By Ryan O'Connell
Several graphic arts and illustration students displayed their capstone projects in the Mazmanian Gallery April 5.
The exhibition included the collective works of six senior students, and had individual pieces ranging from mock-brand designs to contemporary illustrations.
Lorena Farias constructed her capstone for her graphic design senior portfolio – which included a social media campaign for a fictitious women’s blazer brand, a fashion forecast of a swimwear line, and real packing designs created for a wig-making business in Massachusetts.
Farias said her goal was to make sure the capstone represented her interests well, and added how the project embodied aspects of her major and minor – and hopefully aspects of her future.
“I’m a fashion merchandising major and a graphic design minor, so when I was producing work for the show, I really wanted to be able to capture both of those ... because I see myself designing in the fashion industry,” she said.
Farias described all the work on display in her section of the gallery, clarifying it is a collection of branding and identity work on various subjects. She said two were fashion brands and one a beauty brand, and that there were other small pieces included in the collection.
She spoke more about the brands in her designs next, and said “Lazer” was a blazer brand which she created the full branding and identity for, alongside a social media campaign for the company.
She also mentioned “Carioca Swim,” a fashion forecasting project she did for the spring summer 2023 season, which was inspired by her Brazilian heritage.
“When I did that, I was inspired by my Brazilian culture, so the entire brand is centralized on Rio de Janeiro, which is a very warm place known for its beaches. ... Carioca is actually the name that you would call a local in Rio de Janeiro,” she said.
Farias said the capstone was “like the final remark” that she was able to achieve working with both design and fashion. She also thought it highlighted the importance of being knowledgeable in multiple fields.
“I think it emphasizes the importance of having multiple skills. I always encourage people to find a minor that is going to not only support them in their major, but is also going to add onto those skills,” she said.
Lucille Couet, another artist in the exhibition, had a collection consisting mostly of illustrations she completed in her junior and senior years.
She said that most of her inspiration came spontaneously, referencing an illustration advertising a fictional mass grave of lobsters in Maine, and how she liked the absurdity of it. “I did that on the train – and I thought it’d be really funny to make a tourism poster about a bizarre sideshow attraction. ... And I was just like, ‘Hmm, what does Maine have a comic ton of?’”
Couet said she had no overall theme, and she just drew things she liked, remarking that it “usually turns out very colorful.
“If you make things that you like, other people will like them too. Find your audience,” she said.
Couet also brie[y explained some of the other pieces which stemmed from assignments, such as one where she had to draw the letter R 100 times in various styles, and a collection of redecorated Minute Maid cans.
Erica Doiron included ceramics and contemporary illustration in her capstone, and shared the stories behind “Memory Vessels” and “Women as Zodiacs.”
“Memory Vessels” was made up of pottery and photographs representing important aspects of her life. She said she planned to expand the collection, creating more pieces based on valuable memories.
Doiron explained a boxing glove, which was a sport she said helped her at a difficult time, and a photograph of the ocean, which was one of her happiest memories from before the pandemic.
She added she would like to expand the collection to memories of other people, and “it would be fun to have a whole gallery exhibition of that alone.”
Doiron said the piece came out with a prompt relating to memory, and she couldn’t pick just one. She added family and mental health was really important to her, and helped her settle on the project.
“I like to be able to build, but I also like to tell a story with what I can do. I feel like I have a much better handle on a 3D object,” she said.
Doiron said her “Women as Zodiacs” series was a way for her to get more practice drawing people, while also representing femininity and diversity, two aspects she said she was “really big on.”
She explained her creative process as being “all over the place,” and said it also largely depends on the medium she is working in. She added she also travels between projects a lot, and it isn’t irregular for her to “come back to it” after working with something else for a while.
“I start by brainstorming. I will throw words on paper and they might make no sense at all. I go back to it, I circle things that make sense, and then I go into sketching from there,” she said.
Paris DeMello’s project was a redesign of a magazine, presented as several two-page slides which, when folded, could act as a physical booklet. The project was created in her senior portfolio class, and was inspired by her opinion that magazines can sometimes be overbearing.
“I really like magazines and I think sometimes they’re a bit much, so I thought, how do you make it still really cool, but kind of a little more simplified so people would maybe want to read it more,” she said.
DeMello said her favorite part of creating the magazine redesign was being able to work with material that was recent, and referenced a photo spread she did for the show “Euphoria” on one of the pages.
She also said she enjoyed thinking “outside of the box” in its design. She wondered if anyone would look at the magazine and choose to rip pages out for use as posters, and designed for situations like it.
DeMello talked about some of the art done outside of her portfolio class, and said she recently worked on her biggest painting yet over her winter break. She said the canvas was approximately 5 feet high, and it was another piece she was proud of.
“I put a bunch of things from magazines in it. ... It kind of looks like a huge collage, basically. That was just super fun for me, and it was one of my favorite things I did,” she said.
Sage Ray said her collection was put together in her senior portfolio class, but most of the individual works were made in an independent study. Ray said she was able to create whatever she wanted, but focused on monsters, and made several illustrations on the subject.
Ray said the themes of her collection were inspired by her wanting to create her own interpretations of classic monsters, and her favorite animals – frogs.
“For the monsters, I thought it would just be cool to do my own take on classic characters that most people enjoy. For the frogs – frogs are my favorite animals, so I just started drawing them and it kind of turned into a series,” she said.
Ray’s corner of the show also included two physical sketchbooks the audience could flip through, which she said helped to show a lot of her ideas originate through traditional art. She added she wanted to be able to show that skill, since most of her other included work was digital.
One sketchbook was labeled by Ray as “the monster-a-day sketchbook,” which she said she used in her independent study to create a monster every day and a short blurb about them. She said her other sketchbook was “just [her] everyday sketchbook,” that was used for studio art classes.
Ray said the process of putting the collection together was a lot of fun for her. She said she “thrifted” every frame on display in the show, and she liked repurposing them as well as seeing it all on display.
“Seeing them come together as one was kind of cool too, because I never really see my work up on a wall. Individually, I think it’s just fun to make stud. It’s what I enjoy doing – a hobby,” she said.
Ray said her favorite piece in the show was a watercolor of a frog lying in bed with a woman, and said it was done for an assignment based on a book involving the frog. She added it is her only physical piece from her in the show aside from the sketchbooks.
The first of three capstone shows will be visible in the Mazmanian Gallery until April 11.