Award-Winning Art and Design

Catlin Miller textile
Catlin Miller’s design of a shawl is inspired by honeybees and honeycomb.

The Second Annual Undergraduate Visual Art & Design Showcase featured 40 projects on display in Jesse Hall, Jan. 30-Feb. 3, 2017. Several of those projects received recognition at the award ceremony that concluded the week’s events with two projects taking top honors.

Projects in this year’s showcase ranged from photography to architecture, digital storytelling to art, textile and apparel management to theatre design, and more.

The top prize in the applied design category went to Catlin Miller for her textile and apparel management design, while Carina Jimenez’s paintings earned her the grand prize in the artistic expression category. The grand prizes came with $3,000 in professional development funds.

Miller, a senior textile and apparel management (TAM) major with minors in business and Italian, won for her piece titled Honey Interlude, which is a shawl inspired by honeybees and honeycomb.

Miller applied for the VAD Showcase at the urging Professor Jean Parsons. A project in Parsons’ class was to create a piece of clothing that could be both 2D wall art and a piece of clothing.

The botanical garden collaborated with the TAM program on a fashion show, so Parsons suggested students use the botanical garden as their starting point for design inspiration.

Miller’s first idea was the honeybee. “From there it just kind of took off,” she says. The design is six hexagons, like a honeycomb, attached together to form the back of the shawl and two larger hexagons that form the sleeves.

“Everything is inspired by the honeybee,” says Miller, who is grateful to Parsons for encouraging her to apply and helping her prepare for the showcase along the way.

Jimenez, who graduated in December with a major in fine arts, won for her paintings titled Imposition. She grew up in a Hispanic household and noticed a difference in how males and females were treated.

Carina Jimenez painting
Carina Jimenez’s paintings resemble historic pieces as they were originally painted, but Jimenez’s face.

“It always bugged me,” she says. “They didn’t care because everyone was so used to it.”

She wanted to voice her opinions about unfair treatment of women through her art. Imposition is two self-portraits playing off traditional European paintings that typically featured white males. She painted the two historic pieces as they were originally painted, but for the faces, she painted her own.

The idea, she says, is to show women can and should have just as much power and pride as the men who made those paintings in the past, as well as to speak particularly to the gender relations of her own culture.

She produced the pieces for class, but she knew from the start she was going to apply for the showcase. “It was a buzz in the whole school,” she says of the event. “Everyone was preparing for it.”