The University of Kansas Department of Design held an open house Tuesday evening, allowing visitors to admire student projects from the visual communication, animation, illustration, photography and industrial design studios.
The open house made use of three floors: the second floor showcased photography exhibitions, and the fifth displayed illustrations and animations. The third floor offered refreshments, work from the visual communication and industrial design studios, a faculty exhibition and projects from the letterpress and basic design studios.
According to the design department’s website, the school aims to help artists “thrive as innovative practitioners and socially-engaged leaders in an ever-changing professional field.”
Eight students from the design department received undergraduate research awards during the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters.
Grace Worden, a junior majoring in photography and minoring in environmental studies, said the award acts as a scholarship, allowing students to buy necessary materials to continue their projects.
Worden received the award in December to fund “No Place Like Home,” a project using film photography to document Midwestern landscapes.
“I’ve been using that to buy materials for this project,” Worden said. “Film is expensive, darkroom paper expenses, gas money, that kind of thing. I was super lucky to get that, and I love that KU is so supportive of its students.”
KU senior Tomas Andreas edited a photo in one of Chalmers Hall’s many studios on Tuesday.
Andreas, a photography major originally from New Jersey, was an undergraduate research award recipient last fall.
Andreas’ gallery, “Tomorrow Never Knows,” conveys feelings of uncertainty and anxiety resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“By relying on in-camera motion techniques and blurring several images to strip away the identities of various political figures, these devices are used to portray a sense of uniformity and representation of what figures of power constitute as a whole,” the gallery’s label reads.
“I think my influence largely stems from my upbringing,” Andreas said. “Growing up in the New York area, I think my first passion was architecture and skyscrapers, and New York was kind of full of that.”
The third floor of Chalmers was lined with work from the basic design studies.
Wesley Kemnitzer, a freshman from Kansas City, Mo. studying animation and illustration, said a lot of his inspiration comes from nature, pointing to his charcoal drawing of a crow.
Level 300 of Chalmers also showcased work from the visual communication, industrial design and letterpress studios.
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Many of the flat surfaces in Chalmers contain some form of artwork, whether it’s drawn, painted or stickered.
Sophomore Hallie Harp, from Chicago, made these illustrations to convey different aspects of her personality.
“I’m a big fan of any sort of media that can tell a really engaging story,” Harp said. “So whenever I’m lacking inspiration, a lot of my sources of inspiration can come from consuming media, like films or books that have this strong emotional as well as storytelling direction.”
23-year-old Kinsey McCormick holds a paper model she designed during her junior year. McCormick graduated from KU in May 2022 and is currently working as a freelance illustrator in Lawrence.
The fifth floor displayed work from illustration and animation students.
Sophomore Gagani Liyanawaduge created the Caslon postcard. Liyanawaduge, originally from Olathe, is studying visual communication with hopes of working in package design or branding after graduation.
She said students are usually given prompts for each assignment before designing anywhere from 50-100 sketches based on the project.
“I spent about 20 hours a week in this studio,” Liyanawaduge said.
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Chloe Anderson (she/her), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a freelance photojournalist with work also published in Climbing magazine, Kansas Reflector and Sharp End Publishing. As a recent graduate of the University of Kansas, Chloe hopes to continue her career in photography, rock climbing and writing somewhere out West.
You can view her portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Check out more of her work for the Times here.