Digital Design Students Renovate Vachon


Nicole Schlaeppi • The spectator

Seattle University’s digital design students are used to editing and re-editing their artwork—but not to this extent.

This week they are opening their annual digital design exhibit in Vachon Gallery on campus. The theme for this year’s show is “RE: Reshape, Rethink, Redesign.”

The show will feature the artwork of students in the digital design program at Seattle U. Each student has chosen four pieces of artwork to present in the exhibit, most of which were completed in the last two years. These include print pieces, paintings and physical objects.

Nicole Schlaeppi  •  The spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The spectator

The Fine Arts Digital Design Senior Exhibition is this coming Thur. April 24 at 4:30

Digital design professor Naomi Kasumi has been curating this annual exhibit for the past nine years. When she first came to Seattle U 12 years ago she helped build the digital design program into what it is today.

The students came up with the theme for this year’s show on their own, and most of the artwork in the exhibit is made of recycled materials.

“Rethink, reconstruct, rebuild,” Kasumi said of the students’ inspiration for the exhibit. “Basically, innovation, quote-unquote, is not really innovation. We have to think of how it has been done, and how to think now because the time and place is very different.”

For Kasumi, the real challenge is to know when to help the students and when to stand back and let them do it. The students have been planning the exhibit since fall quarter to ensure their work is displayed in the best way possible. In fact, they organized, fundraised and installed every detail of the show themselves. Collaboration was a key factor in making sure everything was done on time.

The exhibit was an opportunity for students, specifically those in the arts, to catch a glimpse of what their future professions might be like.

“My part is teaching how to organize it,” Kasumi said. “The most important part is, if I do everything as a curator, students don’t learn.”

Senior digital design major Megan Castillo is one of the two co-directors for the show. It was her responsibility to facilitate discussions on the show’s theme and to help other students with time management and encourage them to work together to meet deadlines. Between installing the exhibit and raising money, each student also spent significant time editing their own artwork for the show. According to Castillo, balancing time was the biggest challenge in organizing the exhibit. But it was all worth it, she said.

“The exhibit means a lot to my peers and me,” Castillo said. “It is an opportunity to showcase our best work to friends and family. In some ways it’s symbolic of our transition from students to professionals.”

Nicole Schlaeppi  •  The spectator
Nicole Schlaeppi • The spectator

The Fine Arts Digital Design Senior Exhibition is this coming Thur. April 24 at 4:30

Senior digital design major Amy Phung is the head designer of the show. She helped design the main piece of the exhibit: the promotional logo of the show itself, made of pipe, hanging from the ceiling in the back of the room. The exhibit will also feature some of her own personal artwork, including a no-waste wooden coffee dripper, an info graphic print piece, a pocket-sized backpacking checklist and an identity branding design, which is also a print piece.

“I think the purpose of the exhibit is to show what we’ve been doing for the last couple of years,” Phung said. “We want to show that design isn’t just about making pretty things.”

Most of the students involved with the exhibit are seniors who will be graduating from the program at the end of this quarter. The exhibit marks the end of their time at Seattle U—a transition from school into the professional world.

For Kasumi, it’s a happy occasion.

“I feel sad, but at the same time I’m excited to see them being successful in the real world and giving back to the community in their own creative way,” Kasumi said. “My message is passed on to them, and they will pass it on to someone else.”

The exhibit will be on display in Vachon Gallery in the Fine Arts Building April 23 through May 13. An opening reception will be held at the gallery this Thursday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. The event is free, but posters and tote bags designed by students will be on sale at the exhibit. The proceeds will go to 206 Zulu, a network of individuals who work with low-income minority youth through programs involving music, art and culture.

The editor may be reached at [email protected]