Selections from MFA Illustration Thesis Projects @SVA.

Selections from MFA Illustration Thesis Projects

Featured Illustration by Will Varner

April 29 – May 14, 2011
Reception: Thursday, May 5, 6 – 8pm

School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents “Selections from Thesis Projects in the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department,” an exhibition that brings together animations, children’s books, graphic novels, figurative paintings, comic books and other narrative works by 21 students graduating from the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department. The exhibition is curated by faculty member David Sandlin.


Using a collection of picture book dummies, Lisa Anchin showcases her wide-ranging interests and diverse storytelling methods. Her thesis advisor is Pat Cummings.

The Plainview Dispatch is comprised of Chi Birmingham’s illustrated observations of a fictional town during the height of the Gold Rush, but set in modern day. Inspired by the histories of actual towns of the 1800s, this series contains 100 illustrated news stories. Birmingham’s thesis advisor is faculty member Matthew Richmond.

Phillip Bowles uses various media to explore portraiture and the figure. His thesis advisor is faculty member Natalie Ascencios.

David Berkowitz, New York’s infamous 1970s “Son of Sam” killer, is the subject of Canadian artist Chris Brimacombe’s comic. The work not only details the six individual murders, but also reveals their impact on a city in decline. Brimacombe’s thesis advisor is faculty member Klaus Janson.

Love me, Hurt me and Save me is a trilogy of books by Greek artist Efi Chalikopoulou that explores the concept of true love and the complicated mixture of pleasure and pain that can accompany a passionate relationship. Chalikopoulou’s thesis advisor is faculty member Frances Jetter.

The Romance of Tristan & Iseult, the classic story of chivalry and doomed transcendent love, has been brought to life by Philip Cheaney as an interactive animated eBook for the iPad. The app features 15 brief vignettes, highlighting each chapter of the book. Originally created in ink and watercolor, the scenes were later compiled and edited digitally. Cheaney’s thesis advisor is Wes Bedrosian.

In a series of illustrated autobiographical stories, Daniel Fishel details memorable childhood events set in Country Manor, the trailer park community that Fishel grew up in. His thesis advisor is Rachel Solomon.

Maria Goldfarb has created a series of children’s illustrations of animals. Her thesis advisor is Tim O’Brien.

At the Crossroads is a multimedia project by Ryan Hartley sourced from news reports covering the U.S.-Mexico border. Animated illustrations inspired by local and national media are juxtaposed and combined to create a fractured narrative structure and surreal landscape. Hartley’s thesis advisor is Marcos Chin.

In a series of evocative paintings, Korean artist Minjin Lee juxtaposes contemporary Korean popular culture with ancient Korean tradition and history. Her thesis advisor is Mu Pan.

In her children’s book, Pimlada Phuapradit creates a curious world of defective toys made from recycled and repurposed materials including a chipmunk and mouse that are part light bulb. Her thesis advisor is John Nickle.

Using gouache, black and white dry media, watercolor and layering techniques inspired by printmaking, Gant Powell has created an autobiographical work that details his experiences growing up as a gay man. His thesis advisor is Ward Sutton.

In her silkscreened hand-made book H.O.T (Holistic Organic Temptation), Korean illustrator Jungyeon Roh celebrates the health and environmental benefits that come from a vegan diet. Her thesis advisor is Josh Cochran.

Erin Supinski’s An Accordion in the Closet depicts a personal quest that begins with her father’s accordion and ends with her meeting previously unknown relatives in the Polish countryside. In a hand-bound book of watercolor paintings, Supinski traces years of personal history that revolve around her family’s shared love of the accordion. Her thesis advisor is Ruth Marten.

In State of the World Annual Report (2010), Petra Veliskova highlights global events from 2010 that she finds amusing and shocking. Her thesis advisor is faculty member Kevin Brainard.

Ben Voldman explores the narrative possibilities of portraiture. His thesis advisor is Riccardo Vecchio.

Jess Worby’s short graphic story A Walk in the Park is part psychological journey and part absurdist joke. It follows a meek, mustachioed man as his mundane, ordered life is beginning to unravel. Worby asks the reader, “Can one achieve lasting happiness by traveling the world, or only eating vegetables, or listening to an aging feral hippie play some weird song?” Worby’s thesis advisor is Jonathan Twingley.

The exhibition also includes work by Patrick Kinsella, whose thesis advisor is Frank Stockton; Hyesu Lee, whose thesis advisor is Aya Kakeda; Ryan Peltier, whose thesis advisor is Dash Shaw; and Will Varner, whose thesis advisor is faculty member Jillian Tamaki.

The MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as figurative artists, from the conventional gallery wall to the full range of 21st-century media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual art marketplace while empowering students to choose making art as a way of life.

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