Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Logan Mooney- Student Spotlight

Mainly working with vector illustration design, Logan Mooney’s work transcends the stigma of textual, straightforward graphic design and moves into the realm of fine art. Mooney creates rich, detailed, clean compositions using Adobe Illustrator and the pen tool that he describes are almost like I Spy. When asked about his process Mooney says he simply begins by taking inspiration from images and things he sees day to day. These images could be anything he finds interesting or abnormal, he then creates a sketch and begins to add detail, or accessories to figures and animals like teeth or jewelry. He then scans his sketches into the computer and begins working with Illustrator, or sometimes a Wacom tablet.

To create his piece Medusa, Mooney started with a drawing of a female figure he was working on for class, the drawing was then scanned into the computer, and reworked with the pen tool for a total of 24 hours. Mooney adds that drawing hair has always been his least favorite part of drawing the figure, which inspired the melting candles instead of hair. The candles create a soft yellow glow covering the body, which Mooney says was deliberate to create a sense of softness and natural light. Overall, the image conveys a more non-traditional depiction of the Greek mythological monster. Instead of snakes for hair like the traditional medusa, Mooney has used melting candles, which gives the figure a sense of warmth and femininity instead of darkness and evil. This really conveys the idea of the female figure as soft, warm, inviting, but also mysterious. The figure also holds a church candle snuffer which adds to the symbolism of the piece and makes the viewer question Mooney’s intent for the image.

Convolutions of Eden
Another example of Mooney’s work is his piece Convolutions of Eden. For this piece Mooney took inspiration from the creation story in the Bible, adding his own twist to the story. Mooney reveals that inspiration for this piece came mainly from his own personal journey with religion. The curved intertwining lines symbolize Mooney’s fluid thought process, while the rest of the imagery is inspired by the creation story. However, Mooney has also included some small details that are not part of the story including a cocoon, and other egg like symbols. To him these symbols relate to fertility and mothers. He adds that in today’s world mothers seem undervalued and that we should appreciate their sacrifice and commitment. Mooney also adds that a lot of his work is inspired by the work of flash (tattoo) artists, which is exemplified by his close tight knit compositions, as well as his method of story telling through imagery. Mooney feels that story telling is an important part of his work and that changing the interpretation of the creation story was the main goal of Convolutions of Eden. For this piece Mooney expresses his desire to redefine the story to focus less on the initial creation and downfall of man to creation and rebirth as part of his spiritual journey. To create this piece, Mooney uses a simple unified color scheme, using a bright almost neon green, contrasted against a grey background with other darker and lighter green hues. Mooney’s use of color is bold and applied to create contrasting outlines. Mooney says this is intentional and inspired partly by his interest in flash design as well. He uses a mix of simplified imagery that overall creates a complex composition. All of the elements in this piece flow and have an organic feel to them reinforcing the idea of creation and Eden, and adding to the story Mooney is trying to tell.

Self Portrait

Overall, Mooney states what he is trying to accomplish in his work is a unified composition, asking himself, how many things can I add and still make this work? Mooney wants the viewer to think and question, all the while searching for the small details he has placed in the composition, looking for the easter eggs if you will. Mooney says he gets inspiration from many things but really enjoys art nouveau, flash art, street art, and the work of Dan Mumford and Ken Taylor. All in all, Mooney is a storyteller who asks a lot of what if questions. Looking at the ordinary world and searching for the abnormal, Mooney uses symbolism to convey his own personal thoughts and ideas by adding small details and using interesting subject matter. Using vector illustration as a medium for fine art Mooney steps beyond the world of traditional graphic design and uses his own personal style and ideas to create works of art.
Mooney at work
         Currently Logan Mooney is a fifth year graphic design major and will be applying for BFA in the Fall of 2014. He also works at the Valley Vanguard as a graphic designer/cartoonist, and has had his work published in Cardinal Sins, in both the Fall 2013 edition and the Winter 2014 edition. He also had his work in the Winter 2014 Cyberspace Competition II Exhibit at the University Art Gallery, where he won a merit award for his piece Medusa.

Alison Bur
Gallery Assistant
University Art Gallery
Saginaw Valley State University

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stephanie Palagyi Art Exhibit

Stephanie Palagyi
Oil on Birch
Deep Water
Stephanie Palagyi
Oil on birch
In Stephanie Palagyi’s nature inspired paintings, the artist creates a semi-abstract space by layering compositional elements. Painted on birch panel, her orchestrated color schemes help to reinforce the compositional space created by overlap and placement of shapes on the surface. The subject matter is often reminiscent of plants and roots, reaching away from the surface and toward the viewer. In pieces such as Deep Water, life seems to be springing from a central focal point and expanding to the outer edges of the painting.

In Syncopation, Palagyi contrasts the central, organic form with a repetitive sequence of geometric shapes in the outer corners. She uses blue and orange hues to create contrast between the center and outer edges, with the branches creating a transition between the warm and cool tones. While the plant life appears as if it could be emerging from beneath a flat surface, the repeated pattern in the lower left corner creates an equivocal space by slightly overlapping and causing transparency.

The Stephanie Palagyi Art Exhibit will be on display through April 11th with an artist reception Thursday, April 3rd from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. For gallery hours and more information, visit

Amy Gibas
Gallery Assistant
University Art Gallery
Saginaw Valley State University

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cyberspace Competition II Winners

1st Place, Ryan Buyssens, Resistance
 1st Place- Ryan Buyssens - Resistance, laser- sintered polyamide, carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, aircraft plywood, electric motor, proximity sensor, and microcontroller
2nd Place, Blake Johnson, The Face of the Future
2nd Place- Blake Johnson - The Face of the Future, digital interactive art
3rd Place- Misty Coss - Embryo, ink on metal

Honorable Mentions

Dave Littell- Elegy II, digital image
Jessica Balindo- Music. Passion. Love. Life, digital image

Merit Awards

Tammy Jewell- Pearl Red, digital photography
Rebecca Zeiss- Untitled One, Resonance Of The Machinist, ultra violet printing ink on brushed aluminum
Logan Mooney- Medusa, vector illustration

Director Awards
3rd Place, Misty Coss, Embryo

Alison Bur- Transience, digital photography
David Janssen Jr. – Bliss, mixed media
Tammy Jewell- The Beauty of It, digital photography
Gaoxee Stephanie Yang- Be the Jewel of Your Own Beauty, digital photo manipulation

Erin Case with Jim Cherewick- No Taste, collage/mp3

Randal Crawford
Competition judge

Film Noir- giclee print on metal
Caffeinated- giclee print on metal

Randal Crawford currently teaches at Delta College, with a MFA in fibers from Cranbrook Academy of Art. His pieces vary in media from woven fibers to digital. His pieces currently on display are creating using the giclee method, which are images created from high resolution digital scans and printed with quality inks onto various supports. To see more of his work please visit,, and stop in the gallery to see his work on display.

Artist Statement
A line never ends. It just goes through different processes and changes. Roots, branches, and trees are, to me, the most powerful line drawings. My art and my life, materialistically and mentally, are like a stream: always in a state of flux. I like to think about that as the materials flow together, and I let the piece take me where it should go.
Randal Crawford, Film Noir left, and Caffeinated right
The architect of nature guides me. I am enthralled with its chaotic repetition and distinguishing patterns from ever-changing reality. There is comfort in bringing order to chaos. I try to control and manipulate what is found naturally and incorporate that into my pieces. Everything in nature is connected, even though it suggests individuality. I feel that a piece is truly complete when my research, process, and thoughts have truly came to life.
The impetus for my work is the unveiling of levels through layers, slicing, burning, piercing, slices, breaks, and tears. My wood sculptures are gouged and scored as if employed by native rivers and streams, altering their form obsessively till their shape emphasizes details and surfaces that many times represent experiences or people. The cracks, chips, marks and textures expose those experiences, though many times their importance is only apparent to me. My favorite materials are the ones I can affect. Through plotting spaces and shapes, the marks become a language. It maps an emotional journal that one cannot just look past, but its symbolism stops and engages the viewer in a search for its meaning.
When doing certain techniques, I never know how it will turn out in the end, so it is always a journey. It is always a result and that is the excitement. My weavings are inspired by the techniques and aspirations of the African Kente cloth and other indigenous historical textile methods. Throughout history cloth has been utilized as a structure and means of recording history. When pen and ink were not readily available, families passed reflections of community, national beliefs and their meanings through textiles. Even though the lines and shapes seem abstract, there is a story behind them. Like in history, the stripes represent recordings of certain times and experiences for me.
The color theory I employ in my work emphasizes and aggressively balances tensions and forces movement. The visual impact of objects stitched in and entwined into each other speaks of a sequence and a story. I am often impressed by boundaries and how their juxtaposition entitles invasion and outvasion.
I often exhibit my work in grids and stacking. I think about that as I make my digital pieces which technically are an assembly of pixels aligned in a grid. Even weavings use grids. I incorporate very personal images and symbols that are often obscured from their literal meaning, but by their layering and composition yield the vitality of my proclamation.
As an artist, I am connecting colors, dreams, and experiences and looking at the world in a new ways and how I can express my experiences, my questions. In a sense I have a relationship with each piece I create. The true attraction lies in the desire to challenge myself to go from concept to reality.
A lot of my work is intuitive. I problem solve as I go. I allow it to speak to me and it presents me with problems; it comforts me with surprises. I am the creator. I listen to my work, I try to see what my work wants to achieve. The older I get, the more experiences I have to draw from. Like the line and stream, my art and my life is always changing.

Buyssens's piece in motion
Ryan Buyssens’s piece Resistance has surprised viewers since it’s arrival. Buyssen’s piece is a mechanical wonder, with its motion sensor and wings that mimic the movement of a bird in flight. As soon as someone steps in front of the piece the wings spring to action and wave, with most viewers asking if it can actually fly. Most are startled when the piece springs to life, others stand in front of it captivated and watch as the wings move up and down. The piece is simple and clean and full of imagination, inviting the viewer to stay for a while and wonder.

Different view of Johnson's piece
Professor Blake Johnson’s piece, Face of the Future is an interactive piece inviting the viewer to click the mouse and reveal different sounds, photos and colors changing the images on the three part head. One image shows a self portrait of Johnson in full, while the other sections move and reveal other images, colors and sounds. The sounds include cat noises, snaps, and other animated sounds. And the images vary from different glasses and mustaches, to different heads and eyes.

Misty Coss’s piece Embryo is printed on a metal surface and is given the appearance of a floating embryo, making the viewer question the integrity of the image and its meaning. The metal creates a reflective surface for the image and also a different texture allowing for a sense of roughness and age that really adds to the image as being an actual floating embryo or not a clear precise image of this world. Overall, Coss's piece invites the viewer to stay awhile and ponder the meaning.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to all who submitted! Also a big thank you to our judge Randy Crawford! The artist reception for this exhibit will be Thursday, March 13th starting at 4:30 until 6:30 pm, there will be live music and refreshments!

Alison Bur
Gallery Assistant
University Art Gallery
Saginaw Valley State University

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Artist Spotlight: David Janssen Jr.

Bliss by David Janssen Jr.

David Janssen Jr.
Saginaw Valley State University student and Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate David Janssen Jr. constructs digital prints of collages made from magazine images. The collages, originally created in his small sketchbook and converted to large prints, prominently feature female forms which have been fragmented or altered by various shapes and patterns. Some of Janssen’s pieces, such as Bliss, were created by first printing the images at large scale and then collaging on the surface of the canvas.

David Janssen Jr.
While Janssen’s figures could be considered provocative, he leaves much of the anatomy to the imagination of the viewer, creating an implication of form with other shapes. The placement of shapes in relation to the surface creates an abstract space, causing the viewer to question the depth or flatness of the image. Often times Janssen will add painted elements to the surface of the printed work. In Skyward, he uses a repeated pattern of dots to create transparencies and overlap, leaving an uncertainty between painted and printed elements.

 Janssen’s work is on display as a part of University Art Gallery’s Cyberspace II Competition Exhibit, open until March 14th with a reception on Thursday, March 13th. Janssen received a Director’s Choice award for his piece Bliss.

Amy Gibas
Gallery Assistant
University Art Gallery
Saginaw Valley State University

Friday, February 7, 2014

Framing Tips and Tricks

    Framing can be a difficult thing, from mats to hanging to where to buy materials, it all gets confusing. The first thing to think about is how you want your piece to look. Do you want it to look more traditional? Sleek, modern? And how can you achieve that look? There are several different ways to mat and frame a piece, weather its custom framing or putting it together yourself there are a lot of decisions to make.
Depending on the size of your piece custom framing may be a better option and can be easily done at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or local shops and galleries including The Golden Gallery in Bay City. Custom framing gives you more choice in mat/frame color and style as well as more choice in how you want the piece to look. However, custom framing can also get very expensive but can be worth it in the end due to durability and craft.
However, you can also buy your own materials and do it yourself, and experiment with what you like and what you don’t like. Also don’t forget about how you’re going to hang your piece, wire, metal brackets?  So here are a few helpful tips,

1.      What/Where to buy:
-       Frame, Pre cut mats or large sheet of mat board, wire and hangers for the back (possibly photo corners)
-       Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Golden Gallery, etc. 

2.     Frames- Solid black? Thin, thick?
Neilson Frame

-       Make sure you get the size you need, what size is your print, drawing? Ex. If your print is 11x14, then your mat needs to be 16x20 and so does your frame! These measurements are usually printed on store bought mats but you are not limited to them, you can cut your own window and create a different size mat and a different size frame, those are just standard measurements.
-       Make sure your frame is sturdy! Can it be hung on a wall? Will the backing snap off?
-       There are many frames to chose from, just make sure it is durable! However the more durable frames can get expensive (around $25) but they can be reused over and over again.
Neilson Frames
-       A good brand is Neilson, they have been around a long time and are very durable. They are custom cut and come in a huge variety of choices, and can cost around $20 per frame, you can order them online here:

REMEMBER if you chose to buy the Neilson frames, you must buy the hardware that is required to put the frame together! The kit costs a dollar and is available on this site! You can also find Neilson and other frames at:  

3.     How do you want to mat your piece?
Window Mounting

-       Window Mount – Photo corners on blank mat board, with a window that covers the piece, opens and closes
-       Basic Mat- Window cut in mat board that frames the piece, usually with a back mat
-       Also, keep in mind if you are a student mat cutters and other equipment is available in A112 
- Also, if cutting your own window, usually the window is raised a little so there is more space at the bottom, which actually to our eye looks more even, especially when the front of the mat is signed.
Basic Window Mount

4.     Getting your piece ready to hang
-       Hobby Lobby and Michaels will put hangers and wire on the back for you for $5 a frame, which isn’t too bad if you don’t want to do it yourself, just go at a time when it isn’t busy!!
-       Otherwise it’s not hard to do and is inexpensive. Hangers for the back can be found at Hobby Lobby and Michaels for just over a dollar plus coated wire for the back. All you have to do is screw the hangers on either side of the piece and secure the wire and your piece should be able to hang anywhere! Just make sure you remember what direction your piece is going….vertical or horizontal.
-   Also if putting the hangers on yourself I would suggest putting them about 5 in. down from the top of the frame so the wire isn't visible.

 5.     If framing photography- and you don’t have a home printing system, I would suggest Meijer for prints, they usually do a good job and will replace the print if you aren’t satisfied. But their color is accurate and I find them to be best out of other chain stores.
 These suggestions are based off of my own experience with matting and framing and all of it’s difficulties and rewards, if you have any other suggestions or places you like to get your materials please comment below! Thank you

Alison Bur
Gallery Assistant
University Art Gallery
Saginaw Valley State University