UMass Dartmouth students delight with grand designs

May 6, 2019

UMass Dartmouth students showed a flair for the imaginative with colorful works of art and design at Saturday afternoon’s Senior Design Exhibition in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Seniors showed off their work in Animation and Game Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Interior Architecture and Design.

Elaine McMahon went to see her granddaughter’s illustration exhibit.

She commented, “I loved it. I think there’s so many talented people here. Half the stuff I don’t understand, as far as the games and stuff. But I think they’re so talented.”

Rebecca McEvoy is graduating in animation in the winter. Her game concept — called “Plague Night” — took her seven months to finish, and includes concept ideas, characters, and even a trailer.

“I’ve been doing art since I’ve been in middle school, and I’ve always wanted to create my own video games,” she said. “So I started with all the concept ideas as well as concept characters. They’re all in there.”

“It’s fantastic here,” she added.

Visitors to the room could play sample computer games, scroll through storyboards and concepts, and even play a real board game set up at a table in the back.

Meanwhile the graphic design room was packed with students and their sleek final projects.

Graphic Designer Shaila Samuel sat on a sofa in front of her design — a set of books.

She said, “I took four dystopic novels that I personally really enjoyed, and I made them into a collection called ‘Fears for the Future.’ I just decided to redesign all the jackets for them and make them into a little collection for others to enjoy.”

The redesigned novels include A Handmaid’s Tale, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (also known as Blade Runner), Brave New World, and 1984.

“I read those in an English class...and they just kind of stuck with me,” Samuel said. “[They’re] amazing. So I decided to focus on them.”

Along with the book jackets and inside cover pages, she also designed a slip cover and some bookmarks to complete the set.

She thought the event was going really well. “Aside from it being super humid, I’m having a really good time. It’s such a wonderful experience.”

Visitor Rashelle Palmer is a UMass Dartmouth alumna who came back to support her friends.

“I’m partial to design, because I was a graphic design major,” she said. “I like the conceptual pieces — there was a lot of quizzes that you had to take, or tarot cards that you got to pick. So I like that kind of stuff.”

“I’m more partial to design too,” agreed Kyle Richer, a UMass Dartmouth student who plans to graduate in the next couple of years.

“I’m a dual major, so I do illustration and design,” he said. “But I guess the design thing is always fun to see, because it’s always a different group of people with very different perspectives every year.”

“It looks good every year,” added Palmer.

Toni Chambers was sitting near her illustration exhibit, but she was unable to walk.

Chambers had been on her feet since ten o’clock after attending a kente stole graduation for people of color, and was still proudly wearing the embroidered kente cloth.

She said that she uses the software Procreate with a tablet to make her pieces, which have subtle colors and distinctive, stylized designs.

Many of the pieces illustrate her heritage, nostalgia, and memories — including a recent trip she took to Jamaica and the family she found there.

“The way that I’ve described it before is that it’s kind of like nostalgia for the places I’ve been or the things that I’ve done,” she said. “Sometimes it’s a memory that I’ve experienced — something that someone can relate to.”

After graduation she hopes to work in publishing.

“But I also don’t want to be confined to books,” she admitted. “Someday maybe in like five to seven years I could work in animation or storyboarding. That’s the long-term goal.”

Her goals — and those of her fellow students — seem well within her reach.

If the senior show is anything to go by, UMass Dartmouth students are ready to take the creative world by storm.