This year marks the first batch of students to complete IDEA’s four-year Bachelor’s Degree, since the shift in 2014
Carlo Javier / Editor-In-Chief
Every year, the works of Capilano University’s best visual artists are showcased at the annual IDEA [Illustration/Design: Elements and Application] Grad Show. Though each passing group brings about tremendous talent and potential for the illustration and design industry, this year’s batch has a little something more: a full extra year in school.
This year’s graduating students stands as the first group from IDEA to complete the four-year Bachelor of Visual Communications Degree program. The move started in the Fall semester of 2014, when the respected illustration and design school replaced its three-year diploma program with a full degree. “It’s been a gradual evolution,” said program instructor and co-chair, Pascal Milelli. Since the switch to a degree program in the Fall semester of 2014, Milelli said that IDEA has continued to better develop its curriculum. “We’ve worked to build on the strengths of the IDEA diploma program, with added rigour, depth and flexibility for the student,” he added.
For graduating student Shanene Lau, while jokes about her group being the “guinea pigs” for the degree’s launch have become far too common, the benefits have been impossible to overlook. The additional year allowed for the implementation of more workshops as well as the opportunity to explore finely specified skills with industry professionals. Students were also able to attend the AIGA Conference in Las Vegas as part of the degree expansion. “I feel like having more time is always beneficial to learn more and get comfortable with skills before heading out to the workforce,” said Lau.
Moreover, seeing as Lau and her cohort were the very first group of students to enter the IDEA’s revamped degree program in 2014, they were also given the opportunity to participate in constant dialogue about how the curriculum operates. “It felt natural to work out the first year of the degree program together,” she said. “And our coordinators have always been eager and receptive toward feedback.”
As graduation looms ever nearer, fourth-year students have naturally been more intensely focused on their grad show presentations. Though Lau plans on showcasing what she defined as “your typical design portfolio” – one that she described to be “laboriously aligned on an angle (myself included),” her other responsibility is catered more towards the grand scheme of things.
The @ideaeighteen Instagram profile is arguably the most finely-curated CapU-based Instagram account, and the one behind the profile is Lau herself. Along with the help of “class clown” Annie Chang, @ideaeighteen has set somewhat of a social media standard for some of CapU’s other programs. “Good content is plentiful around here, which makes putting @ideaeighteen together pretty fun,” she said.
From Apr. 9 to 13, at the Harbour Centre, the IDEA program grads will be presenting their work not only to members of the CapU community, but also figures from the art industry. Milelli said that the students will be showcasing projects that range from interactive, to branding and to illustration fields, while also putting forward work that combines elements of several philosophies. “Our students are aiming to provide industry guests in particular with a clear impression of their strengths and the kind of work they hope to continue producing,” he said.
For Milelli, while the appeal and opportunity that comes with meeting members of the art industry is certainly a key – if not the key – concept of the grad show, the chance to also showcase projects to other CapU students is also welcome. Presiding strictly in the upper floors of the Arbutus building, IDEA students have long been lumped with CapU’s other “artsy” faculties. Motion Picture Arts (MOPA) students stick to the Bosa building, while Jazz Studies students dwell in the lower floors of the Fir building. Separation from the ever-fleeting thought of a campus community is inevitable. “So much of what the students do happens in a classroom, within the program,” Milelli said. “To share the sum of their experience at CapU with the greater University community provides new opportunities for connection and insight.”
Through the years, the annual grad show has provided a wonderful experience for students and visitors alike. This year’s celebration promises to continue that tradition. According to Lau, those who catch the showcase will get to see the culmination of their hard work over the past four years. It’ll be beyond your typical design convention, too. “You may also see acrobatic cats, dismembered legs, an elephant baking cookies, penguins from the future and stylish deodorant,” she said. “You know, design stuff.”
The 2018 IDEA Grad Show opening gala launches on Apr. 9 at the Harbour Centre Lobby. Industry preview will be from 6 to 7 p.m., while friends and family goes from 7 to 9 p.m. The show will run until Apr. 13.