Poems, Pens, and Polymers: KCAD, FSU Students Cross Disciplines for Collaborative Exhibition
Creativity can take many forms, but some of the most intriguing expressions arise when artists and designers from different disciplines work together.
Such is the case with Indie Incubator: From Poem to 3D Print, a recent exhibition in the Ferris State University Art Gallery featuring work born out of a unique collaboration between students in Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD) Illustration program, and English, Digital Animation & Design, and Product Design & Engineering Technology students from Ferris State University.
Viewing the exhibition was a journey, as was the process behind it. Students in a Ferris literature class began by crafting poems that responded to themes of conflict: internal, interpersonal, social, and existential. From there, the poems made their way to KCAD, where they became an unusual source of inspiration for students in Professor Patricia Constantine’s Illustration Life Drawing class.
“These students are some of the hardest working and most creative artists I have encountered in my 27 years of teaching,” says Constantine. “They treated this opportunity like a job. As students were asked to create a character from the poem they received, we exposed them to open critiques with other Illustration faculty and much collaboration within the classroom. It was a wonderful learning experience.”
KCAD Illustration students getting into character (credit: Patricia Constantine)
For Illustration student Kyleah Klenke, the open-ended nature of the assignment presented an intriguing challenge.
“I had to read the poem a couple of times to figure out what I felt it was really saying. Then, I started to become more focused on the emotions my illustrations have. I tried to make sure that my characters/pieces had feeling,” says Klenke. “A poem can be interpreted in many ways, which means that there are many ways to create a character from one poem. I learned that to create a character, you must picture the kind of person that would have had these emotions or thoughts.”
Work from the KCAD students then made its way to Ferris Digital Animation & Design students, who had the opportunity to choose their favorite illustrations and translate them into digital models that were eventually 3D printed by Ferris Product Design & Engineering Technology students.
Illustrations, 2D renderings, and 3D models were displayed together in the exhibition (credit: Patricia Constantine)
Klenke had never experienced seeing her work become a physical object, but the experience was something of a revelation.
“I originally made [the illustration] for animation, but I love the way it turned out. It's even better than I imagined,” she says.
Ferris State University Gallery Director Carrie Weis, who conceived of the project, feels the exhibition was not only a window into the creative process, but an example of what’s possible when creative fields enter into conversation with one another.
“With the Indie Incubator exhibitions, we’re using the University Art Gallery as a platform to showcase the creative work our students are capable of, along with exposing the dynamic programs offered through Ferris and KCAD,” says Weis. “From Poem to 3D Print has proven to be an extremely engaging exhibition throughout the entire process.”
Viewers take in the work during the exhibition opening reception (credit: Patricia Constantine)
The exhibition’s integrated and collaborative approach has also gained attention on the international stage. Recently, Weis was selected to present Indie Incubator as a conference topic at the upcoming 13th Annual Arts & Society Conference in Vancouver, where artists, educators, and scholars from around the world will gather this June.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work performed last semester by our professors and students,” says Weiss. “I can’t wait to share the results with a diverse group of leaders."
See all of the KCAD student illustrations below: