Archive for the ‘Graphic Design News’ Category

Ross Denton and Emily Sue Laird Make Their Marks on WAG at June 6 Show

Posted on: May 19th, 2015 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents Amour fo’ Phallus, a riotous and ridiculous show of drawings and animation by Watkins alumni Ross Denton and Emily Sue Laird, at its downtown gallery WAG during the June 6 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl.

Amour fo' Phallus ELaird_RDenton 6.6.15 WwebWith a goal of celebrating the absurd aspects of life in an innocent and fun format, Denton and Laird will fill the gallery from floor to ceiling with chalk images drawn directly on the walls and architectural fixtures of the space. The show will also feature their chalk animation of a budding, blossoming and decaying Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanium), one of the largest and most rare flowering plants on earth. (It’s also known as the corpse flower for an odor reminiscent of the smell of a decomposing mammal.)

“Emily Sue Laird and Ross Denton are kindred spirits with a shared passion for wandering, drawing inspiration from serendipitous discoveries and the unlooked for,” said Dan Brawner, chair of the Department of Graphic Design. “Amour fo’ Phallus is the catalyst for a creative collaboration and offers a unique insight into the productive minds of two lovers of life.”

About the artists:

EmilySusanLaird WwebEmily Sue Laird is a Nashville-based visual artist, production designer and installation artist who earned a BFA in Fine Art from Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in 2011. In the past few years, Emily Sue has designed custom work for brands such as West Elm, Janet’s Planet, My Gnome on the Roam, Holiday Inn Suites and Bongo Java, and custom art for multiple music festivals including Marathon Music Works’ Block Party and Nashville Scene’s 25th Birthday Bash. Since 2014 she has been owner and lead designer at Artist Nashville, providing a variety of creative services: mural projects, graphic design, illustration, chalk art and set design for film and television, fashion shows, music videos, tours and in-store retail displays. Her sculptures, textile art and paintings, which frequently incorporate reuse materials, have been shown in several downtown arcade and Wedgewood-Houston galleries and she has been featured by the Nashville Scene, Native Magazine, Lightning 100 and Nashville Arts Magazine. She’s currently working on the second edition of Replication, Nashville’s only juried 3D printing show, in September.

RossDenton WwebRoss Denton is a 2015 graduate of Watkins, earning a BFA in Graphic Design with a concentration in illustration. He grew up on the South Harpeth River outside of Nashville, surrounded by forests and hills, where he never had to wear any shoes. Legend has it that Ross started to draw when he first held a pencil at the age of two and he never stopped. He has won local, district and national Student American Advertising Federation (Addy) awards for illustration, and his work has been published in the international design journal Graphis.

WAG–an acronym for Watkins Arcade Gallery–is located in suite 77 upstairs in the historic Arcade and is open the first Saturday evening of the month during each Art Crawl (from 6-9 p.m.), and by appointment.

firstsaturdayartcrawl-bordered WwebWAG joins approximately 20 participating Art Crawl galleries along Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Admission is free, and the Nashville Downtown Partnership provides two free shuttles traveling among the venues.  For more information on the First Saturday Art Crawl, visit

Ross Denton for WAGAbout WAG
The Watkins Arcade Gallery–WAG–is a public exhibition space of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film committed to serving the College community and the community at large through exhibitions and programs that enhance curriculum as well as engage a greater audience in the visual arts. WAG is dedicated to supporting the educational and cultural mission of the College by encouraging students to think independently and creatively about their art practice and role as critical thinkers within the cultural landscape. The venue will present shows year-round featuring work by Watkins students, alumni and other professional artists. For inquiries, contact [email protected]. WAG is the second Watkins-run gallery space, joining the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery, the primary exhibiting space on the College’s campus in Metro Center.

Artists Explore Feminist ‘Point of Reference’ in Currey Show Opening May 28

Posted on: May 15th, 2015 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents Point of Reference,  a student-organized, mixed media show exploring definitions of feminist ideals, from May 28 through July 18 in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus.

The exhibition’s opening reception on Thursday, May 28, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. is free and open to the public.

Lily Adcock, "Transgression"

Lily Adcock, “Transgression” (2014)

Participating are eleven artists – current and former Watkins students and recent alumni from Watkins and MTSU – committed to challenging themselves as feminists through the art they create.

  • Lily Adcock, Watkins, Fine Arts ’15 (painting)
  • Burt Blackwood (video)
  • Peggy Corlew (writer of exhibition manifesto)
  • Ashley Doggett, Watkins, Fine Arts junior (multidisciplinary work)
  • Kelsey Goessman, Watkins, Graphic Design ’15 (multidisciplinary work)
  • Corrina Joyner, Watkins, Fine Arts sophomore (multidisciplinary work)
  • Mika Mollenkopf, MTSU, Fine Arts ‘15 (sculpture)
  • Maxwell Parker (photography)
  • Jill Schumann, Watkins, Photography ‘15 (photography)
  • Sophia Stevenson, Watkins, Fine Arts senior (sculpture)
  • Laura Whitfield, Watkins, Photography ’15 (photography)
Sophia Stevenson,  untitled (fabric slip cast, 2014)

Sophia Stevenson, untitled (fabric slip cast, 2014)

Exhibition statement:  Feminist ideologies are easily misinterpreted throughout history; our departure will constitute our own point of reference. This exhibition explores the ideals of feminism historically pre-defined. No longer passively accepting all knowledge as truth, we are actively approaching our individual experiences, and have formed a group to create our dialogue with stories untold. The purpose of this group is to learn and share the knowledge and experiences of feminist artists living within the contemporary world.

Point of Reference was organized by Jill Schumann and originally shown in Kent State University’s Main Hall Art Gallery, March 10-April 6. Read more here.

Manifesto statement:  In this defining manifesto, we focus more on our individuality, our mode of thought and philosophy, and our explicit wishes starting to turn to action more than a rigid call to action requested of the public. It is a thought imbued blueprint, positioning as an upbeat and positive threshold to the road of our futures, and fuel and inspiration for battling obstacles of patriarchy, or perhaps, our own fears. It’s gentle nature inversely and forcefully reminds us, that yes, our cause is worth it, we are worth it, and that feminism is important.

Click to read more: Peggy Corlew, A Moving Manifesto

Currey Gallery’s summer hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge


Graphic Design Seniors Take Their “SkillShot” in April 30 Portfolio Showcase at Anode

Posted on: April 2nd, 2015 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents the Senior Graphic Design Exhibition “SkillShot,” featuring work by Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree candidates Holly Carden, Jay Greer, Melissa Mayhew and Jill Thompson, on Thursday, April 30, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Anode in East Nashville.

Click to enlarge evite

Click to enlarge evite

The one-night-only portfolio showcase, which is free and open to the public, will introduce to the community four outstanding graphic designers and illustrators through a showcase of print and multimedia projects in advertising, packaging, branding and identity, digital publishing and illustration.

Each graduating class of graphic designers at Watkins chooses a presentation theme for their group BFA show, and this year’s concept reflects that “Just like pinball, excellent design requires a careful balance of luck, skill and wizardry.”

“The Spring 2015 class is a small but potent group of designers, said Jim Valosik (Watkins ’07), award-winning art/creative director and adjunct instructor in senior portfolio. “In addition to being amazing people to enter the workforce, they come with some serious design and Illustration chops — their talent level is as high as their professionalism.”

Holly Carden (Smyrna, TN) –

Holly Carden, “Sad Turtle”

Originally from Buckley, North Wales, Holly will present high-detail illustrations (pen & ink, watercolor, pencil) used in packaging design, hand-constructed product mockups, advertising campaigns, and more.

Over the course of her experience at Watkins, Holly’s illustration work has been juried into multiple exhibitions and recognized with honors such as the Robb Swaney Prize for Visual Excellence and a National Student Addy Award. Upon graduating, Holly intends to focus on growing her freelance illustration business and becoming a bigger part of Nashville’s thriving art and design community.

Jay Greer (Collierville, TN) –


Jay Greer, “Robo-Rabitt”

Bizarre branding meets face-melting illustration in my fun and freaky portfolio; low-brow meets high-culture, so there’s a little something for everyone. Illustration, advertising, typography, and brand storytelling will all share the spotlight in this particular show.”

Recognized and exhibited in a number of shows throughout his time at Watkins, Jay is as busy in the business of the design world as he is in the local low-brow art scene. Jay enjoys wielding the digital pen when it comes to illustration and typography, although he has a passion for the old school with ink, paint, and markers always on hand. After graduation, Jay hopes to give the advertising world a shot while also growing his freelance design business.

Melissa Mayhew, Student Addys poster

Melissa Mayhew, Student Addys poster

Melissa Mayhew (Lawrence, KS)

Driven by color and inspired by nature, Melissa is excited to collaborate with other designers and help people achieve their creative vision. When she isn’t painting or drawing, Melissa loves to read, learn, and travel.

Jill S. Thompson (Pulaski, TN) –

jillthompson_REMGigPoster Wweb

Jill S. Thompson, R.E.M gig poster

Jill is a graphic designer who incorporates illustration and printmaking into her work. She has experience managing all aspects of production, from concept-generation to coordinating with vendors for creation of the final product. Jill has designed logos, flyers, email blasts, digital conference materials, infographics, and even large-scale banners.

For more information, visit show website

The award-winning creative agency Anode Inc. is located at 926 Main Street/37206 in East Nashville (near the corner at McFerrin Avenue).

Watkins Graphic Design students and alumni are consistently among the most honored in the country through their submissions to regional, national and international advertising design competitions, particularly in the student and professional categories of the ADDY Awards (hosted by the American Advertising Federation). At the 2015 Nashville Student ADDYs,

Holly Carden, "Groaty"

Holly Carden, “Groaty”

Watkins won more top awards than any other school competing (for the third consecutive year), this year claiming 12 Golds, 11 Silvers, two of four Judge’s Choice honors and Best in Show. In the next-level District competition, against schools from five states, Watkins students again won big, claiming four Golds and four Silvers.

Jill S. Thompson, "Ken"

Jill S. Thompson, “Ken”

Watkins students continue to blanket Nashville and the region with their intelligence, visual wit and creativity through unique opportunities with several beloved Nashville community events. In the past few years, their talents have been chosen to promote signature happenings such as the American Artisan Festival, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, Music City Hot Chicken Festival, Nashville Sister Cities Program, Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera performances, and Murfreesboro’s JazzFest, as well as the Nashville Scene’s “Best of Nashville” cover art.

About the program
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design at Watkins College begins with a strong foundation in the basic principles and elements of design and typography. The curriculum then builds incomplexity until students graduate with a professional, high quality, entry-level portfolio. Coursework effectively covers art, design, typography, technology, professional practices and the history of art and design. Small class sizes allow for each student to have individual consultations with faculty at every stage of assigned projects. Graphic design electives, including internships with area advertising and design agencies, enhance each student’s education.

Melissa Mayhew, "Dazed"

Melissa Mayhew, “Dazed”

The curriculum culminates in the capstone course, Senior Portfolio Development, where each graduating senior works with senior faculty to polish his/her portfolio. Finally, the graduating class, as a team, puts together a senior exhibition that features their portfolios.

Kevin Dietz Draws Swaney Prize 2015

Posted on: March 26th, 2015 by Caroline Davis

Fine Art major Kevin Dietz, a sophomore from Memphis, was awarded the 2015 Robb Swaney Prize for Excellence in Visual Expression during judging held on March 12. Established in 2006 by Mary Jane Swaney in memory of her husband, noted Nashville architect Charles Robb Swaney, the $1,000 cash prize honors a student who produced “visual designs and patterns that spoke to others.”

Jurors Martin Shofner of Shofner Buck Architects/Architectsure and Walter Crouch of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, former associates of Mr. Swaney, praised Dietz’s charcoal and graphite drawings and woodcut and poly-litho prints; in particular, they cited the power of two charcoal drawings which were based on the mythological figure Silenus. Dietz explained, “[Silenus’] archetype has been transferable through out literature and in popular culture without too much representation to his deeper philosophical manifestation. I wanted to play on the classical representation of this character and experiment with eroding this drawing until he became a series of lines and distortion. I’m fascinated with imagery of history and power and all I want to do is deflate them or find those figures whose potency and story is not that of fame and glory.”

Students were selected by their department chairs to participate in the annual competition, and brought examples of their work to display and discuss.

Congratulations to all the 2015 Swaney Prize nominees!

Fine Art:
Kevin Dietz
Kay Kennedy

Alex Mattingly

Graphic Design:
Yanet Mireles
Sara Schork

Interior Design
Laurabelle Chytrowsky
Thera Barnes

Joe Nunez
Alanna Styer

Alanna  Styer

Alanna Styer

Swaney 2015 Thera Barnes edit

Thera Barnes


Laurabelle Chytrowsky

Laurabelle Chytrowsky

Kay Kennedy


Kevin Dietz

Kevin Dietz

Yanet Mireles

Yanet Mireles

Sara Schork

Sara Schork

Joe Nunez

Joe Nunez

Alex Mattingly

Alex Mattingly





Swaney judging 0042 edit Wweb

Currey Jurors Tag David Anderson’s Work for Top Purchase Prize

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by Caroline Davis

2 viewers Currey2015 WwebDavid Anderson, a junior Fine Art major, claimed the top honor at the 2015 Currey Student Juried Show for his oil painting Untitled Map. As winner of the Anny Gowa Purchase Award, which comes with a $500 cash prize, Anderson’s work will be part of the permanent Watkins collection. A total of eight winners were announced by President Ellen Meyer during a February 5 reception in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery. Students received cash prizes as well as gift certificates courtesy of Plaza Artist Materials and Picture Framing.

Students in all disciplines submitted 161 pieces this year, with 21 selected by two jurors: artist/curator Karen Seapker, who currently splits her time between Nashville and Brooklyn, and Pradip Malde, professor of art, Department of Art and Art History, University of the South, Sewanee.  The Currey Student show will remain on display through March 12.

David Anderson with President Ellen Meyer

David Anderson with President Ellen Meyer and his two paintings juried into the show

David Anderson, Fine Art, junior
Untitled Map (oil on panel)

Luisiana Mera, Fine Art, senior
“Gaby, Dora, and Little Lulu” (charcoal on paper)

Ashley Doggett, Fine Art, sophomore
“In Ictu Occuli” (wood block)

Casey Payne, Fine Art, senior
“Big Girl” (mixed media on paper)


Luisi Mera

Luisi Mera

Aaron Harper, Fine Art, junior
“Phases of God Baby” (oil on leather chessboard under a rock)

Noelle Grimes, Graphic Design, junior
Radiohead Poster (mixed media)

Heather Barrie, Fine Art, senior
“Family Project” (digital print)

Kayla Saito, Fine Art, senior
Injuries for the Settlement (mixed media)




Casey Payne

Casey Payne

Noelle Grimes Currey 2015 Wweb

Noelle Grimes


Ashley Doggett

Ashley Doggett

Heather Barrie

Heather Barrie

Aaron Harper

Aaron Harper

Kayla Saito

Kayla Saito

Watkins Welcomes Design Star Jessica Hische on January 22

Posted on: January 10th, 2015 by Caroline Davis
Jessica Hische (photo by Kari Orvik)

Jessica Hische (photo by Kari Orvik)

Letterer, illustrator and type designer Jessica Hische – at the age of 31, one of the most influential graphic designers in the world – will launch the 2015 Watkins Visiting Artists Series with a talk on Thursday, January 22, at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. The presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater.

The event is free and the public is invited. The Watkins Visiting Artist Series is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

LECTURE TITLE: “My Illustrious Ascent Toward Less Exciting Work”
Designers try desperately to make work that’s impactful—to create work that will leave people breathless and hungry for more. Young designers in particular are endlessly trying to impress, their designs scream “Design!”, their type choices are bold, their color palettes are disruptive. Many designers carry this momentum throughout their careers, but there are a few people that begin to see differently. Instead of focusing on the flash, they hone in on the details, noticing things that others can barely perceive. Does this make their work better? Does it make it boring? Jessica will guide you through her own work and show you what happens when the small and imperceptible becomes even more exciting than the big, bright and flashy.

Seating in the Watkins Theater is limited, so please reserve online. Seats will be held until 6:15 p.m.


Known internationally for her award-winning lettering, illustrations and typefaces, Ms. Hische is also an avid “internetter,” with a special interest in the intersection of arts and technology through the lens of web typography (she has the word “Type” tattooed on her left triceps). A native of Charleston, S.C., who grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, she graduated in 2006 from Tyler School of Art (at Temple University) with a degree in Graphic and Interactive Design, then worked for Headcase Design (Philadelphia) and at Louise Fili Ltd. (New York). In 2009, at the age of 25, she launched her freelance career; her extensive and impressive credits include projects in advertising, books, identity, editorial, marketing/merchandise for The Atlantic, Harper Collins, Target, The New York Times, Wes Anderson, Dave Eggers, Google, American Express, Nike, Samsung, OXFAM America, Speedo, Penguin Books, Neiman Marcus, Papyrus, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, MailChimp, Pinterest and Tiffany & Co., among numerous quirky and corporate others. She has been honored as an Art Directors Club “Young Gun” and in Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 (twice).

Jessica Hische Minot font poster WwebWhile not primarily a web designer, many of her personal projects are web-centric and she has become as well known for her side projects as for her client work. In her project Daily Drop Cap (2009), she created a new illustrative letter daily, working through the alphabet a total of twelve times; at its peak, the site had more than 100,000 visitors per month. She has also created a number of educational micro-sites including “Mom, This is How Twitter Works,” “Should I Work for Free?” and “Don’t Fear the Internet” (with Russ Maschmeyer, whom she married in 2012), each as entertaining as it is practical. (She even coined the term “procrastiworking” to describe her tendency to procrastinate on client work by working on personal projects.)

Many of these sites reflect an engagement with new media and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter (where she has over 88,000 followers), and they also demonstrate her advocacy for artists’ rights in an era of freelancing and liberal attitudes about intellectual property. Ms. Hische also embodies a new mode of presentation and marketing that rejects age-old distinctions between professional and personal identities. In all these respects, she is a designer whose career addresses the possibilities and predicaments of digital media for artists and creative people working today.

Jessica Hische at Title Case photo John Madere WwebMs. Hische works out of Title Case, a by-appointment-only collaborative studio in San Francisco (with fellow letterer and designer Erik Marinovich) as well as the Pencil Factory illustration and design collective in Brooklyn. An engaging, spirited presenter, since 2010 she has spoken at 50+ conferences and seminars all over the world—Auckland, Oslo, Dusseldorf, Dublin, Berlin, Barcelona, Guadalajara, Melbourne, Manila, Vancouver, Copenhagen and Capetown, for starters. She serves on the board of directors of the Type Directors Club, the leading international organization whose purpose is to support excellence in typography, both in print and on screen.

“Jessica Hische is one of the most influential letterers on the planet, inspiring our design students and faculty, in equal measure, with her prolific output of brilliant typography, illustration and pearls of wisdom,” said Dan Brawner, chair of the Department of Graphic Design at Watkins. “We are very proud to welcome her to Nashville to share her perspectives on art and design, the technologies she’s embraced in her unique way, and the rights and responsibilities of creative people.”

Examples of Ms. Hische’s work, writings, FAQ and more can be found at her website, or follow her via

Jessica Hische OrchardParkMall ad head turner WwebThe Watkins Visiting Artists Series, now in its fifth year, welcomes nationally and internationally recognized fine artists, designers, filmmakers, educators and critics to the campus and the community. The guest artists, whose work crosses many disciplinary boundaries, give public presentations, sharing their expertise and perspectives on their careers and providing insight into issues facing contemporary artists and designers.

The VAS offers students and the larger cultural community a rare opportunity to engage the work and ideas of trendsetting visual artists, designers, filmmakers and intellectuals. The critically acclaimed initiative has not only brought a number of internationally renowned artists to Nashville—like first-time city visitors Harrell Fletcher, R. H. Quaytman, David Hilliard, Jonathan Katz, Alec Soth and Artemio Rodriguez—but it has also invigorated the local art scene by introducing artists working in new media and performance—artists such as Nick Briz, Jon Satrom and Liz Magic Laser (2013 New York Armory Artist)—or those expanding the parameters of traditional media and art practice—such as Chris Sickels, Deborah Luster (2013 Guggenheim Fellow) and Natalia Almada (2013 MacArthur Fellow).

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; plentiful, free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, including updates to programming and future guests, visit or call 615-383-4848.

Jessica Hische Neiman Marcus gift tag WwebKey series participants from Watkins are Gallery Committee members Dan Brawner, professor and department chair of graphic design; Caroline Davis, director of external relations and assistant director of development; Mary Beth Harding, director of community education; Brady Haston, assistant professor of fine art and studio facilities manager; Morgan Higby-Flowers, assistant professor of fine art; Robin Paris, assistant professor and department chair of photography; Terry Thacker, professor of fine art; Tom Williams (committee chair), assistant professor of art history, and student representatives Holly Carden (Graphic Design) and Weng Tze Yang (Fine Art).

Jessica Hische Starbucks latte 04 WwebAbout Humanities Tennessee

Founded in 1973, Humanities Tennessee is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting lifelong learning, civil discourse, and an appreciation of history, diversity, and community among Tennesseans. Statewide programs include the annual Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word℠, the Appalachian and Tennessee Young Writers’ Workshops, a variety of History & Culture programs, Grants & Awards for teachers and community, among many others.

Mission: Humanities Tennessee nurtures the mutual respect and understanding essential to community by enabling Tennesseans to examine and critically reflect upon the narratives, traditions, beliefs, and ideas — as expressed through the arts and letters — that define us as individuals and participants in community life.

To learn more, visit



Jessica offers a comprehensive listing of design, typography and web dev resources on her website: //

Check out a couple [of the many] great interviews with Jessica in Rookie (2012) and Design Boom (2014)

Design sites to peruse =

Design Observer = Features news and critical essays on design, urbanism, social innovation and popular culture

I Love Typography = “It’s just about impossible to imagine a world without type, but at the same time type’s ubiquity has most of us taking it for granted. So take a closer look.”

The Type Directors Club = promoting excellence in typography for over 65 years

The Dieline and Lovely Package have featured several Watkins Graphic Design alumni, including
Stephen Jones
for J. D. Howard Reserve Cigars, Ignite Salsa and Manifique shaving kit

Julian Baker
on the Dieline
Julian on Lovely Package

Andy Gregg
on the Dieline

Lindsey Armstrong, Shelby Rodeffer and Katie DeSouza
on the Dieline

Watkins Serves Best Work at Currey Juried Show, Opening February 5

Posted on: January 5th, 2015 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film will present the 2015 Currey Juried Student Show, featuring outstanding work in fine art, film, graphic design, interior design and photography, from February 5–March 12 in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus.

Currey 2014 gallery viewer 0072 WwebAn opening reception and awards presentation will be held on Thursday, February 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Serving as Currey Show jurors are artist/curator Karen Seapker, who currently splits her time between Nashville and Brooklyn, and Pradip Malde, professor of art, Department of Art and Art History, University of the South, Sewanee.

Click to enlarge evite

Click to enlarge evite

COOP Gallery cooperative member/curator since 2013, she holds an MFA in Painting from Hunter College in New York City and a BA in Studio Art and Art History from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, and has been in residence at Chashama North in Pine Plains, NY. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Shanghai, with two solo shows earlier this year, in London (Canal Projects) and Nashville (Zeitgeist).

Malde has lived and worked as a photographic artist and teacher in Scotland and Tennessee since graduating from the Glasgow School of Art in 1980. He has exhibited in Europe and the US and has works in numerous collections including the Princeton University Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum (London) and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Edinburgh). He teaches classes in photography, documentary photography and electronic media and is currently working with students and alumni on ways of using photography for community development in Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica and Grundy County, TN.

All Watkins students are eligible to submit projects created since Fall 2014, with eight winners­–topped by the Anny Gowa Purchase Award­–announced by President Ellen L. Meyer.

Currey Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m.


Senior Graphic Design Goes “Bottoms Up” for Dec. 4 Showcase

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents the Senior Graphic Design Exhibition “Bottoms Up,” featuring work by Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree candidates Ryan Arauza, Zie Campbell, Ross Denton, Matthew Erwin and Jessica Yohn, on Thursday, December 4, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Deavor in East Nashville.

The one-night-only portfolio showcase, which is free and open to the public, will introduce to the community “five local designers brewed to perfection.” On display will be print and multimedia projects in advertising, packaging, web design, branding, digital publishing and illustration.

Each graduating class of graphic designers at Watkins chooses a presentation theme for their group BFA show, and this year’s “Bottoms Up” concept was inspired by a conversation about the growing number of micro breweries in town. Prompted by Ross Denton, they described what kind of brew they would be.

For more information, visit show website or

Deavor_front door WwebThe creative co-working and event space Deavor ( is located at 305 Jefferson Street, #125/37208 in the heart of East Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood (near the corner of 3rd Avenue North).

Ryan Arauza

Ryan Arauza

Watkins Graphic Design students and alumni are consistently among the most honored in the country through their submissions to regional, national and international advertising design competitions, particularly in the student and professional categories of the ADDY Awards (hosted by the American Advertising Federation). At the 2014 Nashville Student ADDYs,Watkins won more top-level awards than any other school competing (for the third consecutive year), claiming nine Golds, eight Silvers and three out of four Judge’s Choice honors.

Zie Campbell

Zie Campbell

Watkins students continue to blanket Nashville and the region with their intelligence, visual wit and creativity through unique opportunities with several beloved Nashville community events. In the past few years, their talents have been chosen to promote signature happenings such as the American Artisan Festival, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, Music City Hot Chicken Festival, Nashville Sister Cities Program, Nashville Symphony and Nashville Opera performances, and Murfreesboro’s JazzFest, as well as the Nashville Scene’s “Best of Nashville” cover art.

Ross Denton

Ross Denton


Matthew Erwin

Matthew Erwin

‘Watkins Alumni Exhibition Series No. 1’ Celebrates Community and Connections

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents “Watkins Alumni Exhibition Series No. 1,” featuring new work by 10 alumni in Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography and opening Thursday, November 20, with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus. The exhibition will run through December 12.

Participating artists in “Watkins Alumni Exhibition Series No. 1″ are Jeremy Adams (Film, 2003), Alicia W. Binkley (Graphic Design, 2008), Chris Doubler (Fine Art, 2006), Patricia Earnhardt (Fine Art, 2008),  Jennifer Georgescu (Photography, 2008), Derek Gibson (Fine Art, 2004), Pam Jolly Haile (Fine Art, 2013), Joshua Brent Montgomery (Film, 2008), Jaime Raybin (Fine Art, 2006) and Trent Thibodeaux (Graphic Design, 2006).

This inaugural show, organized by the newly formed Watkins Alumni Committee, is the first in an ongoing series that intends to demonstrate the diverse and continued explorations of art across departments among the alumni community.

The exhibition and reception are free and the public is invited. Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit or call 615.383.4848.

Regular Currey Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 to 4 p.m. (Watkins will be closed Nov. 27-28 for Thanksgiving.) Admission is free.

About the Artists

Director and cinematographer Jeremy Adams ( lives and works in Los Angeles. A 2003 graduate of the Film School at Watkins, he has worked in a variety of roles in film/video production, ranging from art department assistant on ABC’s “Pushing Daises” to storyboarding acclaimed music video director Joseph Kahn’s second feature film, “Detention.” Jeremy has directed and photographed documentaries, commercials, music videos, short films and a feature film. In 2012, he directed an award-winning spot for Marine Corps Special Operations Command/MARSOC and in 2013, shot and edited the webisode “You Ought To Know Nashville” for PBS Digital.

  • Grid of 9 (3 across, 3 down), archival digital prints, iPhone photography (12″x20″)

    JJeremy Adams, "Pacific Stranger"

    Jeremy Adams, “Pacific Stranger”

“I have always viewed the ordinary world in cinematic widescreen. For the longest time I tried to develop a photographic style to reflect this, without any real success, but having an iPhone in my pocket at all times and taking pictures on a phone just for the hell of it has allowed themes of simplicity and space to emerge, one photo after another. My eye is now naturally drawn to unique, natural landscapes that sometimes feature inhabitants. Most times though, the landscapes themselves are characters in their own right that tell a story without ever saying a word. It’s this aspect that attracts me the most, especially in this modern and ever-complicating world where we are constantly bombarded with information.”

Alicia Waters Binkley - him her

Alicia W. Binkley, “Him Her”

Alicia Waters Binkley ( describes herself as a “designer and doer who loves to find creative ways to help others.” Running her own business since earning her BGA in Graphic Design Watkins in 2008, she currently co-runs MID, a print and design company, with her husband, Drew. On top of illustrating she has a great passion for UX and problem solving — worked with many clients around the world on UX/UI solutions for web and mobile — and enjoys serving as the Creative Director at AlienFast, LLC. Earlier this year she became a host of the Nashville chapter of the monthly global creative networking series CreativeMornings.

  • “Him Her,” 2-color screen print with metallic gold ink printed on #110 Smart White French paper (12″ x 18″). Open editions.

“My work tugs at the heartstrings of sentiment and nostalgia. My illustrations often include pattern work with an update to traditional elements and icons.”

A Middle Tennessee native, Chris Doubler received his BFA in Fine Art from Watkins in 2006. Since that time he has applied his skills and education to become an exhibition designer, preparator, graphic designer and art handler at institutions including Cheekwood Museum & Botanical Gardens, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

  • Silkcreen print on paper (approx 16″x19″)
Jennifer Georgescu, "The Veil"

Jennifer Georgescu, “The Veil”

Jennifer Georgescu’s ( work describes instinctual aspects of humanity correlating to and differing from societal structuring. With a background in painting and photographic arts, she utilizes medium format film photography, installation, and digital technology. Her projects analyze dualisms in language, relationships, mythologies and control. “I often search for the balance that exists in between these dichotomies. This is how I view humanity; always teetering on the line between fiction and reality, domination and submissiveness, self and other.”

After obtaining a BFA in Photography from Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in 2008, Georgescu was awarded a yearlong residency at Vanderbilt University’s “Gallery F.” She has received numerous honors from Artist Portfolio Magazine, the Camera Obscura Journal of Literature and Photography, and the Julia Margaret Cameron Award.  Her works have recently been exhibited in the Masur Museum of Art, the Detroit Museum of New Art, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and PhotoCenter NW. She lives in San Francisco.

  • “Star Gazers” (the veil) (20”x20,” 2014) and “Star Gazers” (night walks) (15”x15,” 2014)

I wish I could believe that something was out there waiting for me in the cosmos. I find the thought of forever incapacitating. Then I think of the alternative; of being nothing ever again. We all have a self-proclaimed importance that renders our being obsolete, impossible. This is part of what makes us human. We hold the idea of our importance despite our insignificance and mortality.

Jennifer Georgescu, "Night Walks"

Jennifer Georgescu, “Night Walks”

I long for a time, somewhere in the past, when it was thought that all information was just out of reach and all we had to do was find it. I feel that in present time, the more information we know, the more we realize that we’ll never know it all. We now have a vastly expanding wealth of information at our fingertips, yet we are no closer to “knowing” the most important answers.

The most wonderful idea I can think of, the thing that truly comforts me, is the possibility of time being warped beyond our current perception. I find comfort in the idea of parallel universes; where little holes allow for one world to briefly experience the next. When you make a decision in one world, an alternate decision would be made in the next, and so on. This idea has always allowed me to think that when I am gone in one world, I may continue in the next.

“Star Gazers” addresses the things that are hard to think about (i.e. death, mortality, insignificance) through imagination and narrative easy to be confronted with. Fiction and awe weave together antique imagery, scientific imaging, and medium format film photography to tell a far-fetched tale that is factually possible.   This is a story where worlds can communicate, where past and present can connect, and the cosmos contain meaning.

Patricia Earnhardt, film still from "Accepted"

Patricia Earnhardt, film still from “Accepted”

Patricia Earnhardt ( is a multimedia visual artist working primarily with video and installation art. Her work, which focuses on social and political issues as well as personal internal struggles, has been exhibited in Berlin, Germany and in numerous venues in Nashville. She graduated from Watkins in 2008 with a BFA in fine Art. She is also a filmmaker and, for the past 20 years, has run Earnhardt Films, LLC with her husband, David Earnhardt.

  • Digital video, “Accepted” (2:36, looping)

“In the video, ‘Accepted,’ soft, ripe fruit falls onto the back of a woman reclining peacefully in a field. The fruit splays as it hits the quiet and unflinching body — flesh meeting flesh. The image depicts an acceptance of nature and its effects on the body over time, showing the beauty in aging — something that is often considered grotesque.”

A Murfreesboro native, Derek Gibson ( has exhibited locally, regionally and nationally in a variety of group and juried shows in Fort Collins (CO), Cincinnati, Atlanta and New York City since graduating from Watkins with a BFA in Fine Art in 2004. His work has included sculpture, photography, installation and video installation. He stays involved in the local art community, volunteering as a studio teaching assistant and exhibit preparator in two local non-profit organizations and maintaining his own artistic practice while keeping a day job.

  • Mixed media sculpture of various domestic and exotic hardwoods (approx. 6-8’ tall, 4-5’ in length and width)

“My work is informed by the idea of place. This could be a physical place where I have been or where I shared an event with a significant other. It could also be a spiritual place I have been as part of my meditation practice and continuing journey of personal development.

Pam Haile - Her Mark 1

Pam Haile, “Her Mark 1″

Pam Jolly Haile processes ideas of space and place using a variety of visual languages, including painting, sculpture, installation and photography. Her focus on nature’s benevolence and the experiences it provides is the thread she follows, weaving abstract ideas and theory into her art practice. She earned her BFA in Fine Art from Watkins in 2013 and currently lives and works in Nashville.

  • Archival UV direct print on dibond substrate (20″x15″)

“There is a seamless rapport between my everyday life and art making. The work I create is a recording of my ordinary experiences. I aim to engage the audience with sensory and poetic qualities in works that question what it means to consciously observe, and therefore wholly experience being human.”

Joshua Brent Montgomery, "Shine"

Joshua Brent Montgomery, “Shine”

Joshua Brent Montgomery ( is an artist from Goodlettsville, TN. A 2008 graduate of the Film School at Watkins, he works as a casting associate in the entertainment industry and spends his free time writing and drawing.

  • Three acrylic on canvas: “Boy in Snow” (24”x36”), “Scared Boy in Field” (18”x24”), “Shine” (36″x36″)

“My work is culled from a wide variety of personal interests and curiosities, none of which share a locus worth mentioning.”

Alethea Norene holds a BFA in Photography in 2008 from Watkins and MFA in 2010 from Maine College of Art in Portland. She has exhibited her work nationally in solo and group exhibitions and alternative venues such as clothing boutiques. Co-founder of SOUP, a community based micro-grant program for artists in Portland, Alethea is currently expanding her creative practice and is in school in Nashville to become a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, hoping to utilize her creative experiences to positively empower women.

  • Archival pigment print from digital scan of film (30×30″)

“My work celebrates friendship, co-dependence, magic, healing, faith, and mistake making. My images and drawings memorialize moments of togetherness and independent voyages.”

Jaime Raybin, "For Owen"

Jaime Raybin, “For Owen”

Jaime Raybin ( earned a BFA in Fine Art in 2006 from Watkins, where she currently works as an admissions recruiter. Her exhibition history includes Northwestern University, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville), Swanson-Reed Contemporary (Louisville, KY), the Foundry Art Centre (Saint Charles, MO), Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (Athens, GA), the Renaissance Center (Dickson, TN) and the University of the South (Sewanee, TN).

  • Acrylic on canvas “Bathroom” (28″x37″) and “Can Phone” (17″x42″); digital micrography collage “For Owen” and “For Kalina” (each approx. 18”x24″)

“My paintings deal with themes of social isolation and escapism. They are set in the workplace and in shared living spaces. This work is figurative and personal, often featuring myself as a character in narrative metaphorical vignettes.”

Originally from Louisiana, Trent Thibodeaux ( has been a resident of Nashville for the past 14 years, since coming to Watkins to study graphic design; he earned his BFA in 2006. He has worked in many facets of the design world and currently is lead designer at Third Man Records.

  • Graphite and wall paper on paper (10×20); color photo (8×10), wall pasted illustration in corner (3’x4’)

“My work deals with the transformation from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Using drawings, textures, & found images that evoke nostalgia, i create new images that tell an unintended story. At first glance these new images look familiar and deliver a sense of comfort. Through further exploration, the comparison of unfamiliar and unexpected elements creates sense of uneasiness. The conflict created by the unexpected change in narrative, caused by the combination of disparate elements challenges the viewer to rethink the idea of normalcy and expectation.”

Click to enlarge evite

Click to enlarge evite

About the Watkins Alumni Committee

The Watkins Alumni Committee preserves the spirit of the Watkins community for alumni, locally and nationally, beyond graduation by cultivating opportunities for professional growth and support as well as social connectivity. As artists and makers, we promote the value of the arts beyond the walls of Watkins through collaborations with community organizations and local businesses, advocating for arts access and art education, and developing a culture of philanthropy in the arts. For more information, contact committee chair Abby Whisenant at [email protected]

Graphic Design Crowns ‘Split and Twisted 2014′ Winners

Posted on: October 31st, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Congratulations to the winners of the annual juried graphic design competition, “Split & Twisted,” announced at the show’s opening reception on October 23. Senior Holly Carden collected three honors for her illustration “In the Act of Drawing,” including Best in Show, and junior Kelsey Goessman claimed two for her Collected Curiosities catalog.

Christopher Strachan, Holly Carden, Ross Denton, Ryan Arauza, Yanet Mireles, Chris Hughes, Sara Schork and Kelsey Goessman

Christopher Strachan, Holly Carden, Ross Denton, Ryan Arauza, Yanet Mireles, Chris Hughes, Sara Schork and Kelsey Goessman

Graphic Design faculty Dan Brawner, Judith Sweeney-O’Bryan and Steve Wilkison led the presentations to nine students. Jurors for the show were Gish Sherwood & Friends‘ art directors Carrie Graves and Nelly Tabor and designer/Watkins alumna Kristen Fowler. “Split & Twisted 2014″ will be on display in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery through November 14.

Best of Show:

Holly Carden, senior
In the Act of Drawing

Best In Category:

Lydia Jarvi, sophomore
Cadbury Ads for Martha Stewart Living

Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes

Poster Design:
Chris Hughes, sophomore
Nirvana Poster

 Kelsey Goessman

Kelsey Goessman

Publication Design:
Kelsey Goessman, junior
Collected Curiosities Catalog

Sara Schork

Sara Schork

Books & Jackets:
Sara Schork, senior
Mary Poppins Book Covers

Holly Carden
In the Act of Drawing

Holly Carden

Holly Carden

Judge’s Choice

Kelsey Goessman
Collected Curiosities Catalog
Judge: Kristen Fowler (Designer, GS&F)

Ryan Arauza with Steve Wilkison and Judith Sweeney-O'Bryan

Ryan Arauza with Steve Wilkison and Judith Sweeney-O’Bryan




Ryan Arauza, senior
Gravity Poster
Judge: Carrie Graves (Senior Art Director, GS&F)





Holly Carden
In the Act of Drawing
Judge: Neely Tabor (Senior Art Director, GS&F)

Faculty Choices:

S&T2014 8730 Ross Denton

Ross Denton

Ross Denton, senior
Angry Robot Attack
Faculty: Judith Sweeney O’Bryan

Christopher Strachan

Christopher Strachan

Christopher Strachan, junior
Hot Chicken on Broadway Poster
Faculty: Dan Brawner

Yanet Mireles

Yanet Mireles


Yanet Mireles, senior
NBC Dracula Website
Faculty: Steve Wilkison