Thursday, April 17, 2014

Alumni Spotlight - Fun and Games with Alumni Ken Hogan

The Pilgrimage by Inkmech (Ken Hogan)
Gessarite by Inkmech (Ken Hogan)
Alumni Ken Hogan has been busy since he graduated from Pittsburg State University Department of Art as a commercial art major. Ken was selected to go to graduate school at Guild Hall at SMU in Dallas, Tx. 

"Ken wanted to be in the gaming industry. We knew that the best way to accomplish his career goals was to successfully get Ken into a top animation and gaming graduate program. Guild Hall at SMU was where Ken set his sights. I was so proud when we heard he was accepted." - Rhona Shand, Chairperson and Ken's Commercial Art advisor and faculty instructor. 

Ken now get to lives his dream. He is employed at Nerd Kingdom...and yes, he is making video games. Ken also freelances as a concept artist and illustrator with his own business, Inkmech, LLC. 

You can find more of Ken's work at:

"PSU Art Department was the start of my journey towards a career in Art.  It helped cultivate my artistic sensibilities." 
Link to the Future by Inkmech (Ken Hogan)
"PSU also taught me what it would take to make it in the industry." - Ken Hogan 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kate Nelson Ceramic Works Now on Display in University Gallery

Art students in Art 233. Drawing I take the opportunity to enjoy the warm weather!

Story slamming ‘Arts’ majors misses the mark, officials say

When she heard that a recent article in a national magazine disparaged art majors, Rhona Shand’s first reaction was to chuckle.

“I’ve heard it all before,” said Shand, who is chair of Pittsburg State University’s Department of Art.

Under the headline, “These U.S. Colleges and Majors Are the Biggest Waste of Money,” the Atlantic published an online story, based on a report from the online service PayScale, that concludes high school graduates would make significantly more money over a lifetime if they chose to go straight to work rather than pursuing certain college majors.

Specifically, the publication listed “Arts” major at Pittsburg State University, along with similar programs at the University of Missouri, the University of Wisconsin, and Ohio State University.

Shand said she and other veteran academic researchers on campus took a closer look at the study and found lots of problems.

“This is so inaccurate in so many ways, it is hard to know where to begin,” Shand said. “It makes a sexy headline and plays into some common misconceptions, but it doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the career opportunities available for art majors or graduates of many other programs.”

Deep into the article in the Atlantic, the author does acknowledge a number of “caveats.” Shand said the original PayScale article is clearer about the limitations of the study. Those limitations, she said, make the data pretty useless.
First, Shand noted, the PayScale data lumps together a wide number of programs under the general heading “Arts.”

“These aren’t just art majors they’re talking about,” Shand said. “It’s students in upwards of a dozen programs across campus.”

But that’s just the beginning. The data uses only out-of-state tuition to calculate the cost of the degree. It also excludes anyone who has gone on to earn any degree higher than a BA and includes only graduates working in the U.S. And most importantly, Shand said, it excludes any graduate who is self-employed, project-based or is a contract employee.

“For example, Shand said, “any small-business owner or contract-based graphic designer would be excluded.”

Alumni, Heather Horton, was not included in 
the report after opening Sweet Design Cakery. 

Shand quickly rattled off a list of Art Department alumni who have been highly successful but would not have been included in the PayScale report. They included a graphic designer for the Kansas City Chiefs, a production artist for Hallmark, the owner of an independent illustration company, an editor of a national magazine and a local business owner who was recently named the small-business owner of the year for the State of Kansas.
Shand said she is used to questions about employment opportunities and skepticism about the value of a fine arts degree.

“Parents ask,” Shand said. “My own parents did, and I’m doing pretty well.”
She said questions about the value of the arts in education are not unusual, especially during certain times.

“I’m sure the economy has something to do with it,” Shand said. “As the cost of education has risen and more of the burden is being shifted to students and families, it is a legitimate concern.”

But she also points to lots of data that shows graduates with degrees in art and other arts programs are just the kind of employees a lot of businesses are looking for.
Department of Art Alumni, Jordan Giesler, helping to install an exhibition
for the PSU galleries. Jordan now works for the Kansas City Chiefs. 
She quoted the Governors’ Commission on the Arts in Education, which concluded, “The Creative Economy... relies upon people who can think creatively, adapt quickly to new situations, and problem-solve. This industry, which is growing at a faster pace than total U.S. business growth, increases the demand for workers with the skills that are gained through the arts in education.”
Shand said the article published in the Atlantic paints a wildly inaccurate picture of art education, but she’s not losing sleep over it.

“I looked at the other schools on the list, and frankly, it’s a pretty good list to be on,” Shand laughed.

She expects to have questions about the value of an art degree, but, Shand said, that’s an ongoing issue.

“I’m more than happy to have that discussion,” Shand said. “When people see the facts, they usually come around.”
©2014 Pittsburg State University

"I majored in ART at Pittsburg State University; earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts DEGREE; opened my own art studio; expected it to make me ‘Rich’ and it did."- Ted Watts, Artist (PSU/BFA ’66) – Oswego, Kansas.

Department of Art Alumni, Ted Watts (BFA/PSU '66) 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An Alumni has a little fun making the Groom's Gift

Saying "I Do" to an artist has a unique bonus. When Gage Cowan asked Janelle Kranker to be his bride we are pretty sure he was not expecting to receive such an amazing groom's gift. Janelle Cowan (lucky couple married on August 24, 2013) set to work using some of the skill sets she learned at Pittsburg State University as a commercial art major to make Cage's unique gift.

Made from Polymer clay this handsome fella took Janelle some time to get just right. She came back to the Department of Art to share it with us when she did. Enjoy!

Janelle & Gage

Sunday, March 16, 2014

PSU Department of Art & ArtFeeds for Spring Break...


March 20, 21 

Message from ArtFeeds- Reschedule for mural. NO mural painting on Wednesday, March 19th! Just Thursday and Friday. Please spread the word.

Come volunteer this week as we go help paint a mural with ArtFeeds in Joplin! 

We will be meeting in front of Porter Hall at 9a.m. Do not have a transportation? That's why we carpool. 

Have no painting experience? Do not worry. This is a group project. It is about volunteering for a great cause and using ART to do it!

WHY SHOULD YOU? This mural...
  • Helps a community.
  • Helps the environment.
  • Helps you meet cool art people. 
  • Helps YOUR resume.
  • Helps you from being bored during Spring Break.

WANT TO SEE HOW IT TURNS OUT? Check back here for pictures of our PSU folks helping out!

Friday, March 28th - Student Artist Presentations

Come join us for some wonderful artist presentations! 

Friday, March 28th in Room 409 of Russ Hall at Pittsburg State University from 4pm to 7pm.  

Students in the Department of Art will be delivering lectures are Amanda Fitzpatrick, Jacob Miller, Amanda Scott, Blane Siebert, Kimberly Smart, and Rose Thornhill. 

The purpose of these lectures is for the students to discuss and explain their own work and what motivates them to pursue careers as professional artists. Any who are interested may attend for some of any lecture, or all of the lectures.

Amanda Fitzpatrick’s lecture is titled “Ab Imaginatione Artificis.” She is a Commercial Art major and specializes in a combination of 2D illustration and 3D sculpture and 3D graphics, and her goal is to work for Blue Sky Studios or another studio like them, creating character designs and models for use in films.

Jacob Miller’s lecture is titled “Monsters, Men, and the Untamed Wilds.” He is a Commercial Art major and specializes in 2D illustration and character design and hopes to eventually create and use his designs in the creation of video games.

Amanda Scott’s lecture is titled “Ostriches Uncut.” She is a Commercial Art major specializing in 2D illustration and character design and eventually intends to work for Pixar and to design and create characters for their films and shorts.

Blane Siebert’s lecture is titled “Come Ride With Me.” He is a Commercial Art major and specializes in 2D design and illustration and intends to eventually create his own snowboard company where he designs the boards’ graphics.

Kimberly Smart’s lecture is titled “Oh My Goodness Clay! What Would Granny Say!” She is a 3D Art major and specializes in ceramics, taking inspiration from various other artists and her own Native American heritage and intends to continue her education and teach others in the methods of creating professional quality ceramics.

Rose Thornhill’s lecture is titled “Playing with Pixels.” She is a Commercial Art major specializing in digital arts, specifically 2D illustration and uses her work to tell a narrative through comics and animation.

Curious what goes into a artist presentation? 
Each student’s lecture will discuss the thought processes and inspiration behind their artwork over the years. They will discuss their goals and aspirations regarding what career path they intend to follow with their work.