By CRISTINA JANNEY
Fort Hays State University graphic design students are highlighting the importance of collaboration in their annual show titled SYMBIO at the Moss-Thorns Gallery of Art.
“SYMBIO is the mutually beneficial relationship that we, as students, have come to know and live by. It is the act of combining different backgrounds, ideas, insights and resources to create unique connections with one another. SYMBIO adapts to perfect the balance of individuality and unity in order to create something beautiful,” the students said in their artists’ statement.
Graphic design work of 16 senior graphic design students is on display at the gallery through Friday, March 9. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The show is a culmination of all the students’ work toward graduation. Show catalogs, which the students also designed, are available at the gallery that discuss more about the students’ projects.
Michael Stueve, Erin Pascal and Jhoselin Dominguez created a 20-minute video that illustrates the students’ creative process and collaboration in creating projects for the show. The video is shown on a loop in the gallery during exhibit hours.
“We took the narrative of what it is like to receive projects and what the process is with them. We took the process of where people find inspiration … and the majority of the project is where they find inspiration and how they think through it. Our show (is) SYMBIO, which is taken off the scientific term symbiosis, which is a mutually beneficial relationship between two different animals. In people’s look for inspiration, they found inspiration most in each other.”
The video is also meant to showcase all of the students’ digital works.
Through setting up the show, Stueve said he learned cooperation and collaboration. He said he found, “the relationship we have with each other and the ability we have with each other and to inspire better, fresher ideas and talents from each other.”
Dominguez said she learned to better appreciate her fellow students’ work through creating the video.
Stueve said, “This whole show has allowed us to get closer to each other now than before, and we hang out more now. It is just a testament to that shared experience that we have here— the long nights and just often grueling work. There is a lot we have to do and a lot that is expected of us and a legacy that we have to uphold both in our work individually and in the show.”
Libby Reimer, Erin Pascal and Kollette Keeton created a branding project for a craft beer. They dubbed it Malster, the term for a brewer in medieval times.
The students used a medieval theme and horses for the beer packaging. They sandblasted the bottle and used a paper wrap for the outer packaging. The carrier resembles a barn and includes a drinking game called Drunkin’ Stallion with punch-out pieces on the rear of the box. The students also incorporated a green motif into their design to symbolize the green branch medieval brewers would place on top of their doors to signify the brew was ready.
“I think we worked really well together as a team,” Pascal said. “I have worked with other people before, and I think that this group was a really good combination of ideas, and I think we all have very similar work ethics.”
Ashley Hildebrand, senior, created CD packaging for the SWMERS “Drive North” album.
She was inspired by illustrator Jay Ryan, who has a cartoon style that often includes animals. The inside of the album opens up accordion-style to reveal a road heading north with various stops along the way denoting the track titles. The final stop on the road is Oakland, California, where the band was formed. The CD itself forms a setting sun in the package.
Hildebrand said her dream job would be to work in the music industry designing album covers, advertising and merchandise for bands.
“It helped me realize what I am most passionate about in design and what I want to strive for when I graduate,” she said.
Graphic design professor and exhibit director Karrie Simpson Voth said she was proud of the amount and quality of the work for this show, especially considering this year’s small senior class. She said the students learn much from putting on the show. They design and organize every aspect of the show, including creating tags and posters, taking photos and recruiting sponsors.
“The students learn professionalism and work in a team,” Simpson Voth said.
Students featured include Julia Blasdel, Jhoselin Dominguez, Rebekka Flax, Abby Garrett, Yichao “Rocky” Guo, Adily Hendricks, Jenice Hernandez, Ashley Hildebrand, Bryce Irvine, Kollette Keeten, Kaylea Nelson, Erin Pascal, Libby Reimer, Corbin Robinson, Michael Stueve, and Patrick Twiss. The graphic design professors also included Chaiwat Thumsujarit.