Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dordt students win state graphic design contest

The following piece is from a Dordt College News Release written by Sarah Groneck.

A team of Dordt College graphic design students won an Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) design contest on November 19, edging out one of Iowa’s top graphic design schools in the process.

The Iowa e-Health website project and logo design contest is an initiative by the IDPH to provide Iowa residents with health information technology and encourage website use in addressing health issues.

Iowa colleges and universities were invited by the council to develop and propose a brand name and logo for the Iowa e-Health Project. Dordt was one of three colleges participating in the project. Iowa State University of Ames, which is highly ranked for its graphic design program, and Simpson College of Indianola, also took part.

Two Dordt groups—the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) student group and another graphic design group—presented the brand name “Iowa HealthLink” and three separate logotypes to the committee.

The council deliberated on eleven submitted designs, and selected Scott Vande Kraats’s design, with a design by Iowa State placing second. With a final vote, four out of six council members selected Vande Kraats’s logotype as the official chosen design.

The Dordt design team earned $500 dollars, and their brand name and logotype will be featured in health care facilities across the state of Iowa.

Students Amanda Brouwer (Escondido, CA) Sarah Groneck (Godfrey, IL), Katherine Gorter (Holland, MI), Piper Kroeze (Sioux Center, IA), Scott Vande Kraats (Sioux Center, IA), and Mark Veldkamp (Escondido, CA) traveled with graphic design professor David Versluis to Des Moines to present their brand name and logotypes to over 25 onlookers.

Versluis first learned about the opportunity through a business department professor, Brian Hoekstra. Versluis incorporated the logotype/brand name project into his Graphic Design III class curriculum and also requested that the Dordt AIGA student group take part in the competition.

“I wanted the project to give design students the experience of approaching a project in a classic way from analysis to design to implementation,” said Versluis.

“I knew that the graphic design class had some excellent designers, writers, and video producers,” said Versluis, also knowing that Iowa State University has a highly-rated art and design program. “If we organized as a cohesive group and did our best we could provide a highly professional presentation.”

Even if the team had not won, Versluis thought Dordt’s presentation went well.

“The Dordt student proposals were outstanding and very impressive,” said Versluis, “The decision to present with art mounted to large black boards was helpful and the presenters said just the right things about their design to the panel.”

The AIGA student group and graphic design group came together through the presentation.

“I was proud that it was my design that got the prize in the end,” said Scott Vande Kraats. “But it was truly a team effort, and if it hadn't been for everyone's hard work and Professor Versluis's keen sense of professionalism we wouldn't have had such a strong showing.”

IDHP will likely implement the logotype and brand name into the health care system by April 2010.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009


In this Jan. 7, 2005 file photo, artists Christo, left, and his wife Jeanne-Claude discuss their Central Park art project “The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979-2005” as they walk in New York's Central Park. Jeanne-Claude died Wednesday night Nov. 18, 2009 at a New York hospital from complications of a brain aneurysm. She was 74. Caption taken from the AP FILE — (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Reading the morning newspaper I came across an obituary piece about the passing of Jeanne-Claude last Wednesday night and I was saddened. It brought back memories, too.

As an MFA student at Western Michigan University in 1977, I and a few other students had the opportunity to meet and engage in conversation with Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They came to WMU for a few days as guest artists along with curator/author Jan Vander Marck, who had became very close to Christo and Jeanne-Claude and was an early advocate of their projects. At Western, as in many other venues, they discussed their philosophy and work such as the Valley Curtain Project in Rifle Gap, Colorado (1972). And just few months before coming to see us they had finished Running Fence (1976) in Marin County, California. Having just completed the documentary film about Running Fence, they brought it along with them and gave a running commentary while we watched the movie. It was absolutely inspiring and delightful to be there with the two of them.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Running Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California, 1972–76, © Christo, 1976, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum Purchase, Photo by Wolfgang Volz.

They were influential in that I learned how to develop skills in working with a public audience. In subsequent years it has proven to be very helpful as a graphic designer and artist working for clients, committees, church councils, and boards of directors. Through the insights into Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s art-making and implementation process of public art installation projects I was able to develop a firm yet patient attitude toward the client while working with and for an audience. Their work at times could be controversial with local governments and environment groups. However, Christo and Jeanne-Claude practiced without intimidating people and always, in my opinion, seemed gracious. This is something I’ve tried to practice in my own work for over thirty years.

A few years ago I asked that Dordt’s library purchase the video series of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s body of work. Art and design students should check them out. One interesting feature of the boxed DVD set is a running commentary audio by Christo and Jeanne-Claude while the movie is playing, similar to what I heard over thirty years ago. It’s priceless!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fish Series exhibition at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

Installation View. “Spirit Lake, Iowa Fish Series,” an exhibit of Giclée prints by David Versluis, will be on display through Dec. 11 at Luther College in the Kristin Wigley-Fleming Gallery of the Center for the Arts. Luther will host a reception for the artist Monday, November 23, 5:15-6:15 p.m. in the Gallery.

Versluis’s artist’s statement:

“God must like the smell of fish – but dead fish? It’s interesting that God’s first blessing, stated in Genesis, was for the fish of the sea and birds of the air. The works in this series are intended to be free metaphoric associations but some viewers have suggested these images speak about environmental concerns.

This series of Photoshop assemblages began in 2004 and comprise digital prints featuring a beached and dead yellow perch photographed at Spirit Lake, Iowa, in 2002. The fish image itself is loaded with meaning and conjures up many metaphors and can be thought of as a primordial symbol.

Perhaps the underlying basis for this exhibition comes from a 1966 Christian Art magazine interview with New York artist, Joachim Probst (1913–1978) who coined the statement, “Art is the stand against decay.” Probst elaborates,

Now how do I mean that art is a stand against decay? The moment you say art has something to do with line, form, color, you bring it into life and this means a stand against decay. By decay I mean rot. You live in fear or you face it through art…

— From an article in Christian Art, An interview with Joachim Probst and edited by Helene E. Nelson, Graphic House Inc., Chicago, 1966.

Spirit Lake, Iowa: Fish Triptych, Digital Prints, 2004 —
from the permanent collection of Dordt College.

As a stand against decay, my artwork tries to suggest an exploration and inquiry into the art-making process through a deeper understanding of composition, subject matter, interpretation, medium and technique. In addition, my work shows an affinity for the construction of the elements of art/design, but it is also tries to be successful on multiple levels as a form of expression and communication. I try to make work that uses enough careful observation and detail so that it is able to sustain viewer interest. In other words, it’s about the balance between form and content.

Other themes in the work may allude to ideas about trompe-l'œil by the use of drop shadows and sliced images that seem to push the optical illusion of the paper surface. By emphasizing the halftone, moiré, pixilation, and transparency I consider this body of work as being honest with the digital media. The images seem to suggest the software technology and special effects that was used to make them. I also see these images as emblematic of metaphor, simile, the design process, and the art of Japanese fish printing (gyotaku).

Giclée printing for this series is eight-color inkjet archival inks printed on Hahnemühle German Etching paper, natural white, made from 100% totally chlorine free (TCF) pulp. Images were printed summer 2007.”

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reconstituted design

Café drop-ceiling panel proposal for the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art (UICA)
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2009.

In the summer of 2009, a national call for proposals went out for architectural interior installation art and design for the new UICA building — completion date of Spring 2010. The stipulation and criteria stated that all designs had to utilize recycled or “green” materials with a maximum $3000 budget. Potential designers had to select one space from a choice of four: the reception desk, the ceramics studio ceiling, the film theatre ceiling, and the café ceiling and submit one proposal. The initial thought for this design came from an e-mailed message from somebody at Unity Christian High School of Orange City, Iowa asking if anyone had need of used CDs. The project began as a collaboration | discussion with Paul Hanaoka and Jon Dykstra.

A panel, which is displayed above, shows recycled CD disks snapped to clear jewel cases mounted to 24” x 24” acoustic ceiling panels, painted black. Identical and subsequent panels would fill the drop-ceiling metal grid system.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dean Heetderks… Pantone 032C Red

Portrait of Dean Heetderks as he discussed his graphic design work to the Dordt AIGA Student Group last Thursday evening, November 5. As a side, Dean's favorite color is Pantone 032C Red. Photo by Paul Hanaoka.

Dean R. Heetderks, Creative Director and Director of CRC Proservices for the Christian Reformed Church came to Dordt last week and presented some of his work to the art and graphic design students. On Thursday evening, he discussed aspects of his interest/passion for graphic design, communication, liturgical art, and illustration. He was interesting, experienced, and an inspiring master.

Dean started his presentation by showing his favorite type fonts. His list includes the classics: Caslon, Bodoni, Univers as well as Minion, Lubalin, Georgia and Brickham for a script style. Not wanting to give advice he made suggestions such as, when given the opportunity, always try to do pro bono design assignments for organizations that need design help. Because, it provides the experience of working for a client.

His other suggestion was learn how to draw in order to draw out your ideas. Your drawings not be highly finished renderings but rather show your thinking process with rough sketches.

As for web development, Dean listed the following favorite websites and software as especially helpful for him: Smashing Magazine, Stuff White People Like, Stuff Christians Like, Life Hacker, BritBox, Six Revisions, A List Apart, Daring Fireball, and 22 Words. His other favorites: 1Password software, Adium, Disk Utility, DVD, Font ExplorerXpress, HandBrake, Highlight, iCal, Chrome, Firebug, Yojimbo, Transmit, MPEG Streamclip, Toast Titanium, UpperBlip, Snapz Pro X, Focus IE.

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