B.F.A. Senior Show

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Friday Dec. 2 marked the opening of the B.F.A. Senior Show located in the Radford University Art Museum Downtown. The exhibit will be on display from Dec. 2 – 14. It showcases the works of graduating B.F.A. graphic design and studio arts majors. Tonya Gardner, Paul Gartner, Danielle Glumsic, Ryan Owens and Dylan Silliphant are the featured student artists and designers.

Each student’s individual exhibit lines the walls of the bright, open space in the RUAM Downtown gallery. The displays are sleek and thoughtfully organized. Their shiny, laminated portfolios showcase the time and effort they’ve put in to their work. Some of the students have laid out professional-looking business cards, complete with links to personal websites digitally showcasing their work. Making your way through the gallery, you’ll notice the unique artistic vision each of the students conveys in their art and designs. The works on display showcase a wide range of artistic media including photography, oil painting and digital illustration just to name a few.

Danielle Glumsic’s work, “Hardly Normal,” has a whimsical flair to it. Her intricate mandalas and illustrations look like they belong in a fantastic children’s book; the kind you’d get lost in staring at as a kid. It’s no surprise that she credits Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss as sources of inspiration.

Glumsic’s mandalas, which she’s had published into a coloring book, started out as doodles in a notebook she did to relieve stress from school. “I kept a little sketchbook and free-handed mandalas everywhere I went. I drew on the beach, in waiting rooms, at dinner, during long lectures, and just about anywhere I could. About halfway through the year I came up with the idea of making a mandala coloring book. It took me about two semesters to put everything together. From hand drawing the mandalas, to making them digital, to publishing the final book.”

Glumsic says she created the large, intricate illustrations by Zen Doodling, a process that involves putting pen to paper without intentions and drawing whatever comes to mind. This freestyle creative process is actually what pointed Glumsic in the direction she chose to take with her style as an artist. “When I presented my doodles to my professors as a possible idea for my show, their reactions were not what I was expecting. They absolutely LOVED it and wanted to see more! I think that moment is when I decided what was going to be my style. As an artist, you are constantly trying to figure out what your style is and this project pushed me in a good direction. I never plan my pieces. They are a representation of my chaotic life and this is why I call my designs “Hardly Normal”.

A series of oil paintings by Tonya Gardner are impossible to miss. The piece titled “A Grave Reflection” features bold red and white stripes covering the canvas, evoking images of an American flag. The white stars and blue background in the corner seem to be pouring off the canvas. The artist’s statement says that she uses her work to explore relationships, “between connection and separation, similarity and difference, image and self,” to identify her own inner struggles with her identity and American ideology.

Many pieces showcase the art and design of every objects. In creating original designs for Lipton Tea packaging, Paul Gartner examined the brand’s history of being a high-quality product and designed packaging that was traditional and eye-catching. Ryan Owens came up with a brand identity concept for Ollie’s Farm Fresh Eatery that features colorful menus, takeout boxes and posters. These designs show that everyday items like packaging and restaurant menus can be well designed and user-friendly.

Dylan Silliphant’s exhibit had an eye-catching display for Slacker Skateboards with his original designs. His illustrations titled “Season of the Bad Guys Club” are quirky, unique and seem like they were heavily influenced by watching cartoons.  In his artist statement, he says that it’s important for him to be passionate and authentic in whatever he’s creating.

There’s still time to catch the B.F.A. Senior Show before it wraps up on the Dec. 14. Visiting the RUAM Downtown Gallery is a short walk from campus, and it’s interesting to see what the students in the graphic design and studio arts programs are creating. If you find something really special, many of the student’s works on display are for sale.