School of Design class stretches artistic muscles with cardboard sculpture exhibit

IAN LACK Reporter

A majority of work done by students in their classes is not often seen around campus. However, for one class, a recent assignment allowed them to use campus grounds to display the work the’ve done.

Students in the School of Design freshman core 121 class had two weeks to complete cardboard sculptures, with many students working on this assignment outside of class. The class was divided into groups of four or five students, with each group creating one sculpture. Two graduate assistants and four professors maintain assignments, lectures and grading for the class of 175 throughout the semester.

For this assignment, students were given 10 sheets of cardboard, glue, tape and two colors of paint to use for the final models of their sculptures.

“The idea for the project came from a combination of projects done by other professors and their students that I had seen at a couple of conferences in Houston and Indianapolis,” said Molly Wicks, the program director and professor in the School of Design. “After deciding on this assignment, I did some visual research and found some great examples of other work done at universities and thought we could add to that.”

Students discussed 3-D structure and balance before beginning the sculptures. “Some of the more successful groups, in terms of durability, really listened to those lectures. But some of our other groups that made really interesting designs might have been focused more on concept,” Wicks said. Students even tried to incorporate narratives into their sculptures.

The students were able to display their art in an exhibit on Oct. 8. The class set their art up on the campus grounds between the administration building and the Art Museum. Students and faculty found the wind to be a particular nuisance that morning with some of the less stable sculptures being knocked over.

“There were a lot of different ideas with structure of the sculptures. I was surprised by ours because after we had finished painting, it had kind of drooped,” said fashion design and merchandising major Tayler Vanderpol. “But we made ours specifically to be wind resistant and for it to be able to pass through it.”

Graphic design major Monaya Rose said she is satisfied with the way the course has been conducted this semester.

“I like how spacious it is,” Rose said. “It’s also a class that brings all design students into one. It helps to put us all together.”

The class is looking into a number of groups who are interested in displaying these sculpture pieces around campus and encourages anyone who is interested in presenting them to contact the class as well.

This is the first year of SDSU’s School of Design, so opportunities for projects like these are beginning to emerge more for students in the arts. “I specifically liked this project because we started really small,” Wicks said. “We first started with ideation and illustration boards, a lot like on the typical job scene, working on something by request.”

By starting with smaller models and building on those foundations, Wicks said students were able to come up with more new and dynamic designs by being required to go through a number of steps to find the ideal form.

“Our hope is that if the students did this project again, or something similar to it, they would have more experience and be better at it next time,” Wicks said. “…and when they graduate in four or five years, they’ll be extremely good at it.”