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.

January 24, 2020

DELAYED START – 10 AM – FRIDAY, JANUARY 24

Due to hazardous road conditions, KCAI’s campus and administrative offices will open at 10 a.m today, Friday, January 24. New student orientation will begin with lunch at 11:30 a.m. Morning activities in the central shop will be rescheduled. Please be safe when traveling to campus.

January 16, 2020

Sculpture Faculty Win Major Accolades

Two Sculpture faculty members are kicking off the new year with incredible accomplishments. Chair Jill Downen (’89 Painting) has been selected to exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s new contemporary art space the Momentary and Jarrett Mellenbruch has received a prestigious Creative Capital Award. Downen is one of 60 artists chosen for State of the Art 2020, which celebrates the opening of the new contemporary art space, the Momentary. The exhibition will be on view at the Momentary and Crystal Bridges from February 22 through May 24 and is free for all visitors. Downen’s art envisions a symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture, where the exchanging forces and tensions of construction, destruction and restoration emerge as thematic possibilities. The work that will be exhibited, Three Dimensional Sketchbook, is a cabinet of drawers that viewers may open to view a range of material sketches. Each drawer features a label and keyword which poetically corresponds to its contents. With the opening of each drawer, the artwork reveals a visual-spatial language in miniature scale. “The opportunity to exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is meaningful in that I can share my voice within a national conversation about contemporary art today,” said Downen. Mellenbruch’s The Redwood Preserve was one read more…