Mystery Project

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.

Mystery Project 2015

It's become somewhat of a tradition in the Illustration Department to drop a "Mystery Project" onto the students from time to time. Although this project tends to happen in the spring, the students really have no idea when one of these projects is going to fall into their lap. The Mystery Project has taken on a few different forms, but it always starts first thing in the morning (at 8 am) and is due by mid-day. Students have about 3 or 4 hours to create a piece around specific parameters, however they want using whatever medium they have on hand.

This spring, instructor Hector Casanova received a generous donation of old vinyl records which he brought into the Illustration Department. On the day of the Mystery Project, each student was randomly given one vinyl record. Their goal was to reinvent the artwork / packaging for the album with fresh sensibilities. They had to keep one element from the original packaging, be it typography, color palette, or any physical element. The results were fun, silly, sophisticated and wonderfully all over the place!

Professor Steve Mayse with students, checking out all the solutions to the Mystery Project

Professor Steve Mayse with students, checking out all the solutions to the Mystery Project

At mid-day everyone put their transformed records up on the wall in the flex space in the studio. Seeing all the different solutions from sophomores, juniors and seniors is always a lot of fun. Department Chair and Professor Steve Mayse then has students vote on some of their favorite submissions. The following pieces are just a few of the results of this project.

The Way We Were / Emily Stout

The Way We Were / Emily Stout

A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born

The (NEW) Christy Minstrels

The (NEW) Christy Minstrels

All About Eve / Zoe Chressanthis

All About Eve / Zoe Chressanthis

Doctor Zhivago / Kelsey Wroten

Doctor Zhivago / Kelsey Wroten

Summerdog / Purps Percival

Summerdog / Purps Percival

Mystic Moods Orchestra / Elisa Cox

Mystic Moods Orchestra / Elisa Cox

Jimmy Durante

Jimmy Durante

The Hillside Singers / Kelsey Borch

The Hillside Singers / Kelsey Borch

The Oak Street Boys

The Oak Street Boys

Jim Reeves / Slimm Fabert

Jim Reeves / Slimm Fabert

The Slightly Fabulous Limelighters

The Slightly Fabulous Limelighters

Randy Travis / Muriel Fogarty

Randy Travis / Muriel Fogarty

Oak Ridge Quartet / Nicholette Haigler

Oak Ridge Quartet / Nicholette Haigler

Sons of the Pioneers

Sons of the Pioneers

Shaun Cassidy

Shaun Cassidy

Stafford & MacRae

Stafford & MacRae