April 30, 2013

Logansport students eye futures in commercial arts

by Mitchell Kirk

LOGANSPORT — With the recent winning of five awards in a statewide art competition, the opportunity to earn college credit and a photography class developing over the last two years, Century Career Center students are making their mark on the commercial arts world.

Amanda Kramer, who teaches graphic design and photography at the center on the Logansport High School campus, previously worked in graphic design in the advertising industry. She has been teaching in Logansport for nine years. This semester, she has 40 students in her introduction to graphic design class and 10 in her graphic design class, two of whom are using the class to acquire credits from Ivy Tech Community College.

Three of her current students and one who graduated last year recently experienced success at the Scholastic Art Awards, a statewide and national juried exhibition featuring the work of students.

Logansport High School senior Lexi Musselman submitted a typographic image of an iguana that earned her a Gold Key, the highest level of recognition on the state level.

Using a computer program called Adobe Illustrator, Musselman spent six weeks making the iguana entirely out of letters, numbers and symbols. All the characters range in size and position, swirling around one another to form the iguana’s scales, spikes, contoured eye and mouth. After looking closely at the piece, one finds that the smallest scales of the lizard are made up of tiny 8s.

Before the iguana became a winner, it was an assignment in Kramer’s class.

“I wanted to get them to see the shape and form of a letter,” Kramer said, “and know they’re not just for reading and writing.”

Musselman doesn’t consider herself artistic in the traditional sense of paintbrushes, canvases, pencils and sketch pads, but when she gets in front of a computer, it’s a whole other story.

“I’m a creative person, but not with the finer stuff,” she said. “For some reason, I’m good at this.”

Musselman also won a Silver Key for a caricature she did of Jimi Hendrix, using Adobe Illustrator as her canvas as well.

“To win something like this is really exciting,” she said.

Paola Soriano, a junior at Logansport High School, won a Silver Key for a movie poster she created for a fictitious film titled “The Dark Entrance.”

Soriano used Adobe programs Photoshop and InDesign to create the image of a boy walking through a door in the middle of a forest clouded by a blue mist, appearing to be engulfed by a bright light as he enters.

“I enjoy it a lot,” Soriano said of graphic design. “The process of making a project and seeing how it turns out in the end is something I look forward to.”

Senior Christian De La Cruz and LHS 2012 grad Katie Workman also won Gold Keys in the competition.

The award-winning pieces are just a few of the projects that have come out of Kramer’s class. Throughout the year, after applying knowledge acquired from lectures, readings and presentations, her students have completed magazine ads, restaurant menus, CD booklets and more.

Kramer also teaches commercial photography, which came to the career center two years ago. The class addresses the elements of lighting, camera lenses, computer editing, architectural photography, nature photography and the history of photography, among others.

During a recent class period, a group of her students gathered around a makeshift studio in the corner of the classroom. America Perez, a senior at Logansport High School, posed before a black sheet hanging on the wall while Pioneer High School senior Sarah Lassiter snapped photos, pausing every once in a while to adjust the settings on the camera. Next to her worked other students, adjusting the angle of the lights that flanked Perez.

“I want to incorporate emotion and capture the personality of a person,” Lassiter said as she scrolled through the photos on the computer, adding that she’s been interested in photography since the fourth grade and plans to pursue it as a career.

Several of Kramer’s students expressed an admiration of the class for its ability to implement a great deal of information and still retain a laid back atmosphere that lets them work together and critique each others’ work, creating a bong among their classmates.

It’s all a part of her teaching style, said Kramer.

“When they start their projects, I want to stay off,” she said. “I want to see what they can do.”

Kramer said teaching not only forces her to keep up with all of the rapid changes in technology, but the interests of young people as well.

“I think the kids keep me fresh and up to date,” she said. “It’s interesting to see what they think is cool. I like the whole design process and seeing changes made. They get so excited when they finish a project and when it’s successful. It’s a good feeling.”