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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates

Spring 2020 Graduate Wins International Computer Graphics Competition

Bailee Campbell winning poster

July 2, 2020

Spring 2020 University of Northern Colorado graduate Bailee Campbell took first place for artwork she created for a student poster competition organized for the world’s largest computer graphics conference.

Campbell’s award-winning entry (above) focused on the conference theme, “Think Beyond,” and depicts a woman standing out among a “melancholy” crowd glued to their cellphones, a sign of the times.

“Though phones can be a handy and fun tool, they create so many issues that render us from being truly happy at times,” she wrote in her artist’s statement that accompanied the submission. “We become robots to these miniature computers and the power that they hold.”

Campbell created the poster in Professor Anna Ursyn’s ART 237 Introduction to Digital Media class. She said she began with a series of sketches before using Photoshop to digitize her favorite concept. For the main character, she said: “I wanted this woman to be rejoicing in a sense, and I didn’t want her to fit the typical constructs of society. I hoped to create a figure that represented pure joy and self-love.”

Each year, students in Ursyn’s classes submit their work for the annual International Conference on Computer Graphics and International Techniques organized by ACM SIGGRAPH. For this year’s theme, Ursyn challenged students to think about what they would like to change in the world. They brainstormed ideas as a class and offered peer critiques before finalizing and submitting their posters. It’s an opportunity to bring the industry into the classroom, which is something Ursyn emphasizes to help prepare students for their careers.

“I like the positive energy, especially during the covid-19 time when everyone is upset, it provokes everyone to smile,” Ursyn said of the poster by Campbell, whom she describes as versatile, energetic, and a fantastic student.

An eight-member panel of artists from across the globe juried the contest. For winning, Campbell receives free access to the conference (virtual this year), a special diploma, and her art will be featured permanently on the ACM SIGGRAPH website.

This is the second time a UNC student has won the annual competition. In 2015 Lindsey Foy in the Computer Graphics area of concentration won for the theme, “Xroads of Discovery.”

In Her Words

Campbell submitted the following statements to accompany her winning poster:

  • Artist Statement: When I heard the prompt, “Think Beyond,” my mind went in a thousand directions. There is so many ways to portray this topic, but I wanted to focus on thinking beyond our cell phones. Though phones can be a handy and fun tool, they create so many issues that render us from being truly happy at times. During the current climate that COVID-19 has created, it is hard not to get sucked in by the media. Constant updates on the virus, death tolls, and opinions on what we should be doing with our time all have the potential to turn our world gray and trap us in melancholy feelings. Phones also create social constructs on what we should eat, what we should look like, and how we should act. We become robots to these miniature computers and the power that they hold. Until we learn to put down our phones and create our own definitions of beauty and joy, we will never be truly happy.

  • Technical Statement: For this poster, I wanted to utilize the skills that I obtained in class at the beginning of this semester. I first made some quick sketches of my concepts and decided on the one I liked best. I then used Photoshop to begin drawing a dull, simplistic figure looking at a phone. I used a grayscale color scheme in order to achieve a melancholy mood for the figure. I then cut out the figure and pasted it over and over, layering the figures to make it look as if they were in a crowd. Because I didn’t want the message to be race oriented, I altered the skin tones in the figures. I then began drawing the main focus of the poster: the happy woman. I wanted this woman to be rejoicing in a sense, and I didn’t want her to fit the typical constructs of society. I hoped to create a figure that represented pure joy and self-love. I then placed her in the center of the image and layered some of the gray figures on top to provide a more dynamic look.

Of Note

Other UNC students' digital media work created in UNC classes and programs were accepted by the conference: 

Think Beyond

By Emma Glennan (ART 338 Digital Illustration & Storytelling)

Think Beyond

By Jamie Milne (ART 237 Introduction to Digital Media)

Think Beyond

By Jingying Crystal Zhen - Graduate MA student in Digital Media

Think Beyond

By Kendra Hirsch (ART 338 Digital Illustration & Storytelling)

Think Beyond

By Madi Spillman (ART 338 Digital Illustration & Storytelling)

Xroads of Discovery

By 2015 winner Lindsey Foy

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