April Student Artist of the Month

by Kate Luce

jessica-akeyGraphic design is an art form that communicates with both words and imagery. Graphic design is all around us - showing us what to buy, what to read and what to watch. It is a powerful tool that influences decisions.

The power of commutating with art is what first interested Jessica Akey, sophomore graphic design student, to reconsider majoring in it.

“I am actually a transfer student from Southwestern Michigan College. I was a communications student, but I had to take a graphic design class. I thought it was really cool. I completely fell in love with it. Just being able to make something on the computer that was in my head was really cool,” Akey says.

jessica-artworkAfter that one graphic design class, she knew that design art was the right fit. Before that she typically just painted and drew. She left her former college to come to IU South Bend to pursue her new degree she never expected she would enjoy.

“At Southwestern Michigan College, it felt like a step up from high school a little bit. It’s more of a community college, and I feel like here, at IU South Bend, it’s more one-on-one. The classes are smaller and more focused, and I am taking a lot more away from IU South Bend. My degree is what I want to do,” Akey says.jessica-akey

Here, Akey has already made a name for herself in the Fine Arts department. This year, Barbara Mociulski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Arts, suggested that Akey should work with the Women’s and Gender Studies department with the annual publication of New Views on Gender.

“Professor Maciulski has been the one to push me to try all these new things, such as the journal. She is very encouraging. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I am good enough or know enough for that yet because it is my sophomore year.’ She told me that I was really good at it, and helped when I had questions,” Akey says.

Akey designed the layout of the magazine and that took a few months to complete. The process, which was entirely new to her, helped Akey realize that her place in graphic design was the right change of direction.

“It was a great opportunity to explore graphic design. I have a lot to learn still, but it was a really great learning experience,” Akey says.jessica-artwork

Akey credits most of her successes to the faculty. The Graphic Design faculty members want to see their students succeed. The opportunities Akey is receiving is common for successful students at IU South Bend. Because of her recent work with New Views on Gender, it made her want to work more with magazine layout after she graduates.

“I am really loving magazine layout. I am able to be really creative with it, and I feel like that is a really good job opportunity that you can do anywhere. I would love to be able to move into a big city,” Akey says.

In addition to her digital work, Akey continues to enjoy painting and drawing and applying it to her graphic design work.jessica-artwork

“Ever since I was a kid, I always loved drawing and painting. I didn’t know much about graphic design at all. I never thought I would learn anything about the computer. I always felt like I was never good enough for it. It was a flip, going from paper to the computer,” Akey says.

This flip of medium has made Akey realize that graphic design was the right change of pace. Communication follows her with her work, and her love of art is now utilized. For her, graphic design is the best of both worlds.

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