GVSU students to create brand through capstone exhibitions

A piece from “Command + N” by Jacob Mol.  Courtesy / WKTV

A piece from “Command + N” by Jacob Mol. Courtesy / WKTV

Jenny Adkins

Approximately 20 students within Grand Valley State University’s Visual and Media Arts Department are now showcasing their semester-long projects, in which they aimed to represent their collegiate educational experiences.

The displayed works will include students from various majors within the art department. The projects include graphic design, photography, metals, printmaking, painting, visual studies and illustration. “Command + N” was the first of five exhibitions to be showcased, kicking off the senior showcase on Nov. 26. 

Shelby VerStrate, a senior majoring in studio art with an emphasis in graphic design, stated that “Command + N” showcases what graphic design is as a whole, the different angles students can take with graphic design, and the different paths offered within this profession. 

“I worked on the branding for a company I invented titled ‘Hollistic,’” VerStrate said. “This company sends customers ingredients they need to make a specific product of their choosing.”

For example, if a customer wants to order a lavender potion, they would be sent a package that includes lavender essential oil, pre-measured ingredients, as well as a container to keep the finished product in and instructions on how to make it.”

The project took VerStrate the entire semester to curate and she hopes consumers could find ease in having a product delivered as opposed to visiting multiple stores to search for the necessary ingredients.

“Showcasing my work makes me feel very anxious but also excited,” VerStrate said. “This is the first time I’ve ever had to showcase my work in a gallery and our senior project is the biggest amongst the other studio majors. However, I’m excited that it’s finally over and all my friends and family can see why I haven’t had much of a social life this semester.” 

Although there are only five exhibitions overall, visitors should look out for each individual’s piece for future scheduled exhibits, as it took six students alone to bring “Command + N” to life.

“In the beginning of the semester, we worked in tandem to create the name for our show and talk about all of our ideas for our own projects,” VerStrate said. “We discussed what ideas were working and what wasn’t working. Once we figured out our game plan, our projects became independent.” 

Senior Jacob Mol worked on “Command + N” and explained that the name of the exhibit is derived from the keyboard shortcut graphic designers are taught to use on Apple computers in order to curate a new project. Mol showcased his creations for an emergency survival kit during the display and he says that his work reflects the skills he obtained through his time here at GVSU.

“Command + N” was on display from Monday, Nov. 26 through Friday, Nov. 30 in the Padnos Student Visual and Media Arts Gallery in the Calder Arts Center on the Allendale campus. 

For students, faculty and staff that were unable to attend “Command + N,” there are four more exhibitions to look for throughout the months of December and January.