ALUMNI NEWS: Congratulations Jessi

MILLS, Jessie PhotoFrom Jessi:

“My name is Jessi and I graduated from Salt Lake Community College with an AAS in Graphic Design this last Spring 2015.

I decided to go back to school and work towards a bachelor’s degree in computer science and information systems. My goal is to get a job in that field and be able to apply my knowledge of graphic design into my work. I decided to take my classes for the Associates degree at SLCC then transfer to Utah Valley University to earn my bachelors.

Although I will be transferring, most of the classes required for my bachelors degree program at UVU are offered at SLCC so I will be saving even more money on my education. I am excited for my new adventure and I suggest to everyone who is working towards their degree at a four year institution to look into taking classes at SLCC to save money on their education as well.”

ALUMNI NEWS: Congratulations Austin!

RECORD, Austin photoFrom Austin:

“After having graduated for the second time from SLCC, I changed job locations to work with the SLCC Academic Advising department as Graphic Designer. These are not the only opportunities that I have, but for now I will be helping out at SLCC.

After graduating in May of 2014 with an AAS in Graphic Design and certificates in Mobile Publishing and Web Graphic Design, I discovered that the AS in Graphic Communications would be opening up for the academic year of 2014 – 2015. Since an AS is “easier” to transfer I continued and graduated in May of 2015.

I am in the process of transferring to the Savannah College of Art & Design to continue my education. I have recently submitted portfolios for transfer credits and scholarships. After my portfolios have been reviewed with the list of what credits transfer, and after I have a financial plan, I will be able to work on my class schedule.”

Alumni News: Congratulations Alissa!

HICKS, Alissa photo

From Alissa,

“Hi, my name is Alissa Hicks. I recently graduated in May 2015 from SLCC with an Associate’s of Applied Science degree in Visual Art & Design/Graphic Design Emphasis. Now, I will be pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design, as well as minors in Business Administration/Marketing Emphasis and Japanese at Weber State University.

I have always wanted to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree and I really look forward to obtaining more education in Graphic Design, because I truly enjoy every aspect of this profession. For a while, I was not sure where I wanted to complete my education, but after comparing many Graphic Design programs at 4-year colleges, I decided on Weber State University. They offer a wide variety of traditional and digital art classes for their design program, as well as, printing classes.

I started my graphic design education in a print-heavy environment in high school, which has caused me to be drawn to printing and WSU offered exactly what I had been looking for. The process of transferring to WSU has been really great for me. As a transfer student, I was eligible to apply for some scholarships through WSU and I actually received two President’s Transfer Scholarships that, along with another outside scholarship, completely covers my tuition for the year.

Along with all of this, I was also able to find a part-time job, through the school, to work as a Graphic Designer for The Signpost (WSU’s school newspaper). I’m really excited about all of the opportunities that have been, and continue to be, presented to me since graduating from Salt Lake Community College.”

Alumni News: Issac Christensen

Issac standing

“It may seem ironic that a mostly Scandinavian blooded man would choose to paint a series of portraits of American Indians. As far as I know the blood of no former Indian killer runs through my veins. My ancestors are recent immigrants who “missed out” on the holocaust of the American Indian. At first I was inspired to paint them as a political statement. I imagined exhibiting them and spray-painting giant black x’s over them to represent the beautiful culture that white man uprooted, murdered, and placed on reservations, but perhaps worst of all, introduced to alcohol.

My mom and a friend both agreed that making it a political statement distracted from, and perhaps cheated, the underlying message: there are lessons to be learned from the first peoples of this land other than political messages. I’m drawn to the way of life of the American Indian. I’m disturbed by the adoption rate of new technology in a land where there is no precedent for such a rate, and no spiritual body collectively speaking out against its dangers. The way of life of the American Indian is a time-tested system that endured for thousands of years.

My paintings are largely interpretative, with no implied meaning other than hope that those who look upon them will dig deep inside themselves and think about the way of life these people lived. I hope they consider the irony of a white man painting them, and how they might look different if an American Indian did using the same technique.

Accusing me of cultural appropriation may be justified. That also is a part of the message. The message is only about me so far as it reflects positively upon them. And if I am looked upon less favorably for appropriating a culture I long for and revere, a little less attention upon white culture, pop culture, will be the result – and that’s a good thing.

My technique: The portraits are inspired by the photography of Edward S. Curtis, using the spontaneous direct painting method, alla prima. All of Curtis’ work is black & white, I render the paintings in color. The relationships of the colors aren’t researched or planned, receiving their inspiration only from whatever parts of academic training is buried away in my subconscious. The irony of the bold use of color is that line is the key to my work. There are so many different types of line. Smooth ones, jagged ones, scribbly ones, thick ones, thin ones. The spontaneous and varied application of the many different types of line, along with the need to immediately transition from one type of line to another within the same stroke is important. I try to harness the spirit of Egon Schiele in that vein. A thick phthalo blue outline, with sometimes smooth, sometimes jagged edges, is a common trait to all of the portraits. I abstain from neutrals as much as possible.”

ALUMNI NEWS: Derek Ballard “Courier Girl”

Derek Ballard Courier GirlFrom Boneshaker Magazine:

Boneshaker Magazine, founded in 2009 in Bristol, England, is a celebration of cycling, full of articles, personal stories and anecdotes about people and projects doing great things with bicycles around the globe. Derek Ballard’s design “Courier Girl” appeared on the cover of Boneshaker Magazine, Issue 16.

Now “Courier Girl” is available to purchase as a digital print. Printed by Rik at Ripe Digital onto thick, textured, A3 size Tintoretto Gesso art paper, each print hand embossed with the Boneshaker embosser.

Check out more of Derek’s work at

DESIGN NEWS/GATHERINGS: AAF of Utah Presents Trevor Graves



Trevor Graves photoWednesday, September 16, 2015 @ Church & State – 370 South 300 East / SLC

11:30 – Check-in starts / Noon SHARP! to 1:30 PM – Lunch & Presentation

Parking is available on street at meters, or across the street in the The City Library public parking. Both are pay options and AAF encourages you to carpool and allow time for parking.

Students is $15 / AAF Members $25


From AAF:
“Trevor Graves has the privilege of being one of the pioneers of snowboarding photography. Chasing the snow around the globe in the era of snowboarding’s most phenomenal growth in the ‘90s. In 2000 he won the coveted Crystal Awards, an action sports photo shoot-off held in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

As a founder of Nemo his contribution to the team today is to find partnerships with potential clients, creatives and causes. Nemo is an Active Lifestlye brand design agency based in Portland, Oregon. Nemo solves business problems by connecting a brand’s vision and audience values via Nemo’s trademarked “Corizontal” process.

Then Nemo creates amazing consumer experiences, turning those insights into creative firepower. Trevor has steered the company through 16 phenomenal years of commercial and artistic output.

His ongoing projects include expanding the Nemo business, sits on the board of directors for the non-profit Entrepreneur’s Organization, personal video/photography, and husband/Dad duties with his wife Amy and their three children.”

Sign-up link for students:

ALUMNI NEWS: Matt Page on Kirby-Vision!

Alumni News
Matt Page on Kirby-Vision!

Matt Page is a huge Galactus fan who regularly writes about “The hunger that does not cease.” Matt’s Aztec/Mayan inspired “Galactus and Silver Surfer”
is now featured on the blog, KIRBY-VISION. This blog is curated by Jason Garrattley and showcases creative work inspired by the art and concepts of Jack Kirby. It is open to artists from any field and contributions are welcome in any media.


Matt Page’s tribute blog:

Matt Page’s work:

NEWS: Alumni at 2015 DIY Festival!


The 2015 Craft Lake City DIY Festival was held at the Gallivan Center on Friday, August 7th and Saturday, August 8th. Several VAD Alumni participated:

Natalee Cooper

Obake Style / Magen Mitchell & Nick Burke

Katrina (Flores) Parkinson

Derek Ballard & Brighton Metz

Esther Longmore

From Craft Lake City:

“The Craft Lake City DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Festival was formed in 2009 by Angela H. Brown, editor and publisher of SLUG Magazine (Salt Lake UnderGround), as a way to showcase local DIY (do it yourself) culture.

Since then, Craft Lake City has expanded the DIY Festival to become the state’s largest, local-centric, two-day arts festival, with over 200 local artisans, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Building, two stages for musical and dance performances, local food vendors, food trucks and hosting over 40,000 festival attendees.

Furthermore, the organization seeks to enhance Utah’s DIY arts culture by broadening the definition of “craft”  to encompass all things handmade – including craft food, STEM and DIY engineers (electronic makers).”

For more:

NEWS: Alumni Magen Mitchell at 3tArts!

Obake Bloody Rabbits Obake closeup

From 3tArts:

“Magen Mitchell is joining us from Obake Style! You’re definitely going to enjoy her creepy cute work! Get a sneak peek of her piece right here!

Magen Mitchell is a multi-media artist from Salt Lake City, Utah. She started life as an illustrator and graphic designer, took up painting, learned to screen print, and now plays with laser-cut wood. She likes to shake things up and try new mediums. Her brand, Obake Style, comes from the Japanese word for shape-shifting goblins. There’s playfulness in the way she blends the unexpected.

As a child of the 80s, Magen was really influenced by the wave of anime, manga, and video games that were adapted for American children around that time and it shows in her work. But she’s also heavily influenced by the graphic, often symmetrical nature of traditional folk art. Her favorite subjects to depict in her work are cute and/or creepy. She likes to combine related or even diametrically opposed ideas into surprising results.”

Get more Obake Style here:

From 3tArts:

“Three Chicks who love pop culture, Jane Estantino, Stephanie Han, and Katie McAtee, came together with the re-release of the 20th anniversary of the Sailor Moon anime. With a shared love of Sailor Moon, this art show represents their desire to share that love and some fantastic inspired works with other fans.

3tArts opened their first gallery at rothick art haus in Anaheim, CA on July 5th, with the opening of Moon Crisis: A Sailor Moon Tribute Art Show.”

Get more 3tArts here:


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