Friday, April 25, 2014

Department of Art BETA Toy Design Course to Unveil work in Toy Sale

TOY SALE:  Beta Toy Design Class

Congrats PSU Toy Design Students and Department of Art Faculty Portico Bowman. They sold out! Made over $300 for SafeHouse!

Pittsburg State University Student Toy Sale -

The shop closed up shop at 12:45. Nothing left to sell!

Polymer Toy by Amanda Fitzpatrick
(Commercial Art Student)
The Department of Art is pleased to present a Toy Sale from the toys produced in the Beta Toy Design Class developed by Associate Professor of Art, S. Portico Bowman along with Assistant Professor Norm Philipp, P. E. from the School of Construction. 

Toys, books and games created by Amber Baumgartner, DJ Bush, Amanda Fitzpatrick, Jake Geither, Cat Jepson, Blane Siebert and Chris Vanderbeck were be available for viewing and purchase.  Proceeds from the sale were be given to SafeHouse Crisis Center.

Throughout the semester students have studied the mechanics of toy making such as how to make things move, the philosophy and psychology of toys and the purpose of play, while looking at the toy industry to analyze trends and 

marketing strategies with an eye to pitfalls and toy making practices that could be challenged and changed.

Norm Philipp introduced many of the engineering concepts and aided in the development and production of components prepared on the 3D Printer.   Emi Gennis provided insight into character development and Rhona Shand provided information on the practice of independent licensing.  Plans for further Toy Design classes include internship liaisons with a variety of toy manufacturers, and participation in the Mystery Build Kit.

More stories about this course - 

For more information contact:
S. Portico Bowman
620-235-4305 or 620-235-4302

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Comic Fantasy

Pittsburg State University Department of Art Comics: Theory & Practice Course prepares anthology-style mini comic for students to enjoy. 

Students enrolled in the Comics: Theory & Practice course are currently working on their final projects. Comics: Theory & Practice is a new special topics course offered by the art department this spring, taught by instructor Emmalyn Gennis.

The final project for the class asks students to write and draw their own four-page story that will, upon completion, be collected into a small book or "minicomic" for the students to enjoy. The students voted on a theme for this anthology-style comic earlier in the semester and agreed upon "Fantasy," which they felt could be broadly interpreted to accommodate their many different storytelling styles. 

Max Rinkel works with Wacom tablet. 
For this project, students are allowed to use any traditional or digital media they choose to create their comics. Many of the students are applying skills they have learned in the Drawing With Ink course, another special topics course offered by the department this semester. 

As an assignment earlier in the course, students had to design and create a cover for the book that will be the product of these final projects, and voted on whose design would actually be used when it is printed at the end of the semester. The winner of the cover design competition assignment was Mattie Parrigon, a Commercial Art major.

Mattie Parrigon hard at work on a new page. 

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)