Senior art students showcase their works in final gallery show

Megan Belden’s senior project on gothic culture

Last Wednesday, April 21, the West Liberty University Nutting Gallery opened its doors to showcase the work of several senior visual communication students. Eight senior students have their work on display to highlight a years’ worth of work. The students produced a range of different projects either focused on graphic design or illustration. The displays are still open to WLU students and faculty.

For visual communication students, the senior project is a culmination of everything they have learned over the course of their degree. Students spend two full semesters working on their project before finally completing it in order to graduate. This year saw a large mix in creations from the eight senior students ranging from a clothing brand to an animated cartoon. The Nutting Gallery display features work from Savannah Belden, Samantha Palmieri, Zak Campbell, Anthony Sciarrino, Megan Belden, Danielle Merritt, Nate Wilhelm, and Michele Eisen. Each student’s project was highly unique from their peers highlighting the range of talent and creativity harbored at WLU.

Belden’s project was based on American folklore and mythical creatures. “Even as a child I’ve always found the allure of folktales to be a basis on what inspires me to create and nurture my passion as it shows the imagination of communities and their willingness to not only create but share and apply these stories on a grander scale,” said Belden. “My Senior Project focuses on applying my skills in creating a fully illustrated booklet on several stories from American Folklore with a more storybook-like style and feeling to it while sharing in the more obscure side of these tales.” The final product is beautiful amalgamation of several stories. A link to Belden’s illustrated booklet can be found here.

Pittsburgh native Palmieri’s senior project was the creation of a mental health therapy app, using UIUX design, that focuses on holistic therapy and is tailored to each individual’s needs. “What I enjoy the most in regards to design is creative problem solving. I look at every project as a visual challenge that needs to be solved in the most creative and efficient way possible. I believe this mentality will be a strong asset when working with clients or team in any of my future endeavors,” said Palmieri. This creativity was used in Palmieri’s creation of the “SOL” app. Palmieri will graduate in May and hopes to continue growing her skills using UIUX in Pittsburgh. She said, “I am not completely sure what life after graduation looks like, but I am very excited to experience life as a Graphic Designer.” Palmieri’s work can be found here.

Raddled Canadian Clothing and Mint Raddled were the creation of graphic design student Campbell. The senior from British Columbia, Canada created two fashion brands, one high-end (Raddled Canadian) and one more affordable (Mint Raddled). Campbell’s designs were the end result of a very visually pleasing branding case study which can be found here. He plans to continue his education in Canada after graduating from WLU and potentially pursue Mint Raddled as a business.

Sciarrino created Holeshot Graphix for his senior project as a combination of his passion for graphic design and motocross. “This branding project produces motocross graphics, racing gear, apparel, and accessories,” he said. “After graduation, I plan on combining these passions into a profitable business.” With several sleek designs, Sciarrino’s love for his work is clearly visible in the final outcome. You can view the Holshot brand manual guideline here.

A booklet detailing the brief history of gothic culture was the creation of Belden for her senior project. The booklet is a visually pleasing introduction into gothic subculture with illustrations making the content easily digestible. “From the time I was young, I came to realize that the many wonders of the world, like people, can represent itself in an infinite number of ways. In my experience, there is no greater way than through design,” she said. Belden’s work can be found here.

Merritt, a senior from Flushing, Ohio, majored in visual communication with an emphasis on illustration. She hopes to bring feelings of positivity to her audience through her work. Merritt said, “My senior show is about the people, moments, and things that are my positive lights. I have endured a number of hardships and tragedies in my life, but I never let them bring me down. Life moves forward and it is up to you how to proceed. I choose to focus on the good.” Her uplifting work can be viewed here.

“Bunker City” was created by Wilhelm and was the outcome of his senior project. “I studied at West Liberty for a degree in Illustration, but my interests really are in creating pretty cartoons. So, for the past three years I’ve been working on my passion project, which eventually became my senior project,” said Wilhelm. “Bunker City” involves a number of original characters and settings which Wilhem has used to create his own unique universe. “My art style is heavily inspired by early 2000s media, I really like to use thick line art in most of my pieces. The cartoons I grew up with definitely had an impact on my art style. So, in the future I would like to continue to work on Bunker City, create new episodes, and turn it into a fully-fledged animated series,” he said. You can watch the pilot episode of “Bunker City” here.

Eisen is an illustration major with a minor in art. Her senior project took a look into serious issues such as body image, infertility, and queer culture. Her colletion “process: Transitioning Through Your Art” tackles these difficult topics and also provides educational resources for the audience. The exploration of these topics is furthered in Eisen’s series “body” which delves deeper into the celebration of queer bodies. Her work can be found here.
The creativity of all eight senior visual communication students is still on display in the Nutting gallery in the Fine Arts building on the WLU main campus. Alternatively, links to all portfolios and senior projects can be found by following this link.