaign)

  • Best of Show (Integrated Campaign) 

- Worked alongside two KCAD professors (John Koziatek & Jonathan Moroney) for a collaborative partnership with Grand Valley State University as a UX/UI website designer.

- Worked in the KCAD Communications Dept. as a Graphic Design Intern for 2 years.

 

work by Caitlyn Straley - see more at cs-design.co


Emma Vanderlinden (Illustration)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
My interest in animals has been a huge part of my life. I was able to develop a relationship with nature at a very early age. My family enrolled me in nature camp every summer, where I got to explore the swamps and lakes of Michigan. My interest in illustration began when I discovered graphic novels in my school library. Graphic novels featuring animal characters showed me that I could combine my interest in nature by illustrating stories for readers of all ages. It wasn’t until I went to KCAD that I realized there was a market for natural science illustrations as well.

Regardless of the project, I always find myself creating stories around the subjects of my drawings. I feel that there is always a narrative regardless of whether the illustration is a scientific illustration, such as a dragonfly, or a fire-breathing dragon. I enjoy being able to migrate from a precise scientific illustration to an open-ended character illustration.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE

My most memorable experience while attending KCAD was the KCAD Illustration Society’s student meetup at the John Ball Zoo. As the new president of the Illustration Society, this was my first time organizing an off-campus extracurricular activity.

My artistic specialty is animals, and I wanted to offer a learning opportunity for students with similar interests in the illustration department. Our group was able to spend 3 hours doing observational sketches of red pandas, tigers, toucans, and many other animals at the zoo. I was really happy with the outcome of our work and proud of myself for organizing something I had never done before.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

I’ve had the opportunity to paint one of the monkey exhibits in the John Ball Zoo’s reptile house through my Natural Science Illustration class with Assistant Professor Nancy Hart. This class not only developed my interest in natural science illustration, but it also led me to apply for the Gordon Art Fellowship through the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. In the summer of 2019, I was accepted and worked with the staff at the institute to create educational material about the insects that populated the field station.

I’ve also worked with the KCAD Illustration Society board as their President from 2018 to 2020. Through the Illustration Society, I’ve been able to organize student shows such as the illustration program’s show at the Grand Rapids Art Museum during their David Weisner exhibition in 2019. I’ve also worked with the KCAD Art Education program to organize their annual Silent Auction for three years in a row.

 

work by Emma Vanderlinden - see more at vandeearts.squarespace.com and on Instagram @vandee_32

 

Parker Wonser (Industrial Design)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
Staplers are nice. Write a letter to King Louis XV—who invented the first stapler in 1866—to express your gratitude. A world without staplers would be a mess of loose papers.  Behind every manmade object is a designer. And there are still countless problems waiting to be solved. Parker creates solutions that encourage others to live a healthier and happier life. He aspires to create solutions that increase in value over time and envisions a product life-cycle system where waste equals food.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
Phil Renato’s digital modeling class is something I will take with me for the rest of my life. Phil's lively and energetic personality flavored the class and provided an experience unlike anything I've ever had. He soon became one of the most loved teachers because of his big heart, honesty, and breadth of knowledge. Phil has such passion for each project he tackles which makes me want to live life more wholeheartedly. I will miss seeing you around in my post-college life, Phil!

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
My year-long internship with Spectrum Health Innovations stands out as a significant accomplishment with its intensity and teamwork focus. I designed medical devices in collaboration with Grand Valley State University engineering. I became aware of my strengths and weaknesses and received a patent out for our team's design. Hospitals are currently implementing technology related to our design.

I also had the pleasure of working alongside Sweet Spot Studio, a toy design company owned by Jon Vanderbeek in Saugatuck, MI. I learned so much about the design process and specifically the toy design world.

​Lastly, it’s been a joy to work with talented people at places like Studio 11 and Calvin University who have furthered my music knowledge and enabled me to create a visionary music tool to help musicians express and capture their creativity quicker while on the move. I'm happy to share this tool soon after graduation to help benefit musicians around the world.

 

work by Parker Wonser - see more at parkerwonser.com

 

Sara Petoskey (Interior Design)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
We are all human - that is that. Studying design has given me a different perspective on the built environment, and the ways in which we interact with it. I am passionate about designing for what makes us human, and how we coexist with the physical world.

​I am passionate about exploring how our interiors affect our well-being, and how we can humanize our environments to support our best, and most natural selves. Our environments play a role larger than just a physical space. Interiors are tactile, acoustical, they have light and shadow, allowing us to interact with the physical world in a variety of ways. These factors make us consider space ergonomically; how we physically and emotionally respond to our environments. By first considering the people within a space, we can apply all of these factors to create spaces that give a sense of empowerment, dignity, and comfort to bring out the best in humans.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
My most memorable experience at KCAD is all of the late nights in the studio with friends. We would order pizza and watch Netflix on the projector while working on our projects. From endless hours of hand drafting our first year to endless hours of digital renderings our final semester, I will forever cherish the time we were able to grow together as designers.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Leading the KCAD chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) as the President of our student group

  • Participating in multiple design charettes

  • Winning a trip to the Texas IIDA Shift Student Interior Design Conference to represent KCAD.

  • Working on a cross-discipline team to design a donor wall for Kid's Food Basket

  • Interning on the Interior Design Studio Team at Haworth.

work by Sara Petoskey - see more at sarapetoskey.com

Rachel Glenn (Medical Illustration)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
I am fueled by an eternal fire to constantly learn and progress my knowledge further. My favorite part of Medical Illustration is taking information about topics that someone has spent years researching and developing, and bringing it to life. To be able to display their findings to the rest of the world in a visual way is an indescribable feeling. Sixty-five percent of humans are visual learners, and even those who consider themselves not most likely have never seen a microscopic organism like a Radiolaria, the three-dimensional shape of an alveolus, or the detachment of a retina. Every time I can take a complex topic and bring it to an audience and see the “ah-hah” moment on their face, be it for understanding or relating, makes it all worth it.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
The thirst for knowledge has always been a driving force for me. The want to understand and comprehend the world around me is what put me on the path to become a Medical Illustrator. The individuals I have run into and the opportunities given to me because of this chosen field has led to an abundance of mastery in skills I didn't even know were possible. The moment that truly shaped these abilities was the day I stepped into my first Cadaver Lab.

Through the collaboration between KCAD and Michigan State University, I was able to participate in the extraordinary Willed Bodies Program. This is where I strengthened my understanding of human anatomy, proportions, and cellular make-up, and brought about a whole new level in my artistic prowess. Each day that I left the lab, I felt my cultivated skill set flourish. This only fueled my passion more. I strive to understand the ever-evolving medical and artistic fields and eagerly anticipate the opportunities that unfold before me.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Consecutive 4 year GPA of 3.95

  • 7 (will be 8) semesters of being recognized on the President's List

  • Worked in conjunction with the Lewis Lab at Harvard University to portray the advancements in 3D bioprinting of human organs

  • Designing and 3D printing detailed and accurate representations of human anatomy

  • Participated and completed a graduate-level Prosection Lab

  • Gained anatomical knowledge through MSU's Gross Anatomy program

  • Art Day Scholarship

  • Portfolio Scholarship

  • Dean's Scholarship

  • Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship

  • Kendall Merit Scholarship​​

Exhibitions:

  • 2018 - "Jon McDonald and Friends" held at the Uptown Gallery

  • 2019 - "Treewhispers" International Collaboration held at the Kalamazoo Nature Center

  • 2019 - "Coexistence" held at the (106) Gallery and Studio

  • Recipient of the 2020 Medical Illustration Excellence Award


work by Rachel Glenn - see more at rachelglennillustration.com and on Instagram @rachelglenn_illustration



Bo Stuck (Metals and Jewelry Design)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
I consider myself to be an essentialist when it comes to design. By essentialism, I am referring to the philosophical notion that every object has a hypothetical version of itself, otherwise known as a form, and every iteration that we see in the real world is a copy/characterization of that. I believe that all design is reactionary to this concept and that the most successful designs are the most conscious of that.

How does a work of art, craft, or the written word encapsulate this concept? How does one pin down and define this concept through their work? There are no answers to these questions. As an artist and a designer, I can only react to these concepts in an inherently personal way. This exploration is just that: an exploration. To claim any definitiveness in the subjects of aesthetics and philosophy sinks any conversation about them before it has started. That said, I can do my best to illustrate through my work and prose a subjective and individual interpretation of essentialism, and present it for review, reaction, and consideration.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
My most memorable experience at KCAD was taking my first classes in the Metals and Jewelry Design program. I was so captivated by all of the processes and techniques, and getting to work with Phil, Mark, and Jess has been some of the most important learning I've ever done. I had the realization for the first time that this is something I want to do for my career and life. It was truly incredible to find an environment to give me that experience that I had been searching for.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
My most memorable accomplishment while at KCAD was making an engagement ring for my fiancee. It was truly amazing to use the skills that I have been working on for four years to make something so personal and meaningful. It was a true expression of the height of my abilities, and the hardest work I have done as a student. I couldn't have done it without Mark Baron's help. He worked with me outside of school and helped me finish the piece in a way that only decades of experience can teach. Knowing that her ring is something that I poured myself into is incredibly meaningful to both of us, and it is the most important thing I have made as a student at KCAD.

 

work by Bo Stuck


Taylor Hendrix (Painting)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
A substance whose use dates back to cave paintings is now launching a renaissance of research. The naturally occurring hallucinogen of psilocybin, a compound found in certain mushroom varieties, is catapulting into the public eye as studies reveal its potential to treat those with a history of depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. Its ability to dissolve mental roadblocks leads to a catharsis—a release that lifts the emotional weight off.

I am interested in painting the psychedelic experience, both representationally and abstractly, in order to communicate psilocybin’s alternative reality and its positive and persisting aftereffects. My art captures the transformed consciousness, where patterns of the brain shift and hypnotic visual patterns begin to surface. Through a painting process of careful rendering, undulating brushstrokes, and pushes and pulls of reverberating color, I recall my own healing experiences. When a white wall can suddenly become a mural of pearlescent fractals, a breath of life bathes the previously monotonous. 

The suspension of linear time and the shedding of one’s ego makes life’s problems feel nothing more than a blip on the radar. By seeing life through a sharper, clearer lens, the process of self-help can begin. New understandings are a salient takeaway from the experience itself, which extends to bigger questions relating to why we are apprehensive of a substance that can potentially bridge a gap in modern medicine.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
I really enjoyed setting up a group gallery show with some of my peers a few years ago.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
I'm proud of the scholarships I've earned, being on the President's List every semester, and volunteering as a kids' art instructor at Fulton Heights Salvation Army.

 

work by Taylor Hendrix - see more on Instagram @hendrixtay

 

Cassandra Schrader (Photography)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
One of the many ideas society has taught us is to find fulfillment in life. That could mean a multitude of things, all the way from buying a new favorite pair of shoes, to giving money and supplies to those in need. Ever since we were little, we have been trying to figure out what makes us happy. However, people eventually move on to the next best thing because they were not content with what they were doing. What I’ve come to realize is that people will always be searching for fulfillment and that it is inevitably a never-ending cycle of trying to achieve it.

This body of work visualizes the psychological and physical aspects of the emotions faced while searching for fulfillment. I have photographed individuals to demonstrate the stages of feeling lost as well as longing for whatever is going to make them feel content. Diptychs are utilized to create a relationship between an individual and an object within an environment. These objects, expressed or implied, are symbolic of one’s thought process during times of self-reflection.

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
My most memorable experience while at KCAD would have to be creating all the wonderful friendships within my program as well as other programs. I've made friends that will last a lifetime.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Photography Lab Technician for two years at KCAD

  • Intern for a local Grand Rapids photographer managing their social media 

  • Participated in a collaborative gallery show with fellow classmates

  • Student Liaison for the Photography program during KCAD recruiting events

  • Placed on the President's List every semester while attending KCAD

work by Cassandra Schrader - see more at cassandraschrader.com and on Instagram @cassieschrader

 

Bailey Sell (Printmaking)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
With my printmaking work, I highlight the changes and experiences that aren’t inherently visible from transitioning from one gender to another. Quite often transgender individuals are seen in society more so as a before and after photo, showcasing our bodies rather than our minds. Using processes such as screen and woodblock printing to explain my journey I show that every trans person’s journey is different, and I stress the importance of starting conversations that may be difficult about mental health, maintaining relationships, and personal growth. 

Through my work I let these conversations serve as moments of education for those who may be unfamiliar with the trans experience. Quite often my work deals with personal trauma, as creating helps me process these traumatic events that I have experienced in my life thus far. These may not always stem directly from the fact that I identify as transgender, but they all have shaped the way in which I carry myself through difficult times. 

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
I don't believe I have one specific moment that I can pinpoint as my most memorable at KCAD. I think every moment shared with the friends that I have made throughout my five years is what made my college experience memorable. To me, the best part of KCAD was being able to share space with other amazing artists, students, and professors alike. That's what made it worth it.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
 would say my most notable accomplishment would be applying what I learned at KCAD to form my own small business, Transfigure Print Co. TFPC is an LGBTQIA+ inclusive screen printing studio that caters to other small businesses by printing for them. We also donate a large portion of our funds to trans centered non-profits and organizations. Immediately after taking Intro to Printmaking, I knew I wanted to make apparel, so I started to do so by printing with woodblocks. Soon after I took a screen printing class that focused on paper prints and I taught myself how to transfer that knowledge to printing on fabric. The rest is history.

 

 

work by Bailey Sell - see more at transfigureprintco.com and on Instagram @transfigureprintco

 

 

Emma Riley (Sculpture and Functional Art)

STATEMENT EXCERPT
Picture this: you’re walking around a new art exhibition, eyeing each piece and watching others point and converse about the work. But what if you could touch and experiment with the art? I investigate this question by breaking down the fourth wall between artist and viewer. Through the lens of fine art, theatre, and set design, I explore how curating spaces and media can invoke audience interactions.

I work to topple the loftiness of tradition by empowering my audience with means and permission to create. Disrupting traditional performance and installation art, I invite people to choose from a plethora of goos and quirky objects to alter what I present. I experiment and explore as both studio and exhibition practice. 

MOST MEMORABLE KCAD EXPERIENCE
My most memorable experience at KCAD would be my involvement with INTERSPACE, a club for artists of all disciplines to collaborate on transdisciplinary works with visiting artists to Grand Rapids. I was able to work closely with The Moon, a local creative studio run by KCAD Assistant Professor Natalie Wetzel and Mark Andrus. These two artists were the advisors and/or collaborators behind many of the events I participated in and have become inspirations for my personal and professional work.

I worked with many artists on different projects like UK-based artist Bex Ilsley, GR band Hi-ker, and a red-carpet inspired fashion show. My most memorable experience was when I was able to design a small set for Hi-ker, and the INTERSPACE members helped me construct the set for ArtPrize’s Project 1. It became a significant professional project for my art career, and it taught me about the importance of client communication and visualizing a set from beginning concepts to the final product.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In 2018, I was asked to design a set for Grand Rapids news station 13 ON YOUR SIDE for ArtPrize 10. During this project, I proposed designs, constructed, and installed the set in collaboration with 13OYS and the Gerald R. Ford Museum of Grand Rapids, MI. I was advised and assisted by Professor Bob Marsh of KCAD.

In summer 2019, I was selected to be a part of the Backstage Internship of Circle Theatre in Grand Rapids, MI. I worked under Technical Director and Resident Scenic Designer Don Wilson along with two other interns for six months. Throughout the internship, we constructed six sets which taught me theatre construction skills and painting techniques. I will be interning again for the 2020 Summer Season.

In 2020, I exhibited the FAKE GALLERY and invited participants to destroy/mess up/interact with displayed art. The participatory installation gained attention in and outside of KCAD which delivered some great conversations about traditionalism and how to act in a gallery space.

 

work by Emma Riley - see more at emmarileyart.com and on Instagram @emriley13

 
 
 
 
To see more from KCAD's 2020 Excellence Award Winners, visit the 2020 Excellence Awards Online Exhibition.