Faculty Feature: Il Sung Na!

This year the KCAI Illustration Web Team is launching a few new features one of which will focus on our faculty, all of whom are working illustrators/artists. Our first feature is on the newest member of our faculty team, Assistant Professor Il Sung Na. This summer, Il Sung and his wife relocated from New Jersey to Kansas City. We were able to catch up with him recently and ask him a few questions about this new position, his first impressions of the Midwest and what he loves about being an illustrator and educator. 

1.  When did you first realize that you wanted to be an illustrator?

When I first got into an art college, I only knew that I like drawings but nothing more than that. Then I met a friend who loved children’s picture books and we spent a lot of time together in bookstores. I was fascinated by how picture books can tell stories with illustrations. Text and illustration are telling the same story but different ways. In a picture book, illustrations extend, clarify, complement, or take a place of words. And as a visual person and also a non-English speaker, this was a perfect way to tell my stories without saying/writing too many words. Since then, I wanted to make picture books with my stories and that’s exactly what happened. 

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2.  What has been the most challenging aspect to your craft and profession?

Keeping a creative routine. Although I love creative processes, sometimes it gives a hard time to go through. I enjoy the process of thumbnail sketches, character drawings and colors, however I always have a hard time to come up with ideas and write stories. So I spend more or less half potion of times from a whole creative process to find good ideas/stories. There are also lots of thumbnails and crossed out lines (there are lots of revisions involved), but I have to keep drawing/making/creating until I get it right. It’s a kind of routine we (as creative people) cannot get away. Productivity comes at a price. 

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3.  Who has been your mentor? What makes you different from them and the same?

I had a professor at my foundation who discovered my talent of drawings and lead me to the right direction. He emphasized students to draw from life. Observation drawing was the key with his assignments.  

And there are more! Although I haven’t met them, I learned a lot of things from their works. I know this may not what you meant, but this is how I learned and found my ways of working.

I made my first dummy book when I was a sophomore level, but I did not know anything about a picture book. So I used picture books as my mentors. The Rabbit by John Marsden (author) & Shaun Tan (illustrator) and Slow Loris by Alexis Deacon. I read the books over and over, exam layouts, compositions and flows in the books. I really enjoyed the ways they tell a story. Simple text but just enough, and illustration does the rest of the job. Shaun Tan and Alexis Deacon are still among my favorites, and I was influenced by their works very heavily from the beginning. Maybe that’s why all of my picture books have simple texts, only one or two sentences on each spread. Maybe because I still believe that illustration can tell more stories than texts.

There are many artists/illustrator who I got inspirations from, such as Kveta Pacovska, Quentin Blake, Brian Wildsmith and John Birningham. And of course, there are a lot more because I keep adding artists to my lists.

My recent discovery of Javier Zabala, Spanish illustrator, made me to try watercolor after being away from it for many years because I did not enjoy using it. At first I tried to make a drawing like his, then I modified the ways of working with my tastes, adding color pencils and marker pens. 

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4. What are you most excited about with this position?

Well, what’s the most rewarding is when I know that students make some progress in their works in any way. I am no difference, but I want to see students prove me wrong in a way, too. I try to be honest but all feedback and critique are from my perspective and we all have different experiences and different opinions. Sometimes we agree but sometimes we disagree. I think that’s the moment that students really jump in and dig deeper, and show what they can do. I wait for that moment to happen. And once it happens, I appreciate and enjoy the moment.

5. What are your first impressions of the Midwest?

Green, hot summer, kind people and Antiques! 

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6.  What part of your career best prepared you for educating?

This is a tricky question indeed. Because I am still learning things from others and I guess this is on going process which never ends.

When I was in college, I had good professors and great studio mates throughout years. But I did not get specific feedback for picture books as there were no one who had experiences in the children’s picture book industry. I learned many things while I worked with publishers and year after year I gained more experiences that I want to share with students who want to be an illustrator (or storyteller). When I looked back my student years I sometimes wondered if I had some experienced people around, I would have learned more efficiently? Maybe or maybe not. But that made me consider sharing my experiences.  

Also working with clay is one of my strength. Nowadays it’s not strange at all that illustrators work with different media like ceramics. I have started working with clay knowing nothing and wanted to get away from my daily creative routine. I just wanted to have some fun, make a lot of junks. However, it certainly added to my artistic repertoire and enriched my range as a visual creator and a storyteller. It was a kind of ‘AHA’ moment. And I want students to try some different materials because we never know what we are capable with until we try. 

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7. What career did you think you would have when you were a child?

Architect! My dad was an architect and I lived in a house that he built when I was a kid. Although I had a different path to study industrial engineering when I was in Korea, I was fortunate to pursue my parent that I had a passion for drawing. 

I still dream about design or draw my future house in the future though. Maybe one day I will do. 

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8. What keeps you inspired? Do you have a mantra or philosophy to your work?

A lot of things really. It can be from conversations with people, in exhibitions, watching documentary films or anything touches my curiosity. Sometimes it starts from a word or an image. I keep my eyes and ears wide open you can observe so many things. Always ask to myself how and why. I also keep recording ideas on my sketchbooks otherwise I will forget them after seconds.

"Keep It simple" has been my motto. Sometimes less is better. I understand that we want to show so many things at once but showing one at a time makes it easier to understand.

"If there is something to steal, I steal."  -Pablo Picasso

This is the quote that I have been following since I was a student. I don’t mean to steal physical things or other artists’ ideas. What I mean by that is learning from others.

There is always something to learn. I learned good compositions from photograph, movie scene or painting and use it my works. I learned how to write a story by reading other people’s story. It’s not copying other people’s work. You need to digest it in you well and make it yours. We are creative people but it’s really hard to create something from nothing.  

BIG thanks to Il Sung for taking the time to answer our questions. Welcome to KCAI, Il Sung! To see more of Il Sung's work be sure to visit his website.

2017 Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference!

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Conference is coming up! Mark your calendars for November 3-4, 2017. This year's conference will be held at the KU Edwards campus in Overland Park, Kansas. The Kansas/Missouri region of SCBWI will host a day-long conference on Saturday the 4th with agents, authors and editors from across the nation offering keynotes and informative breakout sessions for those interested in writing/illustrating picture books, middle grade or young adult novels. Friday the 3rd will consist of portfolio and manuscript reviews, along with a regional social. Many of the speakers/reviewers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, but paid conference attendees will be able to submit manuscripts to them after the conference which is an added benefit of attendance.

Those interested can visit the website at https://ksmo.scbwi.org for information on registration, faculty bios and the conference schedule. If you have further questions, please send an email to ksmo@scbwi.org.

SCBWI 2017 flier.jpg

Happy Eclipse & Happy First Day of the Semester!

Welcome to all of our new sophomores and transfer students and welcome back to all of our returning students! The new semester is here! Although we had a pretty steady downpour this morning, the skies cleared up just enough for all of us to go outside and witness the 2017 Solar Eclipse. Wow, it was amazing! We're all looking forward to another fantastic year! What a way to kick it off!

KCAI Illustration students and faculty, getting ready to watch the 2017 eclipse

KCAI Illustration students and faculty, getting ready to watch the 2017 eclipse

2017 KCAI Art & Design Auction!

After a month of wrapping things up, the summer is officially upon us. Yay! The 2017 Art & Design Auction is this Saturday, June 3! All of the full-time Illustration faculty have work in the auction this year. We are proud and honored to support KCAI in its effort to raise funds for student scholarships.

Assistant Professor Maura Cluthe was recently interviewed by KC Studio Magazine about why she continually donates work to the auction:

Maura Cluthe, assistant professor of illustration and KCAI alumna, knows first-hand the impact scholarships make to students. The amount of financial aid she received from KCAI helped her make her final decision to come to Kansas City for college. 

“Since the inception of the KCAI Art & Design Auction, I have donated work to the auction. As a student, I relied heavily on my student scholarships and worked very hard to maintain them. They enabled me to be here; I am immensely grateful for that. As an alumna and now as a faculty member, I am happy to donate work to the auction with the hope that it will not only find its way into a new home, but also help to support a student like me. Every little bit helps, and can make all the difference. I’m honored to be a small part of this ongoing effort to support our students,” said Cluthe

Cluthe’s art blurs the lines between art, illustration and design. Her mixed media work integrates text drawing, photography, painting and other things she has collected. Her donated piece, “Arrange and Rearrange”, oil, alkyd, enamel, enamel marker on canvas, 48 x 48 inches, is valued at $2,800.

Below are the pieces that were donated by KCAI Illustration faculty. For more information on the auction, or to bid on a piece, visit https://donate.kcai.edu/auction .

Steve Mayse, 2nd Hand Rose

Steve Mayse, 2nd Hand Rose

David Terrill, Jazz Capitol

David Terrill, Jazz Capitol

Hector Casanova, Soft Like A Prayer

Hector Casanova, Soft Like A Prayer

John Ferry, Omaha

John Ferry, Omaha

Maura Cluthe, Arrange and Rearrange

Maura Cluthe, Arrange and Rearrange

2017 End of Semester Show preview #2!

AH!! We're less than a week away from the 2017 End of Semester Show opening!! We hope you can join us THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 28 from 5-8 pm as we kick off the show. As promised, here's another little sneak peek of some of the fantastic work that makes up the show this year. We hope to see YOU there!! (Second show poster by senior Coti Meier.)

Coti Meier, senior

Coti Meier, senior

Allie Davenport, sophomore

Allie Davenport, sophomore

Courtney Belisle, senior

Courtney Belisle, senior

Max Peake, junior

Max Peake, junior

Harper Swindell, senior

Harper Swindell, senior

Penny Clarkson, junior

Penny Clarkson, junior

Allason Lewis, senior

Allason Lewis, senior

2017 End of Semester Show preview!

YES! It's that time once again (!) and once again, I can't believe it's the end of yet another year. Last night, the full-time faculty got together to review and jury the work that was submitted for the annual End of Semester Show. We are SO PROUD of our students and the wonderful work they're doing. We're looking forward to showcasing some of this work with you next week.

JOIN US next Friday, April 28 from 5-8pm for the opening of the 2017 KCAI Illustration End of Semester Show and Pop-Up Shop at 324 East 43rd Street, here in KCMO. The KCAI Illustration building is located on the corner of 43rd and Oak Street. If you can't make it to the opening, feel free to stop by on either Saturday, April 29 from 10am-5pm or Sunday, April 30 from 12-5pm to view the exhibit.

To kick off the show, here's one of two promo posters for the show, illustrated and designed by senior Steven Bolds as well as a preview of a few images of the pieces that will be on exhibit.

We hope to see you there!!

Steven Bolds, senior

Steven Bolds, senior

August DeMarea, sophomore

August DeMarea, sophomore

Shafer Brown, senior

Shafer Brown, senior

Michelle Julmisse, sophomore

Michelle Julmisse, sophomore

Cameron Kunke, junior

Cameron Kunke, junior

Jeff Schoenhofen, sophomore

Jeff Schoenhofen, sophomore

Miles Klos, junior

Miles Klos, junior

Coti Meier, senior

Coti Meier, senior

Cooper Parish, sophomore

Cooper Parish, sophomore

Megan Henley, junior

Megan Henley, junior

Rottana Kul, senior

Rottana Kul, senior

Jess Bonniwell, junior

Jess Bonniwell, junior

Jaycie Womack, sophomore

Jaycie Womack, sophomore

Ethan Tucker, senior

Ethan Tucker, senior

Gabbi Brandini, junior

Gabbi Brandini, junior

Katya Heisel, senior

Katya Heisel, senior

Thanks for checking out the work! Stay tuned for another preview early next week!

Society of Illustrators Student Competition 2017 winners!

Every year the Society of Illustrators puts out a call for entry for their highly competitive Student Competition. Students from across the country enter; this year just over 2300 students submitted work but only 220 of them were chosen for inclusion in the show. 78 schools from across the country are represented in this year's exhibition. We are extremely proud of our students and proud to be one of the schools represented in this show.

All of the pieces below will be on display at the Museum of American Illustration in New York, NY from May 9 - June 3 with an opening reception and awards ceremony on Friday, May 5, 2015.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of the 2017 winners! We're so proud of you!! 

Alison Polston, '16 / alisonpolston.com

Alison Polston, '16 / alisonpolston.com

Steven Javon Bolds, senior / stevenjavon.tumblr.com

Steven Javon Bolds, senior / stevenjavon.tumblr.com

Shafer Brown, senior / www.shaferbrown.com

Shafer Brown, senior / www.shaferbrown.com

Willow Hardman, sophomore / willowhardman.daportfolio.com

Willow Hardman, sophomore / willowhardman.daportfolio.com

Allason Lewis, senior / allasonlewis.com

Allason Lewis, senior / allasonlewis.com

Coti Meier, senior / www.cotimeier.com

Coti Meier, senior / www.cotimeier.com

Lauren Seider, senior / yellowraincoatsociety.com

Lauren Seider, senior / yellowraincoatsociety.com

The 2017 Covers + Pages Anthology is on its way!

Covers and Pages is a junior-level sequential storytelling course in which illustration students are encouraged to tell short, sequential, visual narratives. Oftentimes these narratives are without text, so the narratives rely exclusively on visuals as a means to tell the story. 

Every spring, Assistant Professor Maura Cluthe and Assistant Professor Hector Casanova compile and curate the content for the anthology. The covers, however, are judged by various comic book artists from the Kansas City Community. This year, we were lucky enough to have Buster Moody and Matt Fox stop by and jury the covers this year. What an honor!

Matt Fox and Buster Moody in the house!

Matt Fox and Buster Moody in the house!

Buster and Matt graciously joined us one evening in March to jury the covers. With 28 students in the junior class, there were plenty of great covers to choose from. After some back-and-forth deliberation, Buster and Matt narrowed it down to 6 covers and then narrowed it down again to these final 4. For the final anthology, we'll be printing 2 separate books with 4 different covers but the content within the two books will be the same. 

Please join me in congratulating Emily Alvarez, Astrid Blurr, Max Peake and Brinnon Schaub whose work will be on the covers of the 2017 Covers & Pages Anthology! Congratulations, too, to runners-up Gabbi Brandini and Cameron Kunkel! Congratulations all!

Emily Alvarez

Emily Alvarez

Astrid Blurr

Astrid Blurr

Max Peake

Max Peake

Brinnon Schaub

Brinnon Schaub

Gabbi Brandini

Gabbi Brandini

Cameron Kunkel

Cameron Kunkel

Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski visits KCAI

Every semester, we the faculty put together a 3-hour Mystery Project for our students. Although the timing of the Mystery Project is typically on the first Monday after Spring Break, until it's announced, the students don't know what the project is going to be - they only know that they'll have 3 hours to complete it. Every full-time faculty member takes a turn to create a Mystery Project and this spring, it was up to Assistant Professor John Ferry to put it together.

John had heard Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski speak at Hallmark several years ago when he was working there as a studio manager. What she had to say about her experiences was life-changing, impactful and unforgettable. In an effort to expose our students to Sonia's story, John reached out to Sonia's oldest daughter, Regina, who helps to coordinate Sonia's many speaking engagements. Sonia loves speaking to young people, specifically, as it is her hope to tell her story so that it is not forgotten and so that the atrocities of the Holocaust never happen again.

Sonia and her daughter, Regina, were kind enough to take some time to stop by and talk with our students yesterday. Senior Coti Meier posted about her experience in hearing Sonia speak and summarized her visit so eloquently:

"Yesterday KCAI Illustration hosted Sonia Warshawski to tell her story of how she survived the concentration camps during the Holocaust. She told some horrific accounts of what happened to her, what she saw and stressed the importance of reading history, but the most important topic of Sonia's speech was love. She said, "MOLD THEM WITH LOVE," emphasizing the importance of shaping a child's life with love. This resonated with me because she went through immense trauma at a young age, yet she is still here today to tell us to love and to put out hate. Something so simple, yet has the ability to do so much. She is an incredible woman and I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to listen to Sonia speak."

After hearing Sonia's story, we asked each student to create an image based on her story using the words CONVICTION or RESILIENCY as a springboard for their idea. Here are a few pictures from Sonia's visit as well as a few of the images that were created.

BIG THANKS to Sonia and Regina. Sonia, thank you for sharing your story. Our hearts are with you! Hats off to John Ferry, for making this happen. 

For more information about Sonia and the upcoming documentary about her experience, be sure to visit bigsonia.com

Sonia Warshawski and Steve Mayse, Illustration Chair and Professor

Sonia Warshawski and Steve Mayse, Illustration Chair and Professor

Sonia Warshawski and sophomore Eien Carpenter

Sonia Warshawski and sophomore Eien Carpenter

Sonia Warshawski, her daughter Regina Kort and Assistant Professor John Ferry

Sonia Warshawski, her daughter Regina Kort and Assistant Professor John Ferry

Sonia, telling her story to Illustration students and faculty

Sonia, telling her story to Illustration students and faculty

Coti Meier, senior

Coti Meier, senior

Brinnon Schaub, junior

Brinnon Schaub, junior

MacKenzie Fulmer, sophomore

MacKenzie Fulmer, sophomore

Steven Bolds, senior

Steven Bolds, senior

Jack Mied, junior

Jack Mied, junior

Allie Davenport, sophomore

Allie Davenport, sophomore

Miles Klos, junior

Miles Klos, junior

Emily Alvarez. junior

Emily Alvarez. junior

Lana Hughes, sophomore

Lana Hughes, sophomore

Claire Harlow, junior

Claire Harlow, junior

Students - if your artwork is posted here and your name isn't listed, please email me, Maura Cluthe, and I'll add your name by your image. Thanks.

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN 15, 2017

Illustration Faculty – Non-Tenure Track Full-Time

The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI), a national leader in visual arts and design education, is seeking applications for the full-time position of Illustration Faculty. KCAI offers an exceptional benefits vacation and holiday package for full-time staff including 100% employer paid insurance and a 5% retirement match for eligible participants.

The appointee will be contracted to hold a full-time faculty post in the illustration department teaching a full load of 18 contact hours or 9 credit hours per semester. Teaching responsibilities include sophomore, junior or senior level major studio. In addition to teaching responsibilities full-time faculty expectations include service to the department and the college community through various means as well as an ongoing professional practice.

The Department of Illustration:

Illustration students work with traditional and digital media to develop the conceptual, technical and aesthetic skills necessary for success in the diverse range of practices in this evolving field. Courses such as Drawing and Design Systems, Exploring the Narrative and Visual/sequential Storytelling are geared toward enabling students to simultaneously express themselves as artists while learning how to communicate substantive visual messages.

Students work on collaborative assignments and are required to participate in an internship that provides real -world exposure to creative issues in professional work settings. The department features studio and classroom technology to prepare students for diverse areas of professional practice. Work in a digital and an analog environment is designed to facilitate creativity and interdisciplinary approaches to image making.

Department faculty members are all practicing professionals working in the four corners of the illustration field: publishing, editorial, advertising and institutional. The faculty’s combined experience is passed on to students in preparation for their own careers. See more at http://kcai.edu/academics/majors/illustration/ and www.kcai-illustration.com.

Education and Experience Requirements:

  •   MFA in illustration or a related field

  •   A minimum of 2 years teaching experience and professional practice in illustration

  •   Evidence of professional achievements in the field of illustration

  •   Knowledge of software programs including Adobe Creative Suite

    About KCAI: The Kansas City Art Institute is a private, independent and accredited college of art and design founded in 1885, and located in the cultural heart of metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri. The college enrolls nearly 600 undergraduate students regionally, nationally, and internationally. For more information, please visit www.kcai.edu.

    Application Deadlines and Procedures: Although the position is open until filled, fullest attention will be given to those applications received by January 15, 2017 (this is an extension of the original deadline of December 1, 2016). Applications received during the on-campus finalist stage of the search are not guaranteed consideration.

  • apply by e-mail to: jobs+IllusNT1718@kcai.edu attach to the e-mail in PDF format only:
  • letter of application
  • curriculum vitae
  • statement of teaching experience and philosophy
  • list of active and workable web link(s) to personal and/or commercial work as well as supervised student work with project descriptions where applicable
  • list of 3 professional references we may contact

Applications with accessible PDF files and workable web links will normally be acknowledged by return e-mail within one week of submission.

Questions may be directed to:  KCAI Director of Human Resources HR@kcai.edu / 816-802-3434

Kansas City Art Institute is fully committed to Equal Employment Opportunity and to attracting, retaining, developing and promoting the most qualified employees without regard to their race, gender, gender identity, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, citizenship status, veteran status, or any other characteristic prohibited by federal, state or local law.

KCAI provides reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in the job application process. If you have any difficulty using our online system and you need an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact the Human Resources Department about your interest in employment. Any questions or concerns can be directed to Kansas City Art Institute’s Human Resource Administrator at hr@kcai.edu .

EOE/AA: Minorities/Females/Disabled/Vets

2016 End of Semester Show preview

Every year at this time of year I find myself completely amazed at how fast the semester has flown by and I wonder where the time has gone. Once again, our students have created some wonderful, inspiring, thoughtful work - we're so proud of you all! To give you a taste of what's going to be in the show, we've decided to give you a little sneak peek and show some of the work here. But don't take our word for it -- come by and see the entire show for yourselves! There are close to 150 pieces in this year's show. Join us for the opening THIS FRIDAY, May 6 from 5-8 pm! KCAI Illustration is at 324 East 43rd Street, KCMO, 64111. Hope to see you there!

The show continues this Saturday, May 7 from 10am-5pm and will be open again on Sunday, May 8 from 12-5pm.

Twodee Weaver, senior

Twodee Weaver, senior

Coti Meier, junior

James Meid, sophomore

James Meid, sophomore

Karolina Asimov, senior

Karolina Asimov, senior

Steven Bolds, junior

Steven Bolds, junior

Jess Bonniwell, sophomore

Jess Bonniwell, sophomore

Tobias Rose, senior

Tobias Rose, senior

Ethan Tucker, junior

Ethan Tucker, junior

Cece Martin, sophomore

Cece Martin, sophomore

Emily Woodson, senior

Emily Woodson, senior

Luna Green, junior

Luna Green, junior

Gabrielle Brandini, sophomore

Gabrielle Brandini, sophomore

JOIN US for the 2016 KCAI Illustration End of Semester Show!

JOIN US on Friday, May 6th from 5-8pm to view the 2016 End of Semester Illustration Exhibition, featuring works by sophomore, junior, and senior illustration students. The exhibition will be open to the public throughout the weekend. Refreshments will be served!

Come on by! We'd love to see you!

Stay tuned for a preview of the work that'll be in the show, here.

KCAI Illustration 2016 End of Semester Show poster by junior Lauren Sieder

KCAI Illustration 2016 End of Semester Show poster by junior Lauren Sieder

Society of Illustrators Student Competition 2016!

We just found out that several of our students and recent alums have had work accepted into the Society of Illustrators Student Competition! AH we're so proud of you all!  

All of the pieces below will be on display at the Museum of American Illustration in New York, NY from May 10 - June 4, 2016 with an opening reception and awards ceremony on Friday, May 13, 2016. A full color catalog will also accompany the exhibit.

Check out the winning pieces below. Big congrats everyone!! 

Title: Age of Information Artist: Rosie Ruzicka Medium: Digital Instructor: David Terrill

Title: Age of Information

Artist: Rosie Ruzicka

Medium: Digital

Instructor: David Terrill

Title: Keep it Weird Artist: Kelsey Wroten Medium: Ink and Digital Instructor: David Terrill

Title: Keep it Weird

Artist: Kelsey Wroten

Medium: Ink and Digital

Instructor: David Terrill

Title: Ouija Alphabet Soup Artist: Allason Lewis Medium: 3D Mixed Media Instructor: Hector Casanova

Title: Ouija Alphabet Soup

Artist: Allason Lewis

Medium: 3D Mixed Media

Instructor: Hector Casanova

Title: Wild Artist: Coti Meier Medium: Ink pen and acrylic with digital finish Instructor: Maura Cluthe

Title: Wild

Artist: Coti Meier

Medium: Ink pen and acrylic with digital finish

Instructor: Maura Cluthe

Title: Bicylce Shadows Artist: Courtney Belisle Medium: Ink Instructor: Johne Richardson

Title: Bicylce Shadows

Artist: Courtney Belisle

Medium: Ink

Instructor: Johne Richardson

Coming to the Kansas City Auto Show!

Three Illustration students from the Kansas City Art Institute, in cooperation with the Kansas City Auto Show and the Art of the Car Concours, are wrapping three BMW MINIs with original artwork for display at this year's Kansas City Auto Show. The program is coordinated through KCAI's Sponsored Studio program where student find creative solutions for area businesses. KCAI's Illustration students were asked to create unique designs that could be applied to cars. Representatives from the KC Auto Show, BMW, and Art of the Car Concours selected the top three designs for display at the Auto Show, held March 2-6, 2016 at Bartle Hall.

The three senior Illustration students whose work was selected for the program include Alison Polston from O'Fallon, MO; Emily Woodson from Pensacola, FL and Twodee Weaver from Austin, TX. 

Illustration/concept by Alison Polston

Illustration/concept by Alison Polston

Illustration/concept by Emily Woodson

Illustration/concept by Emily Woodson

Illustration/concept by Twodee Weaver

Illustration/concept by Twodee Weaver

The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite design while attending the Auto Show. The Automobile Dealers of Greater Kansas City Charitable Foundation will award scholarships to the three students based on public vote. The car with the top votes will receive $2000, second place will receive $1000 and third place will receive $750. The three final designs were culled from 13 student entries.

Additional partners in this project include Baron MINI, who provided the three Mini Coopers and Wrap It Up! Vehicle Wraps in Shawnee, KS.

BiG CONGRATS to Alison, Emily and Twodee!

Fall means....the 4x4s are coming!

Every fall, sophomore students in John Ferry's Color & Space class take on the daunting task of creating a 4x4 foot self-portrait. Each portrait, made up of roughly 2300 individually painted squares, comes together over the course of 8-16 weeks throughout the semester. Students create the portraits using oil; for many of them it's the first time they've created a piece this large and it's the first time they've painted in oil. Here are just a few of the wonderful pieces that are popping up within the studio. It's always fun to see these come together!

Sophomore Claire Harlow working on her 4x4

Sophomore Claire Harlow working on her 4x4

John Ferry's Color & Space class

John Ferry's Color & Space class

Sophomore Megan Henley working on her 4x4

Sophomore Megan Henley working on her 4x4

Sophomore Astrid Blurr with her completed 4x4

Sophomore Astrid Blurr with her completed 4x4

Big thanks JooHee!

This October, we were lucky enough to have super-talented JooHee Yoon join us for a day as a visiting artist to our department. 

Visiting Artist JooHee Yoon with Assistant Professor David Terrill

Visiting Artist JooHee Yoon with Assistant Professor David Terrill

Needless to say, we were all very excited to have JooHee join us for a day. Her fun, colorful, printmaking-inspired work is something that many of us have admired for some time. Her recently released books, Beastly Verse and The Tiger Who Would Be King, both published by Enchanted Lion Books, have created quite a buzz, in addition to her multifaceted editorial work.

JooHee surprised our students by giving them each a print from her recent book, Beastly Verse -- it was a bit of a stampede as students went up to claim their print! She also brought a stack of her recent picture books to sell. I think she sold every last one!

What a wonderful surprise!

What a wonderful surprise!

IMG_8929.JPG

At the end of the day, we all get together for a Q&A session with our visiting artist. This is a chance for the students to ask JooHee all sorts of questions. The students had a lot of great questions and JooHee provided some wonderful insight.

The Q&A discussion begins!

The Q&A discussion begins!

Every visiting artist that comes to KCAI Illustration gives our students a project. All the students within every level in the department participate and create a piece for the project; they usually have about a week to complete it. For her project, JooHee challenged the students to create an 18x24 inch travel poster to a place that could be real or imagined. As an instructor, I always love to see what the students come up with and once again, I was amazed. There were some wonderful pieces!!

The final step for our visiting artist is for them to select what they consider to be the top 25-30 solutions for the project. Out of those 25-30 pieces, they select their Top 3 solutions. The students whose work is selected as one of the Top 3 have the opportunity to go to dinner with the visiting artist! Congrats to the Top 3 picks senior Taylor Fourt, junior Ethan Tucker and sophomore Gabrielle Brandini!

Taylor Fourt

Taylor Fourt

Ethan Tucker

Ethan Tucker

Gabrielle Brandini

Gabrielle Brandini

Dinner with JooHee at Cafe Trio, Kansas City, MO. Also present Assistant Professor David Terrill, Assistant Professor John Ferry, Instructor Hector Casanova, Instructor Kyle Strahm and Assistant Professor Maura Cluthe (taking the picture!). What a fun night!

Dinner with JooHee at Cafe Trio, Kansas City, MO. Also present Assistant Professor David Terrill, Assistant Professor John Ferry, Instructor Hector Casanova, Instructor Kyle Strahm and Assistant Professor Maura Cluthe (taking the picture!). What a fun night!

There were so many strong solutions to this project, that JooHee had a hard time narrowing it down to these final three. So, she chose 3 Honorable Mentions as well. Congrats to senior Alison Polston, senior Karolina Akimov and sophomore Max Peake! 

Alison Polston

Alison Polston

Karolina Akimov

Karolina Akimov

Max Peake

Max Peake

Thanks again, JooHee, for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and visit with us!


Art of the Car Concours 2015

We're just a little over a week away from the annual Art of the Car Concours event! Art of the Car Concours was initiated in 2007 by event originator/ KCAI supporter / car collector Marshall Miller. Miller wanted to create an event that highlights unique, vintage automobile, race car and motorcycle design. Additionally, it is also a benefit event for the Kansas City Art Institute Scholarship Fund. For this year's event, Assistant Professor John Ferry worked with Marshall Miller to provide an opportunity to students to create artwork for the event catalogue through John's Illustration elective, The Voice. This year's theme: Dream Cars of the Mid Century.

In addition to having their work printed and part of the 2015 Art of the Car Concours catalogue, individual prints will be available for sale at the event on Sunday, June 28, 2015. Congratulations to all the students below!

For more information on Art of the Car Concours, visit their website.

Another fun Rail Project this year!

Every year, sophomores in the Illustration Department take part in the "Rail Project" led by Professor and Department Chair Steve Mayse. I asked Steve recently about how the Rail Project came about and why he has the students take on such a unique endeavor. "The "Rail Project" was born out of what I felt in the program was a need for pure creative problem solving or solution finding, using simple materials (cardboard and glue, only), a break from the norm and a chance to revitalize the effort toward team-building and away from an emphasis on the art form result serving only the self. As illustration majors, most students find the assignment a bit of a nuisance, generally, but I believe in the end, they realize the significance of the off-track (no pun intended) experience and how important collaboration/team, play, exploration, invention and discovery is to their overall artistic experience."

Students usually have about 3-4 weeks to build their vehicle that will carry their weight, roll (somehow) or move down the "rail" and survive the test from start to finish. They have to be in it or on it. Each student is assisted by other students down the "rail" for safety reasons and for the team-building effort.

The Rail Project gets started. Photo by Jake Fowler.

The Rail Project gets started. Photo by Jake Fowler.

Steve made the "rail" and the stands out of scrap 2"x4"s. The length is approximately 80' long and the rail is elevated 18" off of the ground with a secure stand every 4 feet. The stands are secured to the ground with 8" nails to eliminate any movement and the rail is screwed to the stands with 2.5" screws. The system goes up in about an hour and tears down in about 30 minutes. Steve calls the assignment the "yougottobeinit" project. Every year, Steve prints everyone a t-shirt to commemorate the event; they are different every year. This is used as a way for the media (KC Star and tv stations) to identify the project participants for interview and photos.

Click on the image below for a short slideshow. Photos by Steve Mayse.

Professor Steve Mayse and Assistant Professor John Ferry with KCAI Illustration sophomores. Photo by R.T. Smith.

Professor Steve Mayse and Assistant Professor John Ferry with KCAI Illustration sophomores. Photo by R.T. Smith.

Senior artwork featured at the WWI Museum event

Senior R.T. Smith recently did a piece for an event called Operation: War Fare, held this April at the National World War I Museum here in Kansas City. "They hosted the event and had an unbelievable turn out. The museum said the campaign for this event was one of the most successful they've ever had! We hope to do a series of illustrations for their events throughout the rest of the year," said R.T., who interned at the museum during his junior year.

Illustration by R.T. Smith

Illustration by R.T. Smith

Attached are a few shots that the museum sent R.T. from the night of the event. The museum decided to use R.T.'s illustration behind the panel of celebrity chef's and Kansas City Mayor Sly James. Too cool! 

2015 End of Semester Show preview!

Holy cow there's a lot of incredible work once again this year! To give you a taste of what's going to be in the show, we've decided to give you a little sneak peek and show some of the work here. But don't take our word for it -- come by and see for yourselves! Join us for the opening Friday, May 8 from 5-8 pm! KCAI Illustration is at 324 East 43rd Street, KCMO, 64111. Hope to see you there!

Adam Soyring / senior illustration

Adam Soyring / senior illustration

R.T. Smith / senior illustration

R.T. Smith / senior illustration

Lois Krumlauf / sophomore illustration

Lois Krumlauf / sophomore illustration

Kelsey Borch / senior illustration

Kelsey Borch / senior illustration

Jessica Becker / junior illustration

Jessica Becker / junior illustration

Emily Woodson / junior illustration

Emily Woodson / junior illustration

Kelsey Wroten / senior illustration

Kelsey Wroten / senior illustration

Tobias Rose / junior illustration

Tobias Rose / junior illustration

Allason Lewis / sophomore illustration

Allason Lewis / sophomore illustration

Lauren Seider / sophomore illustration

Lauren Seider / sophomore illustration

Alicia Wyatt / junior illustration

Alicia Wyatt / junior illustration

Jasper Swindell / sophomore illustration

Jasper Swindell / sophomore illustration

Emily Stout / junior illustration

Emily Stout / junior illustration

Spencer Ryan Edward Pullen / senior illustration

Spencer Ryan Edward Pullen / senior illustration

Alison Polston / junior illustration

Alison Polston / junior illustration

Twodee Weaver / junior illustration

Twodee Weaver / junior illustration

Megan Fitts / junior illustration

Megan Fitts / junior illustration

Shafer Brown / sophomore illustration

Shafer Brown / sophomore illustration

Zoe Chressanthis / junior illustration

Zoe Chressanthis / junior illustration

Johannah Miller / junior illustration

Johannah Miller / junior illustration