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McPherson College Graphic Design Seniors Present Stellar Final Show

posted May 17, 2013 in CAMPUS EVENTS

Five graduating graphic design majors have made their mark at McPherson College; and as the current senior exhibition in Friendship Hall reveals, they’re now more than ready to make their mark on the world.

Aurore Joigny, Deuil-la-Barre, France; Derrick Toney, Salinas, Calif.; Shela Spencer, McPherson, Kan.; Kyler Freeman, Corinth, Texas; and Jonathan Wickramasinghe, Helendale, Calif., are showing more than 100 pieces of their graphic design and studio art work from their years at McPherson College through May 25. A public reception for the artists is set for 7-9 p.m. on that last day of the exhibit as well.

Wayne Conyers, professor of art, said the skill and artistry of these five is incredible.

“It is one of the better student exhibitions I have seen here since I started, and I have been here 30 years,” he said. “I go over to the gallery and just smile.”

Each artist’s style is clear and distinct, yet they worked together in planning the exhibit to make their work complement the others in a cohesive whole.

“To see the growth in each and every individual over there is incredibly satisfying,” Conyers said. “And that’s what we’re about. It’s not about cranking students out with the same style.”

Joigny creates work with a particularly international flair, many with a vintage feel. She has chosen a great career, she said.

“I know that I have picked the best possible life path for myself because designing and making art makes me happy,” she said.

Toney’s work is characterized by a look that seems simultaneously blocky and smooth. His subject range from sports figures to abstract images of trees and nature. Art has given him an opportunity to explore, he said.

“Ever since I was very young I had a thing for creating with no predetermined answer,” he said. “In art there is no ‘correct’ answer, just a stopping point that we as artists determine.”

Spencer works in a range of styles from rough and gritty posters, to colorful takes on Dr. Seuss. While many people don’t consider graphic design when they think of “art” Spencer sees what she does clearly as a creative pursuit.

“Graphic design is one of the biggest forms of art this century; it is everywhere,” she said. “Much like any type of art, without graphic design, the world would be less exciting and a little dull.”

Freeman works in a bold and broad style with many of his pieces featuring stylized, futuristic lettering. He said that his time at MC has helped push him into discovering a style that reflects his character.

“Art to me is a way that I can express myself visually that other people will be able to see and hopefully understand,” he said.

In his artist’s statement Wickramasinghe spoke about the difficult side of working in graphic design - the long hours and energy required to succeed. It was a struggle with costs, he said, but it has been worth it as he’s developed and created a style characterized by thick black borders and eerie effects (such as a Darth Vader and a Yoda design with glowing eyes).

“I believe it’s because of the failures or the hard things you encounter that make you the best person you can be,” he said. “I always told myself that I’d rather fail at something than to succeed, because I learn so much more from my mistakes.”

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