The Daily Iowan

ArtsFest to showcase student work this weekend at Studio Arts

AUDREY DWYER

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A thought, a mere idea, began to evolve into a realistic concept for one particular artist. He grappled with the daydream to create an object seemingly so foreign, so complex, only elite artists had access to the tools needed.

No longer for the elite, the technology to create art from thin air into a lifelike object is now tangible for students at the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History.

“I see it as democratic,” said Tyler Cochran, a graduate student in Studio Arts focusing on metalsmithing and sculpture. “I could do [3D printing] in my own garage with just ordinary tools. Creation has become more tangible; the Internet has been a big part of it to find things out and learn techniques on your own.”

The graduate student uses drafting software, laser-cutting, and 3D printing technology to create various geometric designs. His work and the work of many other UI art students will be showcased at the fifth-annual ArtsFest this weekend.

The Studio Arts Building will showcase work from graduates and undergraduates at 4 p.m. Friday during the open-house event. Students will not only display new work but also lead hands-on demonstrations for adults and kids of all ages in the community.

At this year’s ArtsFest, Cochran will showcase his Geodesic Dome, a geometric approximation of a half sphere, similar to the work of Buckminster Fuller (Spaceship Earth, Disney World). The dome is a subtly complex construction of several thousand individual pieces. Measuring 15 feet in diameter and more than 7 feet tall, this complicated design began in the AutoCAD drafting program and was then printed on a 3D printer. From there, components were cast in aluminum using the lost-wax technique. A project done outside of school, he spent nearly 2,000 hours designing and building the piece.

“Without thinking about the limitations of whatever medium you have chosen, there is more openness for the creativity of those ideas,” he said.

Cochran is not the only one who found inspiration with the help of new technology. For the first time, all 10 disciplines of art and art-history majors participating in the event will share one theme: “New Visions: Tradition and Technology in Art and Art History.” And, unlike previous years, more hands-on learning and demonstrations will be available to the community.

In the Drewelowe Exhibit, there will be demonstrations of stop-motion animation capturing, a live photo shoot, and 3D Leonardo Demos — a program that allows a person to draw in the air and create something from that motion.

Smaller rooms will be occupied with lectures, demonstrations, and videos from the disciplines of intermedia, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, graphic design, 3D design, painting, photography, and printmaking.

“It is not a show of just a few students who are the best, but rather the collective efforts of each department,” said Rachel Winter, freshman art-history major and one of the main student organizers of the event.

Selected by discipline heads, the works provide a representation of specific areas in the field of art. Anything reminiscent of the stereotypical “studio-arts major” is struck down with each work and demonstration to create a new definition for what it means to be an art student.

“It’s really cool to see how the stuff can come together,” Winter said.

Testing unchartered waters through new media of technology within art, students have also learned a bit about themselves.

“You’d be surprised how much you can learn about yourself; art has enriched my life and helped me to notice the beauty around me,” said Julia Jessen, a junior art history, studio art, and journalism major and former DI employee. “It’s really fascinating to see how artists respond to the world around them through their art. The ability to capture a moment or a feeling or convey a message visually is so appealing to me.” 

What: ArtsFest

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