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.

November 13, 2019

Sculpture Chair Jill Downen Selected to Exhibit at Crystal Bridges

The Momentary and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced that Sculpture Clair Jill Downen (’89 Painting) has been selected as one of 60 artists for State of the Art 2020. As part of opening 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, 2020, free for all visitors. More than 100 artworks will be featured in State of the Art 2020— most created in the last three years. At both the Momentary and Crystal Bridges, artwork will include paintings, sculpture, photography, video, performance and mixed media. 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 read more…

November 12, 2019

Shop for Art Made By Students at the End-of-Semester Sale

One Weekend. Thirteen Exhibitions. Take home original artwork made by KCAI’s talented students at the End of Semester Exhibition and Sale. Browse all the studios on our 16-acre campus to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and take in the amazing work on display. Make sure to visit each studio including Animation, Beals Studio, Ceramics, Fiber, Filmmaking, Foundation, Illustration, Interactive Arts, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Graphic Design, and Sculpture. All proceeds benefit individual artists and designers. You can start shopping at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec.6, but in some cases, the artwork will stay on display until Sunday when it must be picked up. For a map of KCAI, located at 4415 Warwick in Kansas City, Mo., visit http://kcai.edu/campus-life/campus/. Don’t miss the End-of-Semester Exhibition and Sale at KCAI from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.