On Friday, March 2, the Student Juried Exhibition opened in the Wilson Galleries, featuring work from selected visual communication design majors.
The students featured in the gallery were Sara Alabdi, Morgan Binkerd, Shania Bishop, April Bowen, Jenna Drake, Logan Hensley, Jackie Grondahl, Alena Nead, Sarah Rozzi and Caroline States. Among those featured were award winners Peyton Bennett, Sarah Rozzi, Allison Armstrong, Preston Magsig, Stephen Orban, Sloan Pederson, and Cassidy Wheat.
Their best works were selected by jurors from Pivot Marketing. Ryan Abegglen, Pivot’s creative director, and Josh Taylor, Pivot’s art director, were this year’s jurors. Both are also AU alumni.
Abegglen said that they looked for student work that displayed “the kind of thinking that is required for a design or marketing career,” such as, “sensitivity to type, space, color, texture and line-weight,” which are fundamental in marketing design, according to the Pivot directors.
Cassidy Wheat’s “Sketchbook” caught attention from viewers and jurors at the opening, garnering the award for best in show. In her display, Wheat shared “Sketchbook” through a time-lapse video. The video shows her sitting barefoot, with her legs crisscrossed, on a wooden floor beside potted plants. She turns each page of her sketchbook, flipping the view of every picture upright.
The jurors from Pivot Marketing were “impressed” with Wheat’s “Sketchbook,” noting that “the artist is already thinking about form and composition, and she did some story boarding and that’s a real world skill that a lot of people lack” and with that “she’ll slide right into professional practicing.”
After awarding Wheat’s piece “Matchless” with an honorable mention, Taylor said: “We were thinking about layers, so one of the small details that stuck out to me was a lot of inclusion in her foreground, an interesting inclusion, clouds in the sky, and all of a sudden that color that fits the background color in the foreground color makes space for the composition. It’s a smart illustration.”
Taylor also shared his thoughts on Wheat’s “Sketchbook.”
“The simplicity of it, I like that it’s constantly changing direction,” he said. “We knew almost immediately that it would probably be the thing that we [would award best in show] because there’s so much demonstrated there that goes into what it’s like to professionally practice design.”
“I like to tell stories through my artwork, so I’m a storyteller,” Wheat said. “I like to draw, illustrate and make animations that tell a story. Hopefully it’s a good story that touches people.”
Wheat said that she tells her stories “visually, with heart.”
When asked why she does design, she said, “It’s my passion. It’s the thing that I have seen as a pattern throughout my whole life. I’ve worked really hard to develop my talent. It’s my calling to do that.”
Wheat said that her passion keeps her going.
“I think change can be made if you love something,” she said. “You just need passion to really reach people, and I think passion is something that you love enough to sacrifice for.” Also, she said that passion is “fleeting” and perhaps “dying.”
She hopes when people view her work that “they will leave inspired.”
“If something has your heart in it, then usually there’s a little spec of inspiration,” she said. “Not every story will touch everyone, not every story will make sense to everyone, but I just hope that it talks to them just enough so that they’re like, ‘I want to make my own.’”
Additionally, she said that “sometimes you can get selfish with your work and you don’t want other people to get better around you” so that passion might be “revived.”
When asked what she wants viewers to take away from her work, she said, “I just hope it sparks an inspiration so they can pursue their own passions.”
Wheat was asked where she might be in ten years: “Hopefully sleeping more, honestly. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the same, tired, drinking coffee—I’ll be covered in coffee. Hopefully I am still making stories, and hopefully with a bigger audience than Anderson.”