Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ArtPrize Artist Sheila Wyne on Campus

Get involved with ArtPrize! We are lucky to have artist Sheila Wyne visiting our campus next week for several events. Sheila is a visual artist based in Anchorage, Alaska. Her studio work has been widely shown, and since 1990 she has designed and installed over 20 public commissions. She is also a successful set designer. Wyne has won a Rasmuson Artist Fellowship, a Boochever Fellowship, the Alex Combs Artist Award, and grants from Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Andy Warhol and Rockefeller Foundations. In 2009, Wyne received the Governor’s Award for Individual Artist.

Here are the events. For writers, the third one is especially promising.

At Second Sight: An Artist’s Look at the World
Wednesday, Sept 22
3:30 p.m.
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

This talk—on the opening day of ArtPrize—focuses on how art, especially when conceived of as visual metaphor, can be a valuable tool for critical thinking. How can we combat visual clich├ęs that reduce or dumb down our discourse and instead argue for a robust “visual linguistics”? And how can we use the discipline of observation to develop a visual empathy that might increase our ability to think and respond? Whether you’re an art expert or novice, this talk should help you more fully engage in--as well as enjoy--ArtPrize this year.

A Long Walk Off a Short Pier: Challenges of Art, Urban Planning, and the Environment
Tuesday, Sept 28
3:30 p.m.
Rm 078 North Hall

Wyne has successfully completed twenty public commissions, and as such, she has a unique perspective on the ways art intersects with issues of both urban planning and environmental issues.

Living Well on a Shoestring: Surviving—and Thriving—as an Artist
Wednesday, Sept 29
3:30 p.m.
Meeter Center Lecture Hall

This highly interactive session focuses on the “nuts and bolts” of being an artist after graduation: setting deadlines, building community, applying for grants, balancing art and a day job, etc. Great for all creative people interested in making their art a career.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We Knew She Had an Evil Plan

May 2010 graduate Alexis Royce has been scheming since her senior year in high school, writing and drawing the story of the evil Dr. Kinesis. And now, at last, Lexi’s plan for world conquest is succeeding!

Or at least her plan for publication. Lexi, an art major/English minor at Calvin, and her cousin/collaborator, Megan Johnston, just announced the print publication of Evil Plan, Volume 1, through the online publisher Comixpress.

From the publisher’s catalog copy: “Evil Plan is a manga styled comic that takes the superhero world and flips it, viewing things from the supervillain's perspective. The story follows Dr. Kinesis's journey on the road to world conquest. Filled with humor, romance, and perhaps the slightest slice of angst, Evil Plan is a comic for all those people who want to see the bad guy win. If he doesn't blow himself up first.”

Lexi says she and Megan are “intensely proud” of this milestone for their work. “It's been a headache and a joy working on it,” Lexi writes, “but right now, all I can feel is the joy, and I assure you that's a copious amount of joy.”

Evil Plan continues to be available in its entirety for free viewing online at the webcomic hosting site smackjeeves.com. However, Comixpress now offers a print version with a number of extra features, including an extra story, bonus art, and author bio features. “You’d be surprised how many people will pick up a print version even if a comic is available online,” says Lexi. “Print is a different way to experience it.”

Smack Jeeves is an online comics community featuring about 20,000 comics written and drawn by people at a range of levels, from just starting out to professional. Site members discuss and promote their favorites, so writers can build an audience as they work.

The site just held its first awards, based on reader voting. Evil Plan was nominated for two: Best Sci-fi and Best Characters. It took the Best Sci-fi award, further boosting Lexi and Megan’s fan base.

Are more volumes on their way?

“We have the whole story planned out,” Lexi says. “There are definitely more volumes coming.”

Friday, September 3, 2010

Not So Many Cheers for Volunteers

"When selling raffle tickets in exchange for a ticket to Disney can be called 'helping others,' it's no wonder ninety-eight percent of society does it," writes Jen Erickson. Jen's essay, "Loving My Neighbor: What's in it For Me?", was just published in the Burnside Writers Collective online magazine.

Jen, a senior Secondary Ed/Spanish major with English minor, wrote the essay for her Creative Nonfiction class last semester. The essay was her response to the "social critique" assignment, and it examines the desire, in herself and others, to get credit for volunteering but to keep our lives untouched by the people we help and the tough situations we encounter in volunteering contexts.

Jen submitted the essay for publication as part of the class's final assignment. Just a month later, she got a reply.

"The editor was really nice," says Jen. "She sent me an email back detailing the things she liked about the essay and her suggestions for things I should change if I wanted to resubmit it. I was so impressed with how much feedback I got!"

Burnside Writers Collective is "an online magazine for Christians looking for a connection with the world outside of franchise Christianity."