Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Watkins Welcomes Design Star Jessica Hische on January 22

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by Caroline Davis No Comments

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.

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



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

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by Caroline Davis No Comments

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents the Senior Graphic Design Exhibition “Bottoms Up,” featuring work by Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design degree candidates Ryan Arauza, Zie Campbell, Ross Denton, Matthew Erwin and Jessica Yohn, on Thursday, December 4, from 6 to 9 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 each 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

Holden Head’s BFA Show Plays Dec. 5-6 at Packing Plant

Posted on: November 11th, 2014 by Caroline Davis No Comments

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film BFA in Photography candidate Holden Head offers his thesis exhibition, I Is An Other, on Friday and Saturday, December 5-6, from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Packing Plant.


Holden Head, untitled 2014

Holden Head, untitled 2014

In I Is An Other, Head explores concepts of identity, sexuality, and death in a hospital­-like installation consisting of video, sculpture and photography. Head is interested in “the detachment we have at birth when we are literally severed from our mothers and how that shapes our struggle with selfhood in our attempt to connect with others. Sexuality drives that endeavour, however never fully able to satisfy the separation.” Through scale, proximity, and material, Head brings awareness to our detachment and mortality.

Holden Head, untitled 2014

Holden Head, untitled 2014

The exhibition is free and the public is invited; the December 6 show is part of Nashville’s First Saturday Art Crawl slate. The Packing Plant, curated by Watkins alumna Ann Catherine Carter, is located at 507 Hagan Street in the Wedgewood/Houston Arts District. For more information, visit or call Watkins at 615-383-4848.

An alumnus of Brentwood Academy, Head claimed first prize in Watkins’ 2014 Currey Juried Student Show for his photograph “Astronomy” and was a finalist in the Nashville Scene’s 2013 Photography contest, with two of his images recognized. His work has been exhibited locally at Chromatics and at Track One.

To see more of his work, visit

Click to enlarge evite

Click to enlarge evite

WAG Doubles Up with Luisiana Mera and Jazzmyne Sims in December Show

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Watkins presents a double exhibition at its downtown gallery WAG during the December 6 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl, with new work from junior Luisiana Mera and senior Jazzmyne Sims.

Gaby Dora and Little Lulu by Luisiana Mera Ww

“Gaby, Dora and Little Lulu” by Luisiana Mera (22’x30′, charcoal on paper)

Fine Art major Luisiana Mera’s Relevant Distance features delicately rendered charcoal drawings based on images sent to Mera via iPhone from relatives in her native Panama. Through exquisite technique, dramatic lighting and gridded and cropped theatrical spaces, Mera reframes baroque pictorial conventions to deploy a personal and contemporary narrative, creating work that is tactile, velvety and dreamlike. “We experience the world largely through today’s technologies, images that are edited and composed by others on screens and in print. What can be lost is the pre-edited, individual, personal experience,” said Mera. “The sensual quality of the charcoal medium makes it possible to convey an immediate physical experience from these detached images.”

Jazzmyne Sims, studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Art, offers pop up wood sculptures in her show, The Capricious Bend. Tension, mobility and reconstruction play very heavily in these works of Baltic birch, cherry and cedar. “Since the structures of my sculptures are constructed by the tension of the wood being bent, I tend to use little to no hardware, with the exception of clamps,” said Sims. “The installation of my work is also dependent on, and responsive to, the surrounding architecture. With the use of clamps the work is mobile and can easily be reconstructed and turned into some other structure.”

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.

Art Crawl logoWAG 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

About Luisiana Mera
Born and raised in Panama City, Panama, Luisiana Mera moved to Nashville in 2011 to attend Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, where she is a Fine Art major with an emphasis in painting, drawing and figurative studies. Her work has been exhibited extensively on campus and at Cheekwood, Cummins Station and WAG (Watkins Arcade Gallery). She has won multiple awards including the Robb Swaney Prize for Excellence in Visual Expression and first place at the Currey Juried Student Exhibition; recently her work was selected for inclusion in INDA 9 (9th International Drawing Annual), a competitive publication of works of contemporary drawing. Visit

Jazzmyne Sims untitled sculpture

Untitled sculpture by Jazzmyne Sims (cedar, Baltic birch, 12′ clamp)

About Jazzmyne Sims
A Tennessee native, Jazzmyne Sims is a senior at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Art with a concentration in sculpture. She is heavily focused on woodworking, using clamps, tension and, in many sculptures, architecture to create her work, which she describes as “very in the moment and set type based.” She holds several scholarships (including the BA achievement award). She has recently ventured into furniture design where she is incorporating her sculpture style with other mediums.

About WAGWAG logo orange
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 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.

WAG Dec 2014 LMera_JSims evite

Click to enlarge evite

Filmmaker Prashant Bhargava to Visit Watkins Nov. 8

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

The Film School at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film and OZ Arts Nashville will present a special screening and presentation by Prashant Bhargava, an award-winning filmmaker and designer known for his intricately layered and lush visuals, November 7 & 8 in the Watkins Theater.


Professor Richard Gershman, OZ Artists Director Lauren Snelling and Prashant Bhargava in the Watkins Theater

Professor Richard Gershman, OZ Artistic Director Lauren Snelling and Prashant Bhargava in the Watkins Theater

On Friday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m., Watkins will screen Bhargava’s 2012 feature debut Patang (The Kite, 95 minutes). Weaving the stories of six people during India’s largest kite festival, Patang, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, earned a four-star review from Roger Ebert and was named a New York Times Critics Pick.

On Saturday, November 8 at 11 a.m., Bhargava will speak about his career, which includes pioneering work as a commercial director and motion designer as well as a filmmaker with narrative, documentary and experimental credits. Richard Gershman, chair of the Film School at Watkins, will introduce him and facilitate the Q&A session.

The screening and lecture are free, but reservations are encouraged:

Bhargava’s visit to Watkins is in conjunction with OZ Arts Nashville’s presentation of Vijay Iyer: Music of Transformation, within which a new film by Bhargava is included. In collaboration with composer/pianist Iyer (a 2013 MacArthur Fellow), Bhargava’s film Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi, will be screened simultaneously to Iyer’s orchestral music, performed live by the International Contemporary Ensemble and conducted by David Fulmer. Based on Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Radhe Radhe is a journey of desire and devotion during the colorful and chaotic celebrations of Holi in Mathura, India.

Oz_LogoFinal_6.30.14Music of Transformation plays two performances at OZ: November 8 at 8 p.m. and November 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased via


Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot.

About Prashant Bhargava

Described by producer Anthony Bregman as “visionary and soulful” and “masterful” by Roger Ebert, Prashant Bhargava is a director and designer whose work is recognized worldwide for its original storytelling and honest craft. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Bhargava is one of the first South Asians to emerge from the hip-hop movement as a graffiti artist. His filmmaking (his first film, the short Sangam, debuted at Sundance) builds from his pioneering work as a commercial director and motion designer.

Prashant Bhargava smWwebKnown for his intricately layered and lush visuals, Bhargava spearheaded over 100 campaigns for HBO (including The Wire, Def Poetry Jam, Rome and OZ) and films such as Born into Brothels, John Frankenhiemer’s Path to War, Mira Nair’s Hysterical Blindness, Raoul Peck’s Lumumba, and Denzel Washington’s Antwone Fisher. Bhargava designed effects sequences for Alex Rivera’s feature Sleep Dealer and directed music videos and promos for musical acts Cornershop, Talib Kweli and Missy Elliot. Notable clients include Accenture, NBC, Woolrich, PBS, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Volvo and OMango and collaborations include design and production studios such as R/GA, Click 3x and Edgeworx.

Following Sangam – which received awards at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival and Short Shorts Asia – he directed Ammaji, a documentary portrait of his grandmother, Backwaters, an experimental Super 8 short, and Kashmir, a film and live music performance with electronic band Dawn of Midi.

Bhargava’s feature length directorial debut, Patang (The Kite) received rave reviews, including four stars from Roger Ebert who named it one of 2012’s best. An anthem to the old city of Ahmedabad, it weaves the stories of six people during India’s largest kit festival. Patang, Nawazuddin-Siddiqui03 Wwebwhich premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and ran in the main competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, won Best Feature Narrative at the Hawaii Film Festival, Best World Narrative at the Indy Film Festival, a Special Jury Award at the Osians Film Festival in New Delhi, Best Feature Narrative at the DC APA Film Festival, and Best Film at the SAIFF’s Rising Star Film Awards; Bhargava was also named Best Director. Defying convention in its process and cinematic language, Patang united a community torn apart by religious conflict and natural disaster, starring two of India’s finest actors, Seema Biswas and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

His latest work, Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi, is a journey of desire and devotion during the colorful and choatic celebrations of Holi in Mathura, India. Created in collaboration with celebrated composer and pianist Vijay Iyer, the performance is presented as a film projected in conjunction with a live orchestra, and was described by NPR as “one of the most brilliant and exciting commemorations of the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.”

Bhargava studied computer science at Cornell University and theatrical directing at the Barrow Group and at the Actors Studio (MFA program). He has lectured at New York University, Cornell University, Amherst College, UNC Chapel Hill, Stonybrook, Indiana University, University of Chicago and CEDIM. Bhargava was a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow in both 1997 and 2012. For more information, visit

‘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

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

Watkins and Warner Music Team for Unique ‘Music Industry and Visual Arts’ Experience

Posted on: October 30th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Warner Music Nashville and Watkins College of Art, Design & Film have partnered for a new “Music Industry and the Visual Arts” course, an idea originating via Leadership Music alumni John Esposito, President & CEO of WMN, and Ellen L. Meyer, President of Watkins. The class brings together a multidisciplinary team of filmmakers, graphic designers and photographers to interact with the creative team at Warner Music Nashville and conceptualize a visual approach to branding new artist(s). Students develop various scenarios, pitch the team at WMN and, if approved, execute these ideas which might include photo shoots, music videos, album covers or any other representation across all media platforms.

Warner Music Nv logo“This partnership with Watkins allows us the unique opportunity to foster new talent in visual arts while also giving our creative team an outside perspective which is invaluable,” said Shane Tarleton, VP/Creative Director at WMN. “I am so very proud of the relationships we have already formed and am genuinely excited about the possibilities ahead.”

“Our goal in partnering with Watkins was to exchange real world insights around the creative process,” said Jeremy Holley, SVP of Consumer & Interactive Marketing at WMN. “It’s been inspiring to see the level of talent, thought, and work ethic from their team and students. They have brought fresh ideas and great energy.”

Richard Gershman, chair and associate professor of the Film School, leads the class of 15 students including four Graphic Design majors, four Photography majors and seven Film majors.

“Thanks to WMN, our student graphic designers, photographers and filmmakers are diving into actual project scenarios to test and develop their skills in designing logos, graphics, photos, and music videos,” said Professor Gershman. “Through building a creative team, working up concepts, presenting a pitch, and dealing with expectations and feedback, these students are learning what it takes to successfully transition to a professional career.”

About Warner Music Nashville

Warner Music Nashville was created in 2009 with the goal of expanding the presence WMG and its family of labels has had in the Nashville music community for more than 60 years. The division is home to Warner Bros. Nashville, Word Entertainment, Atlantic Nashville, Elektra Nashville and the LoudMouth comedy label.

About Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

Approaching its 130th year of continuous education service, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film operates as an independent, non-profit, four-year, nationally accredited college of the visual arts, offering Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) degrees in Film, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Photography, a Bachelors of Art (BA) in Art, and Certificates in Film and Interior Design. Visit

About this Professional Practices initiative

Watkins has recently added a Commercial Focus to its academic program, offering students unique opportunities for blending fine art sensibilities with commercial applications to develop their style, vision and conceptual abilities. Degree programs are built on a strong academic foundation with a hands-on, studio emphasis; with the addition of the real-world-caliber experiences from Commercial Focus classes and structured internships, graduates are well prepared to make an immediate impact in their marketplace.

WAG Catches David Anderson’s ‘Desire Trap/pings’ for November Art Crawl

Posted on: October 16th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film presents Desire Trap/pings, a multiple media installation by Fine Art junior David Anderson at its downtown gallery WAG during the November 1 edition of the First Saturday Art Crawl.

Desire Trap/pings will feature oil paintings, sculptures, found objects, and modified found objects, and each piece is considered as a different scene or trap that suspends a desire, one that could be transformed into something new.

David Anderson Loose Gate

“Loose Gate,” 2014 (57″x65″ oil on canvas)

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.

WAG 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

Hybrid forms and processes locate desire between the cool, fetishized ironies of glam culture and sincere ritual; between consumer aesthetic and human touch; between cereal box and retablo (altarpiece). Desire Trap/pings combines hyper color, invented graphic forms, and grungy, tactile, shimmering surfaces to suggest a space analogous to a near future church of Philip K. Dick’s (and David Anderson’s) imagination.

"Bleeding," 2014 (oil, silk screen, appropriation)

“Bleeding,” 2014

Anderson, a Nashville native, has previously exhibited at WAG in Abstraction’s Imaginative Fictions (November 2013), the printmaking show Staying the Course (February 2014), and Co. H collective’s Play (May 2014). He was also part of the summer group shows Bruised Anvil (at the Packing Plant) and Co. H’s Mystic Truths (Watkins’ Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery), named by the Nashville Scene “Best Student Show” in their recent Best of Nashville issue.

To see more of his David Anderson’s work, visit

About 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 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.

Performance Photographer Pushpamala N Speaks on “Pseudo-Archive” October 27

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by Caroline Davis

Bangalore-based Pushpamala N, a photo- and video-performance artist who uses elements of popular culture to explore place, gender and   history, will speak at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Monday, October 27. Her lecture, entitled “The Pseudo-Archive,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater, and is free and open to the public.

In her first visit to Nashville, Pushpamala will present her recent work, talking about using different sources and materials, mixing up genres and archives, and questioning classifications. Christine Rogers, assistant professor of photography at Watkins, will introduce her and facilitate Q&A in the Watkins Theater.

Pushpamala N image WwebThey first met in 2013 in Bangalore, when Rogers was on a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship completing research for her project, Photographing Imagined Landscapes: The Switzerland of India. “I was immediately interested in the theatricality of Pushpamala’s work as well as her mining of various photographic histories as a way of understanding the construction of the self and, perhaps more broadly, a construction of national identity,” said Rogers. “She is a charismatic presence on both sides of the lens, and Watkins is very pleased to welcome such an innovative and challenging artist.”

Pushpamala will be in the United States for the opening of Prospect New Orleans, the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the country (Oct. 25-Jan. 25, 2015), where she and collaborator Clare Arni will present work from their project Native Women of South India: Manners & Customs (2000-2004).

As the principal character in all her work, Pushpamala adopts various popular personas and ironic roles in theatrical compositions, leading her work to be described as performance photography. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, receiving acclaim for “The Ethnographic Series” (part of Native Women of South India), which explores photography as a tool of ethnographic documentation and humorously challenges the authenticity of the photographic image.

Other projects have mined the genres of cinema, popular culture, mythology and historical references, often using humor and irony as a method of exposing cultural and gender stereotyping while exploring the complex terrain of contemporary urban life in India.

Born in Bangalore and formally trained as a sculptor (BFA and MFA from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India), Pushpamala eventually shifted to photography to explore her interest in narrative figuration. Since 1983, her work has been seen in nearly 100 exhibitions, with solo shows in Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Milan, Paris, Salzburg and Gyor, Hungary, and – in the pastfew years alone – group shows in Amsterdam, Vienna, Beirut, San Jose, Lisbon, Melbourne, Berlin, Hong Kong, Santiago, Copenhagen, Singapore, Chicago, Helsinki, San Francisco and London as well as throughout India.

She is the recipient of many honours, including the National Award (1984); Gold medal at the Sixth Triennale, India (1986); Charles Wallace Trust (India) Fellowship (1992–93); Senior Fellowship, Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development (1995–97), Arts Collaboration Grant, India Foundation for the Arts (2000), Rockefeller Foundation artist residency at Bellagio (Italy) Study Centre (2006) residency; and Centre Pompidou (Paris) artist residency (2009).

Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot.

More about Pushpamala N

From Prospect New OrleansProspect.3: Notes for Now:

on set of "The Ethnographic Series"

on set of “The Ethnographic Series” from Native Women project

Pushpamala N has subverted dominant media paradigms throughout her career as a photographer, video artist, sculpture, writer, curator, and theorist. In the collaborative series Native Women of South India: Manners and Customs (2000–2004), she and English-born photographer Clare Arni perform for the still camera, embodying ideals projected by representations in the spiritual canon, documentary photography, and popular culture. Tracing the connections between archetypes, Native Women makes visible the lines of flight between the colonial gaze and the patriarchal one, which have designed oppressive ideals of femininity that enjoy continued traction in the epoch of globalized neoliberalism. Pushpamala N casts herself in each role; the reclamation of the source material becomes an act of self-possession over her image and body

Read more about “The Ethnographic Series” at the Saatchi Gallery website.