As I stepped into the Vachon Gallery inside the Fine Arts building Tuesday, there was a constant flurry of movement. 22 Digital Design majors scampered throughout the room, some tearing off the plastic to see their finalized collections for the first time, others beginning to plan where to put their pieces along the walls.
The 2017 Digital Design cohort.
The 2017 Digital Design cohort’s exhibition, titled “Flux,” has been in the works since the first week of fall quarter in September. The exhibition is a part of their senior synthesis course, where the students plan the entire event, as well as show their completed pieces from their time in the program.
The students in the cohort said that it’s been a very long process, especially in coming up with the concept behind the exhibition. They said that there was a lot of discussion in the beginning, especially when it’s over something that all 22 students had to unanimously agree on.
Event Coordinator Aiden Earle explained that the 2017 cohort is extremely diverse in their aesthetics, motivations, goals and ideals.
“One of the only threads between all of us was the fact that we’re at the beginning of our career and we’re still changing and developing as people,” Earle said. “We’re going into this broad, ever-changing field, so that’s really what we’re sharing: this growth, this change and this very tangible sense of motion and development.”
Associate Professor of art and art history Naomi Kasumi added that the meaning behind Flux is like a river. “It’s about flowing, and how we actually grow into something new in the future,” she said. “Everybody has a different type of movement and that’s something we try to present as the common denominator between all of us as a cohort.”
Kasumi also said she noticed the 2017 cohort has had a special bond from the beginning. She said that every year has an inner process, but as more people transferred into the 2017 cohort, they snowballed into a big family.
“They each have their own role in the family unit and that’s how our harmonies balance,” Kasumi explained. “So that kind of positive and consistently fluxing attitude makes them become better designers and a better person as well.”
Co-Director of “Flux,” Chris Mercurio agreed that this experience has shaped him as a person. He said a lot of the students have taken on roles they have never done previously.
Digital Design student, Anna Nguyen, checking over the set up design pieces in the gallery.
“We’re kind of fluxing into new people, which has been an amazing thing,” Mercurio said. “I knew the type of difference in what I wanted to do for the show, but I didn’t realize how much I would learn in the process.”
The aesthetic of the logo for the exhibition reflects the students’ individuality within their cohort family as well. Mercurio added that it is a combination of joined lines and that each line represents a person in the cohort, and their particular journey.
“We’re always being in a constant stage of flux and changing. We’re finding our voice, and I think that the logo resembles that in the way it looks like a sound wave,” said Mercurio.
Junior Madison Vucci also explained that they were debating how to create something that could represent their shared language of learning design together, while also articulating their own styles.
“I feel like what we ultimately ended up with really represents each and every one of us, but also all of us together in this fluxing thing,” said Vucci. “With each individual circle, we’re all together in our own styles.”
The exhibition itself highlights the successes of the cohort’s designs. For the cohort, “Flux” also symbolizes how they have overcome challenges in the past four years in becoming better designers.
“For students it’s really about realizing where you were, where you are now and where you’re going,” Kasumi said. “I’m a process person, so it’s more important to me what they went through, and what we went through, than what the gallery looks like. That’s how I want to celebrate all the challenges we overcome: at this point, we can celebrate where we could do the best.”
The Opening Reception for “Flux” will be this Thursday, April 20, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. During the opening, there will be a raffle for prizes, and all proceeds will benefit Art with Heart, a local charity that helps children and teens overcome trauma through creative expression. “Flux” will be on display until May 4 in the Vachon Gallery.
Anna may be reached at