July 1, 2019

Mid-Century Architecture Inspires John Ferry’s Art & Life

When you grow up in Decatur, Ill. with several Frank Lloyd Wright homes in the neighborhood, you’re destined to be a fan of mid-century architecture. Associate Professor of Illustration John Ferry (’92 Illustration) takes his life-long passion for modern houses built between 1933 and 1965 to the next level. Not only does he live in a mid-century home in Prairie Village, he also uses them as inspiration for his latest exhibition Mid-Century Modern, open through July 27 at Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art.

“I fell in love with mid-century houses at a really young age and they are a huge influence on my art. My Dad was crazy about them, too. I’d tag along when he gave tours of the neighborhood,” said John.

John’s ongoing fascination with urban structures has been the foundation of his studio practice. He’s had 18 solo exhibitions and has work in the permanent collection of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Negro League Baseball Museum, and has been featured in 3 X 3 Illustration Annual, American Illustrator and The International Painting Annual. In addition, he collaborates on other projects like a collection of concrete molds he’s been working on with “Dr. Concrete” John Kevern from UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering.

Because of his interest in buildings, John toyed with the idea of becoming an architect but realized early on he wanted to be an artist. His high school art teacher suggested he visit KCAI and on his 18th birthday, he stepped onto the campus for the first time. “I get goose bumps when I think about it. I visited every building and every project I saw, I thought ‘I could do that!’ I never thought about applying to any other school except KCAI. My time here as a student was a really great experience for me,” he said

He went on pursue an M.F.A. in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, taught at KCAI for a few years, worked at Hallmark and came full-circle in 2010 to teach fulltime at the place that meant so much to him – KCAI.

“I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to teach Illustration at KCAI.  Everyone in our department has worked in the field and we know what it’s like to be a professional artist.  Every student in our department becomes a better artist.,” John said.

To learn more about John’s work, visit johnferry.net.

July 11, 2019

Veteran Reflection Exhibition Shines a Light on Social Isolation and Loneliness

A powerful new exhibition Veteran Reflection, which gives insight into the social isolation and loneliness experienced by many veterans, debuted on campus this week. It was created by Illustration students and developed through partnerships with the After Action Network, The Battle Within, Humana and Veterans Community Project. Visitors viewed 18″ x 24″ paintings and snapped a QR code with their phone to listen to the personal struggles of 14 veterans from different generations and branches of the military. For many of the students, this was their first time to have a personal conversation with a veteran. “When I first started this project, I was really nervous because I didn’t know much about what it’s like to be a vet. But Gary was so kind and his story was so inspirational. I felt a huge responsibility to portray him in a way that really showed what he was about,” said Claire Kinnell, who used bright colors and flowers in her representation of Retired Air Force Sgt. Gary Walker. Talking about social isolation and loneliness was not easy for many of the vets. “In this exhibition, we are talking about something hard — about coming home and not being able to integrate read more…

June 4, 2019

Art & Design Auction Raises More Than $550,000 for Student Scholarships

Over 625 art lovers gathered on the Rowland Commons and in the David T. Beals III Studios for Art & Technology on June 1 for the social event of the summer, the festive Art & Design Auction (ADA), which raised more than $550,000 for student scholarships. The balmy evening, inspired food and drink, amazing art, and dedication of Co-Chairs Ellen and Jamie Copaken and Honorary Chair George Terbovich added up to a perfect evening to support arts education. This year, ADA celebrated the undeniable impact that KCAI has on the creative economy of Kansas City. Our graduates, faculty and friends are artists, architects, designers, chefs, curators, fashion designers and small business owners. They make KC a more vibrant and innovative place to live. Guests were greeted at the campus gates with a Prosecco cart and they enjoyed creative appetizers and the haunting harp music of Calvin Arsenia while browsing the silent auction of 250 pieces of donated original art. An amazing display of 15 metal wall sculptures, designed by our students and fabricated at A. Zahner, was popular with bidders and a Buy-It-Now Gallery allowed guests to purchase handcrafted art and goods, no bidding required. After a KC-themed dinner and read more…