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Student Perspectives on the Visual Arts

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A passion for sustainable architecture

Matt Cloyd '11Matt Cloyd '11 next to the Yellowwood tree in front of Clement Hall that inspired one of his sculptures. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
Matt Cloyd '11 grew up in Rutland, Mass., and is majoring in geography modified with studio art. He lives in Dartmouth's Sustainable Living Center and works on sustainability projects around campus. He's also involved with Vote Clamantis, a nonpartisan group that encourages students to vote. Off campus, he works for the Upper Valley Transportation Management Association.

"I've taken Drawing I and Architecture I, and presently I'm in Sculpture I. Professor John Kemp Lee is absolutely incredible. We have these design discussions in class, and I come out of there feeling like I've just talked over coffee with him for an hour. It feels personal.

"The other day I was having difficulty working on a sculpture that was inspired by a tree. Professor Kemp Lee picked up on that and took me outside to the tree by the sculpture studio. He showed me how to look at it-how to observe how the joints worked, where the roots started, and how they dissolve into the tree about halfway up. That really helped me clarify everything and took the piece in a new direction-in the direction I knew it was supposed to go in.

"When I took Architecture I, I spent so much time in the studio that the students in Architecture II and III would tell me I needed to go home. But I really connected with the material and enjoyed the individualized focus. Professor Karolina Kawiaka would go around to everybody in the studio and help to further develop their work.

"I'd never considered a geography major until sophomore spring, but melding it with studio art is the perfect combination for me in terms of what I'm looking for in design and understanding buildings and communities and the way they interact with nature. I'm really interested in sustainability and I'd love to design walkable communities that utilize principles of smart growth and get people away from this forced dependence on the automobile and oil."

Award-winning animator

George Thorman '11 hails from Lincoln, Nebraska, and is a geography major minoring in Asian and Middle Eastern studies and film and media studies. He is active in the Multi-Faith Council, Christian Impact, and the Dartmouth Organic Farm. His animated film, Sam the Super Sticky, won the Critics' Award for Technical Achievement and the Vox Populi Award for favorite film at The Dartmouth Independent Film Festival in May, which is open to students from schools nationwide. In June at the Arts at Dartmouth Awards, he won the Association Internationale du Film d'Animation (ASIFA) Award.

George Thorman '11George Thorman '11 with Sam the Super Sticky, the main character in his eponymous film. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

"My family moved from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Oakville, Ontario, when I was 14, and my dad and I started going to the Toronto International Film Festival every September.

That exposed me to a whole new world of independent and international films, which you don't really see in the multiplexes. My freshman year I took a first-year seminar from screenwriting Professor Bill Phillips, and last fall I took an actual screenwriting class with him. Every term I try to take a class that's a creative outlet, and last winter I decided to try animation with Professor David Ehrlich, which wasn't like anything I'd done before.

"There were a lot of really talented artists in the animation class, people who could really draw. And I never felt that was my strength. So I focused on trying to make my film interesting from a technical aspect, especially for my final project.

"My final project was Sam the Super Sticky. The character moves in and out and around the animator's desk, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how animation is made. I think I was most happy with the interaction of the sticky notes from the outside world into the computer screen and back. When he jumps out of the bigger computer screen into the sticky note and folds up and flies away, I hope that's something people really enjoyed.

"I don't have a set plan of where I have to be in 5 or 10 years, but I'm hoping to be involved in producing films. Not necessarily in the animated genre, but films that would be associated with the Toronto Film Festival. Those are the films I enjoy, like A Film With Me In It, Once, and The Station Agent."

Engineering and alternate reality

Nicole Newman '12Nicole Newman '12 in front of Sphinx, the oldest senior society at Dartmouth, which she incorporated in her alternate reality game, cHRISTO. (Photo by Joseph Mehling ‘69)
Nicole Newman '12 of Asbury Park, N.J., is majoring in engineering modified with studio art. Thanks to a fellowship from the Leslie Center for the Humanities, she developed an alternate reality game-cHRISTO, which engages students with Dartmouth history-for the 2009 eMotion Summer Arts Festival. Newman is also working on a multimedia project exploring gentrification in urban environments, "Evolution of the Ghetto," which she will present at Dartmouth this fall.

"I love that Dartmouth is a liberal arts school and I don't have to study just engineering. I have taken four art classes: game design, architecture, and now I'm doing sculpture and drawing.

"I wasn't interested in game design before I came here. I used to go to a summer architecture camp at Carnegie Mellon, and I would always interact with the game design kids. But it never really appealed to me until I got to work with Professor Mary Flanagan in my WISP [Women in Science Project] internship last winter and spring.

"What captured my imagination is the human interaction aspect of it. Before I came into game design, I thought you had to be a hardcore gamer. But what I didn't know is that half of all game players are middle-aged women who mainly engage in online puzzles or card games. It's really interesting to see how people use their leisure time and how most people aren't competitive game-players. They might be doing Wii Fitness, for example.

"I enjoy looking at how we use games to interact with space, especially with alternate reality gaming. My goal is to take aspects of alternate reality gaming and apply them to architecture. To take a design, transform it into a building, and have people really want to touch it and interact with the building."

INTERVIEWS By BONNIE BARBER


Last Updated: 1/12/10