Archive for the ‘ Class of… ’ Category

Christina Thomas Receives Guggenheim Internship


Christina Thomas (BFA in Visual Studies, 2009) has been selected for a Spring 2010 internship at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Thomas will be interning in the museum’s Education Department and the position involves the “development, implementation, and administration of programs for all museum audiences including adults, schools, families, children, and general gallery visitors, across a variety of learning interests including art, history, literature, art/museum education, film, new media, and much more.”

As an education intern, Thomas will work in areas from Learning Through Art, Onsite School & Family Programs, and Public Programs to New Media, Teens, and Gallery Tours & Programs. She will interface with nearly all museum departments including visitor services, security, curatorial, library, marketing, public affairs, finance, and design.

In a message on Facebook, Thomas says that she is excited about working at the internationally renowned museum and living in New York and that she plans to take “full advantage” of the concurrent Museum Culture Seminar. The museum’s website describes the seminar program as “an integral part of [the] internship program” with “field trips to auction houses, galleries, corporate collections, artists’ studios, and other museums. A field trip outside the city is also planned for each semester.” Through discussions with museum staff from the different departments, the seminar also facilitates an awareness of current and critical issues in the arts and related fields. Thomas said that she is “certain that this opportunity will significantly influence the direction [her] career takes.” For more information on the Guggenheim internship program, visit

Exhibit at Hardin Simmons Features Ryder Jon Piotrs Group


Colorwheel by Jonathan Whitfill

Mercurial Imagination, featuring the work of Ryder Jon Piotrs collaborative members Piotr Chizinski (2007 BFA Sculpture), Ryder Richards (2001 BFA Painting), Sue Anne Rische (1994 BFA Jewelry Design & Metalsmithing) and Jonathan Whitfill (2006 MFA Sculpture) is on exhibit now at the Ira M. Taylor Memorial Gallery at Hardin Simmons University until November 13, 2009. The work ranges from altered books and shredded text to gunpowder drawings and cast bomb forms. The work questions social class systems, the intangible form of knowledge, and violence in a modern world.

The gallery will host a closing reception featuring an artist’s talk and question/answer session on November 13, 5:00-6:30 PM.

Ryder Jon Piotrs (RJP) is comprised of artists who have created an alternative method of engagement with the development of a Nomadic Truck Gallery. The gallery is a converted 24′ Ryder truck complete with white sheetrock panels and track lighting. Since it’s debut over 2 years ago the mobile gallery has prompted several group exhibitions for the RJP members. Most recently the group has shown in Dallas, Abilene, and Marfa. They have also hosted a national juried ceramics exhibition in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information please visit the website ::

Sonia Avila Leads Southwest Airlines Design Team
(5th in a series on Communication Design Alumni)

Sonia Avila (front left) and her Southwest Graphic Design team

Sonia Avila (front left) and her Southwest Graphic Design team (from left to right) John Jones, Quyen Dong, and Trent Duran.

“I’ll never forget how I got into design, “explains Southwest Airlines Graphic Design Team Manager Sonia Avilla (2003 BFA Communication Design) Southwest Airlines Graphic Design team manager. I read an article about design and came to talk to Carla Tedeschi in her then “cave “ office wedged in between restrooms in the architecture building. That was all it took.”

Avilla returned to Lubbock recently to assist Tedeschi, associate professor in Communication Design and the program’s coordinator, by critiquing some student projects and later giving tips to all Communication Design classes on how to land a job in the graphic design field.

She remembered about her SoA days.  “I lived at home and had a job, so going to college wasn’t terribly costly for me, “she flashes a smile. “I was a cartographer- several of us in my family were. I drew maps at first by hand and then later digitally.”

“Critiquing projects this morning reminded me of the old days here — some miserable; some great. I remember the camaraderie though – going out at all hours to eat and talk— struggling to learn in the college atmosphere. I miss some of those moments . . . and some are not design-related!”

That afternoon, Avilla presented “Yummy Work” starting with a simple, large sandwich going on to the meat, hold the mayo, don’t forget the pickle and more. Using the making of a sandwich as analogous to building a successful career, she explained decisions she had made in her own career, relating some triumphs and pitfalls while offering suggestions like 1) research companies – find out their customers and what they really do 2) network—no getting away from design people – look for them 3) tie everything together in your portfolio – letters, cards, leave behinds and 4) look professional – dress and smell appropriately for an interview – no gum!

Remembering a Mentor by Alan Colvin

Alan Colvin on Frank Cheatham a speech read at the Dallas Society of Visual Communications honoring Cheatham

The first time I saw Frank, he was introducing his mentor and friend, Louis Danziger, to a group of students in a lecture room at Texas Tech University. Frank was gracious and softspoken in his introduction, and clearly had the respect of this legendary designer. It was a couple of years later when Mr. Danziger returned to conduct a work session with our Design Communications class when we heard him tell stories of Frank’s skills as one of the finest students that Art Center ever had.

Frank Cheatham grew up on a South Texas ranch, but moved to Los Angeles to attend Art Center in the late fifties. In LA he met his wife, Jane, a student at Chouinard School of Art (a talented illustrator, artist and teacher in her own right). Frank and Jane made a great team. They were both great teachers, and generously offered opinions, advice and stories, as their home was almost always open to students outside of class.

One story Jane told was about how, in their school days, Frank had these beautiful western shirts from Texas that he would sell to an LA clothing store to get cash so he could buy supplies for art school. That story says a lot about what you should know about Frank-that he was passionate about making art and not interested in wrapping himself in superficial veneer. Frank was transparent-sincere and honest.

Frank had a great deal of success in Los Angeles in the sixties as a designer at the packaging and identity firm of Porter and Goodman. His brilliance was recongnized there and the firm soon changed its name to Porter, Goodman and Cheatham. During the LA years, Frank produced a lot of great work for big, visible brands. The work was strategically smart, highly creative and award winning-a balance not easily achieved in this business.

DJ Stout, Partner in International Design Firm, Pentagram (3rd in a series on Communication Design Alumni)

DJ StoutThe pitch is hurled, as the batter draws his bat back, ready to send the ball into the stands. The crowd roars-a big crowd of true baseball fans. This Alpine, Texas, scene could be taking place today at the Kokernot Baseball field (named for famed owner of the 06 Ranch, Herbert Kokernot who built it sparing no expense in 1947). Now the Big Bend Cowboys add a homerun to their scoreboard!

Or it could be a scene from DJ Stout’s, BFA Design Communication 1981, latest project, a visual history of the 1940’s semi-pro baseball team, the Alpine Cowboys. Alpine is Stout’s birthplace and he has another connection to this project. His father, a left-handed pitcher, played on the Alpine Cowboys back in 1952-54 before joining the marines. Mr. Doyle  Stout, now living in the Philippines, has been assisting his son by emailing and contacting teammates. “The University of Texas Press is going to publish it. I have a year – it will be out in the fall of 2010,” explains Stout.

As a child growing up, Stout’s family was a typical military one-on the move. He began publishing a cartoon newspaper delivering it from house to house to help overcome that “new kid” syndrome. “My dad even bought me an older printing machine – a mimeograph – the ones with the purple print and the good smell,” he jokes.

Through the years, he expanded his “Weekly Laf” by creating a staff – someone to do news; a fashion reporter and a sports reporter.  Moves took him to the Virginia area where he attended James Madison University for two years in graphic art. A move back to Texas, found him at Texas Tech because “I had heard that it had a good graphic design program.”

Corey J. Escoto Featured on Art: 21 Blog

coreyCorey Escoto, BFA 2005 (MFA, University of Washington, St. Louis, MO), was recently featured on the  Art:21 Blog . He lives and works in his studio in St. Louis, Missouri. Escoto feels his work is influenced by the city and his living-work space, located on the second floor of an old red brick building downtown-where he feels most of his work is done in the kitchen.

According to contributing blog author-artist, Georgia Kotretsos, in her  post, Inside the Artist’s Studio: Corey J. Escoto, Escoto said, “I came to St. Louis in 2005 because of graduate school. I am from Amarillo, a medium-sized town in Texas, and St. Louis was an interesting change. St. Louis is a major American city with its share of problems, potential, and history. It has a good mix of the benefits and cultural opportunities of a big city, while retaining the small-town midwest charm. I was most drawn to St. Louis because of its great potential for an artist with limited means.”

Recently he was chosen one of three artists who were selected for the Great Rivers Biennial at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in 2008 and he received the  Gateway Foundation Grant. His work has traveled in the New American Talent 23 and the  Texas Biennial (2007). Internationally, he has been recognized in exhibitions such as Le Souvenir (Weimar, Germany); Seven Days Brunch (Basel, Switzerland); and Decollecting (Dunkerque, France).

A member of the Art-O-Matics in Cellophane (NY), Kotretsos is the editor-in-chief and a founding member of  Boots Contemporary Art Space founding artists (European correspondent) (St. Louis, USA). She currently lives in Athens, Greece.

National Geo 1 by Corey Escoto

National Geo 1 by Corey Escoto

Scott Dadich, Creative Director of Wired Magazine (Communication Design Alumni Series)

Scott DadichScott Dadich, BFA, Communications Design,1999,  is Creative Director of Wired Magazine. He credits SMAP (Saturday Morning Art Program), bagels, and a lack of enthusiasm for Mechanical Engineering at UT for bringing him to TTU’s SoA and helping to propel his career.

Dadich’s truly meteoric assent into the publishing world is full of recognition and dazzling successes. First, at Texas Monthly where the magazine accrued 14 National Magazine Awards including the award for General Excellence in 2003 under his creative eye.

Now at Wired, he continues with his winning ways. In 2007, the magazine won the prestigious National Magazine Award for General Excellence and followed in 2008, by winning the National Magazine Award for Design, the magazine industry’s highest design honor. Also, in 2008, he was awarded SPD (Society of Publication Designers) Magazine of the Year and elected President of SPD. Of these awards, Dadich modestly said, “It has been a good couple of years.”

A Lubbock native, Dadich attended All Saints Episcopal School and graduated from Lubbock High School. “Terry Morrow was a great mentor and I started out in his SMAP program and was there every Saturday all through high school to learn.”

“Later, when I went to Tech, Professor Morrow would look in on me to check how my classes were going. In his classes, I learned so much about drawing.”

Dadich mentions John Raspberry as a great instructor along with the Professors Frank and Jane Cheatham, both now deceased. “The first year I was in her (Jane Cheatham’s) typeography class, all lettering had to be done by hand because there was no computer lab until the next year. That next year, we began learning Illustrator and Photo Shop.”

“I draw everyday,” admits Scott Dadich, “I lean on my drawing skills and knowledge of typeography constantly in my work.”

Jonathan Whitfill's "Oh!" Exhibit Will Open July 3

Jonathan Whitfill, MFA, invites you to LHUCA (Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts) here in Lubbock for the opening of his solo show, “Oh.” There will be an artist lecture before the opening around 5:00, Friday July 3rd. Also, Whitfill will be preforming a few pieces for the duration of the opening. The opening is from 6-9 p.m. with beer and popcorn.joncard

“Much of the work is new and has only been seen by a few, and I’m excited to have it revealed!” explains Whitfill. See new for more detail.

The show will be at the Studio Gallery of LHUCA, 511 K Ave., until the end of July.

Scott Thurman's Film "Smokey" Screens at Los Angeles Film Festival

Scott Thurman

Scott Thurman 2007 BFA Photography-digital option will have his documentary film titled “Smokey”screened during the Los Angeles Film Festival June 18-28. It is one of seven short films selected by the Houston Film Commission as part of the Texas Filmmakers’ Showcase at the LA Film Festival. In addition, the Houston Film Commission is flying Thurman to Los Angeles to be present for the film screening and Q&A session following.

“Smokey” is Scott Thurman’s directorial debut, having made this film during his first year in the MFA Documentary Filmmaking program at the University of North Texas, Denton.

“Smokey” takes an intimate look Smokey Binion, Jr. of Stinnett, Texas. Water well worker by day,Elvis impersonator on his off time. Smokey provides performances across the Panhandle of Texas – at no charge to the viewing audience. A day in the life with Smokey reveals an optimistic man involved with his community as an employee of the city and tribute artist, comfortable living and working in a small town while finding unusual ways to connect with all kinds of people.

This film is 14 min, 16 seconds and has previously been selected into the Hot Springs (Arkansas) Documentary Film Festival, Austin (Texas) Film Festival, NextFrame: University Film & Video Association’s Touring Festival of International Student Film & Video (Temple University, Philadelphia, PA), Rockport (Texas) Film Festival, AFI Dallas (Texas) International Film Festival, Indie Memphis (Tennessee) Film Festival, and Dallas (Texas) Video Fest. The film took 1st Place at the Reality Bites Independent Student Film Festival sponsored by Northern Illinois University’s Department of Communication in April. The film can be viewed at the Reality Bites website. Then by clicking on “Smokey.”



William Canning's Work is "Most Engaging" says Frances Colpitt

Example of Canning's work entitled "Sink or Swim"

Example of Canning's work entitled "Sink or Swim"

Frances Colpitt , TCU Art History Professor, reviewing the Austin Texas Biennial Multiple Venues in the publication Art  in America describes Canning’s work as follows. “To provide more in depth exposure, one artist was chosen to have a solo exhibition, each at a different venue. The most engaging for this viewer was William Cannings at Okay Mountain. He exhibited steel sculptures of life-size inflatable objects, like inner tubes,beach balls, and rafts, which he makes by heating the metal sheets and shaping them with forced air. Painted in shiny enamel, the works convincingly capture the puckered seams and the puffed out shapes of the artist’s motifs. Unlike Jeff Koon’s works, Cannings are actual size, thick and glossy rather than thin and glassy. The weighty material is rendered buoyant and airy, like the show as a whole”

Ken Little BFA 1969, was mentioned in the AiA article, also.  Little was specifically chosen to stage art at one of the temporary outdoor location curated by Risa Puleo at Lady Bird Lake. Colpitt describes Little’s work as “white picket fence outlining the shape of the continental United States”  3347842486_5c1934ed0e

Guest-curator, Michael Duncan, a Los Angeles art critic and curator, chose art work from an open call for the third Texas Biennial Exhibition in Austin, Texas which showed from . Six alums and/or SoA faculty were chosen out of the 650 entries for this exhibit.  They were Susan BudgeSusan ChealTom MatthewsChristie Blizard Little, and Cannings.