Kristopher Martin

The Idea Collective

The KCAI Illustration Department recently debuted a new elective this semester called “The Idea Collective.” It operates as an in-house “micro-agency” composed of select senior students, led by assistant professor David Terrill.

Performing the typical tasks of a small creative firm, conceptualizing, designing, illustrating and presenting the work, their first client was the Coterie Theatre, a professional equity theatre based here in Kansas City.

“The partnership has proven to be a success for both the students and the client,” said Terrill. “Students were responsible for preparing and delivering final artwork to the client ready for production. Through this exposure, students received hands-on experience working with the Coterie in a professional manner culminating in tangible results.”

The students created six promotional posters for the upcoming 2015-2016 theatrical season. The posters were designed for “The Miracle Worker” by Kendall Quack, “And Justice for Some: The Freedom Trial of Anthony Burns” by Kendall Quack, “Tomas and the Library Lady” by Kristopher Martin, “Where the Wild Things Are” by Taylor Smith and Kendall Quack, “Dreamworks Madagascar: A Musical Journey” by Rosie Ruzicka and “The Magic Treehouse: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens” by Kelsey Borcherding, opening during the 2016-2017 season. Check out these wonderful posters below.

We're all looking forward to seeing what The Idea Collective is up to next! 

Kendall Quack

Kendall Quack

Kendall Quack

Kendall Quack

Kristopher Martin

Kristopher Martin

R.T. Smith and Kendall Quack

R.T. Smith and Kendall Quack

Rosie Ruzicka

Rosie Ruzicka

Kelsey Borcherding

Kelsey Borcherding

ILLUSTRATION NOW 2014

Once again, we're nearing the end of the fall semester which means that we're close to our end of the semester show. ILLUSTRATION NOW 2014 opens this Friday night, December 5, and we couldn't be more excited! Between the ILLUSTRATION NOW show and The Harvest Internship Event and all the work the students are finishing up before the winter break, the studios are buzzing!

Since the exhibition space within our department is somewhat small, we decided to keep this show simple and manageable. This year 34 students (out of 96) were selected by full-time faculty and invited to submit up to 2 pieces for consideration in the show. Once all the pieces were submitted, one piece per student was chosen. 

Here's a little preview of some of the work that will be in the show. Check it out!

Taylor Fourt

Taylor Fourt

RT Smith

RT Smith

Nathan Hall

Nathan Hall

Nicholette Haigler

Nicholette Haigler

Emily Stout

Emily Stout

JC Franco

JC Franco

Kristopher Martin

Kristopher Martin

Wesley Derstine

Wesley Derstine

Johannah Miller

Johannah Miller

Alison Polston

Alison Polston

Coleman Stampley

Coleman Stampley

Kendall Quack

Kendall Quack

Tobias Rose

Tobias Rose

Twodee Weaver

Twodee Weaver

Thanks for checking out the work! Join us this Friday night at 324 East 43rd Street from 5-8 pm. Be sure to stop by the other departments on campus for the 2014 End of Semester shows! 

Visiting Artist Fall 2014: VICTO NGAI

Every semester, the KCAI Illustration department compiles a list of artists that the students admire and are inspired by to invite to speak and present at our school. After the list of artists is put together, the students vote on the two they want to see most, and one of each of those two artists comes each semester. The visiting artist sends an assignment for all the students in the department to complete a couple weeks before they come and speak, prompting the whole department to turn out their best work in hopes of being chosen as one of the best by the visiting artist.

For this semester, our department nominated our visiting artist to be Victo Ngai. Victo Ngai is only at the beginning of her career, and is already one of the most successful young illustrators in the industry. Born in Hong Kong, she developed a love of art very early in her life, and even showed us images from when she was six in her presentation to us. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2010, which means she has only been professionally freelancing for less than five years, and has already been published by the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, IMAX, McDonalds, and so many more prestigious clients. Her lushly detailed, vibrantly colored work, with her blunt sense of humor and incredible skill had made her a favorite inspiration and role model in the Illustration department even before we officially invited her to be a visiting artist with us a week ago.

The assignment for Victo’s visit was to create a wine label for a Pinot Noir called “The Magician”. We were to make an image that would not only create a sense of wonder and mysticism but also speak to the complex to the flavours of the wine. We received the assignment a week before Victo arrived, which may seem like a lot of time, but once we all started working on our pieces it definitely didn’t seem like enough! However, by the time the due date came around we were all blown away by the amazing pieces we all managed to produce in such a short amount of time.

Students looking through all the artwork that was done for Victo's assignment

Students looking through all the artwork that was done for Victo's assignment

Once everyone had their labels done we got them all sent off to Victo and she spent a night going through and picking her 25-30 favourites that we would discuss the next day. She picked a wide variety of images. Some were very typography based, others were character based and many were a wonderful combination of the two. Normally, the visiting artist would have everything set up in such a way that they would pick their top 25 or so favourites, and then have between 3-5 that would get to go to dinner with them and the Illustration faculty at Cafe Trio, a local restaurant. But this time, Victo liked many of them so much that she was only able to narrow them down to 6 that she liked and had the students vote on their top three. Our winners this year were Kelsey Wroten, Coleman Stampley, and Kristopher Martin.

Pictured clockwise, from bottom left: Victo Ngai, Coleman Stampley, Kristopher Martin and Kelsey Wroten.

Pictured clockwise, from bottom left: Victo Ngai, Coleman Stampley, Kristopher Martin and Kelsey Wroten.

Having worked as a successful illustrator for several years now, Victo had some words of wisdom to impart to us. She stressed the importance of communication in art. An illustrator’s job is to create a visual bridge that connects the idea of the client to their audience. One way to ensure that is not to set too many boundaries for yourself when you’re just starting out, such as, “I will only paint in red and blue” or “I will only draw images of cats.” She expressed that, despite the fact that editorials are often the bread and butter of most illustrators’ careers, that we should still be open to venues that we wouldn’t often think to seek out. One instance is Tor, a sci-fi/fantasy book publisher. They seek out artists that don’t often do sci-fi/fantasy work, so that their covers don’t become clichéd and stale. Other times you might have to do imagery for an article about something that doesn’t interest you at all, like retirement funds. Regardless of the subject, you should strive to enjoy what you’re doing, because often times it will take you in a new direction or help you discover something that you might not have thought you would like. Last but not least, as a freelance artist you should always remember that YOU are working for YOURSELF. When you go to meet that art director to discuss your fancy cool new job you’re going there on equal footing. You’re working together as a partnership to visually solve a problem so it’s important to go in there with confidence in yourself and the things that you do. Don’t worry too much about it because that art director WANTS you to be there. They picked you for a reason.

It was a huge pleasure and honor to have such an accomplished, incredible artist come speak at our school, to offer us both critique on our work and wisdom she’d learned from her’s. We can’t thank Victo enough, and wish her much more success in the future!

Faculty & student dinner with Victo. Pictured clockwise, from left: Hector Casanova, Victo Ngai, Kristopher Martin, John Ferry, Kelsey Wroten, David Terrill, Maura Cluthe and Coleman Stampley. Photo by department chair Steve Mayse.

Faculty & student dinner with Victo. Pictured clockwise, from left: Hector Casanova, Victo Ngai, Kristopher Martin, John Ferry, Kelsey Wroten, David Terrill, Maura Cluthe and Coleman Stampley. Photo by department chair Steve Mayse.

And here are the three winning images...

Coleman Stampley

Coleman Stampley

Kristopher Martin

Kristopher Martin

Kelsey Wroten

Kelsey Wroten

...and the three runner-ups! Congrats to all!

Kelsey Borchering

Kelsey Borchering

Cory Montero

Cory Montero

Emily Stout

Emily Stout

Post written by Cassie Allen and Purps Percival