Senior Digital Design students partnered with community art organization Vibrant Palette to donate all of their proceeds from the Fuse 2018 Digital Design Exhibition which opened last Thursday in the Vashon Gallery.
“[Fuse] showcases all of your different talents in one place, and that’s really cool,” Co-Director Evan Aubrey said. Aubrey is a senior digital design student, who alongside Co-Director Abby Bouck, helped plan the event.
Drinks, food and lively music drummed up excitement for opening night. Each work was labelled with the title and student artist, allowing visitors to meander around and converse the artists and faculty scattered throughout the gallery.
“A lot of us have become very close, and it’s very nice coming and seeing all of our work put together to be shown,” senior Digital Design student Yasmeen Nayfeh said. “We always joke that [the space] is so underwhelming, just because we have all seen our work so many times and we’ve seen this whole process, but it came together very nicely.”
Students showcased over 50 works, honing their ideas and vision with the help of faculty in the Seattle U Visual Arts Department.
“Our show is just about a fusion of all of our personalities and all of the different types of art that we make,” Professor Jackie Buttice said.
Buttice leads the Digital Design Cohort, filling in for Naomi Kasumi who is on sabbatical. Buttice also teaches at the Art Institute and in the Web Development department at Seattle U.
“The students are amazing, and you can see that in this show…the real dilemma for a graphic designer is ‘How do I visually communicate all this information and synthesize for someone on their phone, or someone on their iPod?’ The students have done an amazing job at creating the right kind of visual communication for specific topics,” Professor Buttice said.
Using her experiences working as a web and graphic designer for 15 years, Professor Buttice seeks to empower underrepresented groups through her expertise and teaching approach.
“I wanted to go back and get my masters in fine arts to become a professor to teach the next generation of digital artists, especially women, because their just wasn’t enough in my field,” Professor Buttice said.
The Fuse Exhibition also contributes to empowering underrepresented voices in the arts, donating all proceeds from the show to an organization called Vibrant Palette.
“We are independent day program for adults with different abilities,” said Sharece Phillips, lead art instructor at Vibrant Palette. “ We create a safe space for our community, a community that is definitely here, and that hasn’t been given a space quite yet to be fully included in Seattle.”
Phillips, with her knowledge of art-making and art history, helps translate the goals of the artist she works with to help them make cohesive, aesthetically-pleasing works of art. An artist at Vibrant Palette can choose to draw or write poetry, as well as print-making, ceramic art, and painting.
“I facilitate a wide range of mediums. It sort of depends on each artist, what they’re looking for and what medium they’re looking to express themselves…you never know what’s going to happen on any given day,” Phillips said.
For the students in the Digital Design Cohort, the professors and program have helped shape them into versatile artists. For Fuse Co-Director Aubrey, he hopes to work with a design agency in Seattle post-graduation, but is in the job search right now.
“The digital design program at Seattle U has really made me appreciate constructive critique and feedback and I’ve learned that that’s super important when collaborating on any sort of design or getting a final product out there.
This focus on critique in Aubrey’s studies has strengthened the adaptability of his work.
“It’s important because you might see something one way and someone else may have a totally different opinion that’s also completely valid. It helps your work get even better,” Aubrey said.
The product of this collaborative, ongoing discussion of audience, message and theme, is on display in the current and final show for these seniors. Their creative and diverse collection of works, four years in the making, are on view until May 10.
Jacqueline may be reached at