By Deena Wicker, May 9, 2023
The 10th annual Poly-Kroma exhibition opened April 29 at the W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery, showcasing a diverse array of senior portfolios and multimedia art created within Cal Poly Pomona’s Art Department.
The exhibition is not only a chance for visual communication design students to connect with industries and display their coursework, but also an opportunity to connect with fellow artists and strengthen their ties to their community.
According to VCD alumnus Chris DeLorenzi, finding like-minded members of an artist’s community is one of the key components to furthering their practice and flourishing in what they do.
“It’s a really good opportunity to connect with people and find reliable means of achieving more than you could alone,” said DeLorenzi. “I think having a really good collectivist mindset will drive you far in any sort of creative endeavor whether that be music, art, video – anything.”
Though the general art community is extremely broad, Poly-Kroma provided DeLorenzi a chance to connect with other digital abstract artists specific to his niche, which focuses on neo futurist, old school techno and house aesthetics.
DeLorenzi created one of the many senior portfolios within the event, including an artbook, motion-graphic stills and an iPad demonstrating a motion-loop.
While some projects aimed to serve as entertainment, others relayed more intimate messages from their artists.
“A Little Bit About You & Me,” by VCD student Berenice Ramos, was a graphic book following her life narrative through the perspective of her current self who writes to her younger self. The book begins with Ramos gently recalling her past in Riverside County assuring she grows into a happier, steadier version of herself as she finds love and community as she gets older.
“It was personal, but I didn’t mind sharing that book – just because I know with personal projects some people have a really hard time with it, but for me it’s sort of like free therapy,” said Ramos. “It was a good outlet for me.”
Some of the submissions followed traditional art styles such as “Liminal Reality,” by VCD student Nicole Miyoshi.
Jumping into the scene as a first-year student, Miyoshi created a highly detailed piece using only a white color pencil and a black matte illustration board. The image was meant to convey the stillness in time with various objects in a single area, including an old telephone, a Pokémon mini-figure and Miyoshi’s perfume bottle.
“I felt it kind of combined both the past and present, from my perspective at least,” said Miyoshi. “The thing about liminal spaces is that it’s like a passageway between point A and point B basically, and I thought that’s what my piece represented.”
Some artists included multiple media forms in their project, such as VCD student Taz Alamillo, who created two of the exhibit’s pieces and placed third in the Visual Communication Design Awards with her illustrative book cover, “Lucid Dreaming.”
“Lucid Dreaming” used three different mediums as a digital edit of graphite illustrations and linocuts. Her traditional piece, “Clown Moments,” was a pen illustration commentating on the ups and downs of life and the suggestion to not take it too hard, according to Alamillo.
“It’s like a bunch of clowns puzzled together and it stemmed from an observation of the world and the highs and lows you can have in a day – but it’s supposed to be like, silly-goofy,” said Alamillo. “The viewer is supposed to see themselves as the clown because when I created it, I felt like the clown.”
The exhibition itself is more than just an opportunity for students to build their professional profiles.
“It’s a whole education system built around the exhibition and it’s really beneficial to the students – not just the ones who are showing but the ones who are showing up (attendees), who aren’t in the exhibition, as well,” said Assistant Professor of the Art Department and lead Poly-Kroma Coordinator Kevin Moore.
Since 2020, Poly-Kroma has maintained an interactive, virtual-reality format of the exhibition on their website, created by VCD students, downloadable for both PC and Mac. This year’s exhibition will soon be available on the same website, and past exhibitions can still be viewed as well.
“It’s cool, but it also shows that our students are capable of this stuff that is very, very futuristic,” said Moore. “If you look at other schools and what they’re capable of with virtual elements compared to what our students are doing, I think we knock them out of the park.”
Feature image courtesy of Deena Wicker
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