November 8, 2018

KCAI’s Illustration Program Ranked in Nation’s Top 15%

KCAI’s transformative Illustration program has been named as one of the best in the country by Animation Career Review. The online resource for people seeking careers in animation ranked KCAI in the top 15% of Illustration B.F.A. programs in the United States.

Charlie Sosland Chair of Illustration Steve Mayse, an award-winning designer and Illustrator with 25 years of KCAI teaching experience, isn’t surprised by the national recognition. He’s built a department with a robust curriculum that helps to prepare students for an illustration career in a rapidly changing world. The KCAI Illustration department is an incubator – a creative place to explore and find the next trend.

“We encourage our students to innovate, not duplicate. We want them to invent their own form and embrace it. Their future employers are always looking for that next new talent, the next big thing and our students can start that movement,” he said.

The department brings undergraduates from all over the world to study at KCAI and is the largest major at the college with 100 students enrolled. The talented Illustration faculty is a huge draw for students. They bring authenticity, process and diversity in the four main areas of illustration – Corporate, Advertising, Editorial and Institutional. The full-time faculty, all working artists with experience at Hallmark, ad agencies and the Kansas City Star, include Steve Mayse, Hector Casanova, Maura Cluthe, John Ferry and David Terrill.  The newest faculty member, Il Sung Na, is an acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books including A Book of Sleep, Welcome Home Bear, The Opposite Zoo, Bird Balloon Bear and The Dreamer. He’s also a ceramicist known for his whimsical lamps.

Learn more about the Illustration rankings here.

July 28, 2020

Large Scale Hilgemann Implosion Sculpture Installed on Campus

A 20-foot sculpture that used to sit on Park Avenue in New York City was installed Tuesday morning on campus. Double Stack by Ewerdt Hilgemann (b. 1938 in Germany, lives in the Netherlands and US), is 20 ft. high and made from stainless steel.  Double Stack is the second work that has been generously loaned to the college by the artist and Zahner Metal Conservation. Dancers was on campus in 2017-18 and now is part of Leawood’s Public Art Collection. This installation is part of KCAI’s plan to place large-scale works on the campus, on a constantly-changing basis. They connect the large public artworks already in place at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the works in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Previous sculptures on campus include This is NOT a Refuge by Anila Quayyum Agha and The Consistency of Change by Caleb Bowman, (’99 Sculpture). See how Hilgemann implodes these giant sculptures here.

July 27, 2020

Recent Grad Designs Mural at Zoo’s Elephant Exhibit

Watching elephants frolic in the new waterfall pool is delighting visitors at the recently renovated Elephant Expedition at the Kansas City Zoo. The pachyderm’s passion for H2O is also the theme of another one of the exhibition’s new features, a vibrant mural by Anh Le, a 2020 graduate of KCAI’s Illustration program. The large-scale panorama on the Learning Cottage at the exhibit entrance shows animal families coming together at a waterhole in the wilds of Africa. “I wanted the whole scene to have a warm, inviting vibe for visitors.  It gives them a little peek into the world they are entering,” said Le. The project was created when Le was a senior in KCAI’s MICRO Agency, which connects Kansas City businesses with the creative talent of KCAI students. Several students presented designs to the Zoo team and Le’s interpretation made the final cut. This is the second time KCAI students have designed murals for the Zoo. Vaughn Parrish (’19 Illustration) created the underwater themed wall in Stingray Bay. Le’s motivation for the mural is simple — to bring happiness. “With everything that’s going on in the world right now, we need a spark of positivity and joy. I hope people read more…