The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Student Spotlight | Graphic design student illustrates the beauty she sees

June Deo’s exhibit, “The Adventure of Snora,” explores self-discovery.
June+Deo+poses+for+a+portrait+with+her+latest+work+The+Adventure+of+Snora+presented+in+a+fine+art+gallery+in+the+Visual+Arts+building+in+Iowa+City+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct.+11%2C+2023.
Alyssa Miner
June Deo poses for a portrait with her latest work “The Adventure of Snora” presented in a fine art gallery in the Visual Arts building in Iowa City on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.

University of Iowa student June Deo grew up in the small town of Da Lat, Vietnam. A colorful commune nicknamed “City of Eternal Spring,” the luscious greenery and bright buildings from Deo’s childhood continue to inspire her art.

As a fourth-year graphic design student at the UI, Deo’s recent exhibit, “The Adventure of Snora,” served as a teaser for her comic book under the same title.

Deo has been developing the idea of “The Adventure of Snora” for most of her life, greatly inspired by the cartoons she consumed in her childhood, specifically the art style of Studio Ghibli.

Her experience growing up in such a small town made her curious to learn more about how other people live. She moved to Des Moines in 2018 to pursue a higher education and started at the Des Moines Area Community College a year later.

However, while visiting her father in Iowa, she decided to explore the UI’s campus and fell in love with Art Building West and the Visual Arts Building.

Ultimately, the tight-knit culture of Iowa City is what sold her on transferring to the UI as a second year.

“I really liked the environment here. The people I saw. There were so many students walking downtown and on every sidewalk,” Deo said. “I loved it.”

The main character in “The Adventure of Snora” is the warrior Snora, accompanied by her miniature dragon companion. The universe Snora lives in, “Alasino,” divides its people into three categories: the “Norgie” people without super-human powers, the “Gie,” people who have heightened capabilities or are half-magic, and the “Gio,” the most mysterious and powerful beings.

Deo said the character of Snora is a personification of her own inner desires. Snora allows Deo to explore her own power and self-discovery by digitally painting the scenes Snora is in. Whether or not Snora has superhuman powers, though, is left unanswered, even for Deo.

The exhibit itself displayed the first 12 pages of the first comic book, framed screengrabs from the comic, an animation, print posters, and an image of Snora that shifted perspective when the viewer changed position in the room — all painted through Photoshop.

The colors of “The Adventure of Snora” are of a murky palette. Deo was specific about which scenes are filled with bright color for particular moments of joy in the comic.

Open from Oct. 9-13, “The Adventure of Snora” was meant to excite future readers about the art style and themes.

The comic does not yet have a publisher but after graduation this December, Deo plans to fully dedicate her time to the first volume’s release.

“You will overcome every challenge you meet. That’s the story of Snora,” Deo said. “I want to convey in my comic that you can do anything.”

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About the Contributors
Zhenya Loughney, Arts Reporter
(they/them/theirs)
Zhenya is a fourth year theatre design and journalism double major at UI. They are passionate about artistry and creativity. They are from Lebanon, KY.
Alyssa Miner, Photojournalist
she/her/hers
Alyssa Miner is a second year at The University of Iowa studying Enterprise Leadership and Studio Arts. Miner is a photographer for the Daily Iowan and captures wedding and senior photos in the summer.