Monthly Archives: April 2015

Diegesis: A SPU Illustration Show

Articulating judgment onto a show of student work is an exceedingly difficult task. Their skills are apparent and visibly displayed – as this group of artists have spent their years being taught technicalities and the in’s and out’s of creating work. Aside from this fact, creativity within this bunch is still budding and it is safe to say that these gifted individuals display that innovation is not quite yet grasped. The show ‘diegesis: noun: the time and place in which a story takes place features seven senior art students: Micah Ables, Julie Carlson, Brianne Hughes, Ashley Meissner, Emily Mogren, Bethenny Peter, and Elizabeth Simpson. All seven of these bright-eyed artists have created displays of two-dimensional storyboards depicting various worlds of whimsy. Collectively standing, each piece is placed in a world of it’s own, individually, each as fantastical as the next. The artists, although exhibiting clear stylistic differences, gravitate toward worlds full of emotional sentimentality – an idea not uncommon to the 20-something aspiring artist.

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With these pretences aside, Ables’ efforts standout amongst the rest, exhibiting more originality than his peers. His inspirations are clear; I am sensing a nod to the 1979 dystopian film Mad Max, but his work still seems to be relevant today in the midst of the societal obsession with apocalyptic futures. I will comment that his work does not give a complete feel of the story that he has begun to outline, which is understandable because his reference, the novel Dune by Frank Herbert, is a multi faceted commentary on politics, ecology, technology, and human emotion. However, because of his boiled down interpretation of setting and characters there seems to be a disconnect between the piece and its’ viewers.

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Digressing from the shortcomings of Ables’ work, I do commend him on the character illustrations that he has created – seeing as they are wholly unique and strike viewers with a sense that there is a deeper story to be told by each of them separately – one is left with a desire to learn more rather than dismissing them as merely illustration.

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Simpson, like Ables, pulls from a variety of external sources in her storyboard creation. The characters, although interesting, seem to have stepped out of the world of Atlantis and Treasure Planet, both Disney creations are even stories about finding one’s place in the world(s). Both are also stories of unlikely misfits joining together to obtain their goals, which is clearly outlined in Simpson’s artist statement. Aside from this oversight, the illustrations that she displays are visual appealing and draw the viewer to study each mechanical figure separately, for each are deeply intricate and highly detailed.

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An argument could be made that the artists mostly risk being too influenced by Disney, often making nods toward fairytale-esque ideas of freedom and opportunity, but I still find myself drawn toward the works of Bethany Peter. Despite my natural inclination to dismiss nostalgia, the more one observes the wide-eyed animals within Peter’s pieces the more likely one is to be transported to their days of finger paints and mid-afternoon naps. The flare Peter has for positivity and cheerful design is seemingly overwhelming and, at first glance, may be interpreted as satire on children’s cartoons to the hardened heart.

– Landry Desmond

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Diegesis: A Story to be Told

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Diegesis, as defined by Seattle Pacific’s 2015 illustrators, is the time and place in which a story takes place. These seven artists fit that noun in their own way. Each individual has a unique story to share and do so through their compositions.

Aesthetically when you first walk into the SPU Art Center you’re welcomed by cool and soothing colors that chromatically fit  with each artist’s showcase. This square of color creates a nice boundary for each Senior Illustrator’s work and is immediately intriguing in the traditionally stark, white, space.

When beginning to walk around and focus in on each individual artist, we slowly begin to find the thematic element of story in each artist’s work and composition. Though this show holds on to the similarity in the theme of story, the work has a wide range of what stories are told. For example there are adorable and animated woodland creatures by Bethany Peter which look like they could be distant animal relatives of perhaps Bambi and Thumper. This is contrasted with the dramatic and extensive work by Ashley Meisner who has forty digital illustrations, a completed movie poster and over one hundred pages of her drama-filled screenplay that showcases this fanatical world of animated wolves. It is quite astounding the amount of work completed by these budding artists, though one cannot help but notice the lack of originality despite the great quantity of work. Playful, fun, and intriguing, though lacking in creativity. This combination connects us to disney’s Balto and characters from the classic Bambi. They need the memorable originality that other artists presented in the show.

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Michal Ables displays his memorable compositions which go beyond our tangible world to demonstrate an imaginative world and beings. His claim for his story is the concept of a “story though pictures.” Though initially his story is not as clear as other artists, there is something truly beautiful about his digital illustrations. Perhaps it is because he takes familiar images such as the Grand Canyon and juxtaposes it with an unfamiliar creature. One thing is certain, compared to all of the work in this showcase, what is lacking in quantity for Able’s work, he makes up in great originality. Depth, form, color and composition all are wonderful aspects to Able’s work making him the standout for this show.

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Emily Morgan takes an approach to a more familiar story. Her composition is one that relates to the elder figure helping to educate the young. In her visual narrative, Morgan takes the story of a grandmother showing her grandson how to create his own imaginative story through watercolor. Emily uses the gray color as imagery between the flat and boring world, to the colorful and incredible world that you can imagine. The story is heart-felt, simple, yet very memorable. Overall, the work is nicely executed as well.

Some artists had stories that lacked a sufficient plot. Julie Carlson has incredible illustrations for her book she is compiling however it was more difficult to piece together what the pictures were in relationship to without the text. Similarly, Elizabeth Simpson created the premise for a graphic novel about two misfit characters. Her work shows a more conceptual process and the beginnings of creation, however it is difficult for the audience to understand the story that Simpson wished to tell with her compositions.

Artist Brianne Huges in her artist statement includes this quote;

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time… The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed … But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows.” ― George R.R. Martin

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Huges is both an author and illustrator and utilizes both to create her story. In her work she took the time to, with wonderful detail, illustrate each character for her book. Though there was less narrative, it was easy to get a sense for these characters and what their personalities might represent.

Overall, Diegesis exemplifies the meaning, though some stories had greater impact and were more memorable. Each artist had a story to tell and though some might be more distinct and clear, it was evident that each story was personal and had great meaning to each individual. Diegesis is a show I recommend you explore. Look beyond the images and realize the deeper story in which they all tell.

-Heather Dunmoyer