Herron Alumna Alice Guerin on Finding Her Artistic Niche

Alice Guerin. Rachel Enneking

Alice Guerin, after receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2013, quickly found a sector where she could continue her artistic practice: tattooing. Due to her incredible attention to detail and ability to do delicate, precise designs, Guerin’s business gained traction very quickly.

Today, Guerin only takes appointments, and for good reason: her parlor, Knot Eye Studio, has a incredibly high level of demand, and her appointment books currently closed until fall 2019. She has been featured in Indianapolis Monthly and The Good Trade, along with numerous other publications. Here, Guerin discusses her artistic process, inspirations, and more.

Virtual Reality Game Built By IUPUI Students Challenges Players To Escape Breakout High

Video by Samantha Thompson, Indiana University

Gamers in Indianapolis have a new virtual world to play in, one built by a team of IUPUI media arts and science students where players must use their puzzle-solving wits to escape the clutches of a villain who has locked them inside a school.

The game, “Breakout High,” is available for play at BlueWall VR, a virtual reality arcade at 5967 E. 82nd St. in Castleton.

After donning a VR headset, players find they have been locked inside a classroom in Breakout High by the villainous Mr. Jack. Players escape from a series of locked rooms, and eventually the school, by solving puzzles.

The students developed the game as part of a team-driven project-based learning course, N420 Multimedia Project Development. The student team was paired with BlueWall VR as a client, said Joshua Kottka, who led the student team as product manager.

“They wanted a VR game, so we met with them for a couple of weeks to brainstorm ideas about what type of game we should develop,” Kottka said. “We eventually narrowed it down to a puzzle-solving game, like an escape room.”

“I think we were all pretty excited to work on a virtual reality game,” Kottka said. “Virtual reality and augmented reality games are still not quite as popular as other types of video game genres, but they are new and emerging. The really interesting thing about virtual reality is that it is still super-new.”

Jonathan Renninger, who served as lead programmer, said learning the ins and outs of virtual reality programming was the most interesting part of the project. “I had to do a lot of research and learn how to program that kind of stuff,” he said.

That included designing puzzles that lead a player from one step to the next, such as a bookcase on which books have to be placed in a certain order, Renninger said.

“Breakout High” may be the first game Kottka and Renninger developed for a client, but it won’t be their last.

After he graduates from IUPUI May 11, Kottka said, he will be applying for internships at gaming studios around the country: “That’s really my goal after graduation, making more games and stuff.”

He believes his work on “Breakout High” will give him a leg up on that quest. “This will definitely help. For a year, I was project manager for ‘Breakout High.’ So I have that to put on my resume.”

Renninger, who is also graduating, hopes his experience developing “Breakout High” will burnish his portfolio. “It also helped me learn a bit more about how to work with a client. So I hope further on down the line this will help me deal with clients and with programming for other games in the future.”

Read the original story from IUPUI News’ Rich Schneider

 

Herron Sculpture Graduate Took Country Roads To Commencement

Shelby Lahne, a Herron School of Art and Design sculpture graduate, watches her pet goats Crackerjack, left, and Peanut play on her property in rural Shelby County. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University
Shelby Lahne, a Herron School of Art and Design sculpture graduate, watches her pet goats Crackerjack, left, and Peanut play on her property in rural Shelby County. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

The roads to graduation for 7,122 students at the May 11 IUPUI commencement differ tremendously. Some left home half-a-planet away to study here; many others earned their degrees without having to leave beautiful and bustling Indianapolis.

A senior about to graduate, Shelby Lahne was born and raised in Pleasant View, Indiana, and went to high school in Fairland, population 315. She commuted 30 to 40 minutes to classes daily. While home is only a county away, her experience is another world from the downtown Indianapolis campus, which is where she earned a degree in sculpture from the Herron School of Art and Design. Pleasant View consists of an offramp from I-74 east, a gas station and a handful of roads with quaint houses on large plots of land.

While most of her classmates weren’t raised in small-town Indiana, it has fueled her art in terms of direction and materials.

Shelby Lahne poses with part of her installation piece, "Nests," which currently hangs in University Library. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University
Shelby Lahne poses with part of her installation piece, “Nests,” which currently hangs in University Library. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

“I think being from a small town but going to school in the big city gives me a different perspective on things,” said Lahne, whose high school graduating class was about 100 students.

Thousands of IUPUI students, staff and faculty have seen — and walked under — a recent commission of Lahne’s: “Nests” has hung in the second-floor lobby of University Library since the fall, and it will continue to show for another year. The four large constructions sway quietly by thick rope. That rope is also wrapped around each nest made of burlap over a steel, egg-shaped understructure.

“Over the steel rods, there is a layer of chicken wire, and over that is a layer of carpet padding,” Lahne revealed. “I got the idea from looking at weaver bird nests. Instead of cup-shaped nests, they create dome-shaped nests with just one little hole in them. They make them in large groups for protection purposes.

“I thought that was very interesting because it’s like the library itself — everyone comes here. We may all be doing our own thing, but we’re still in here together.”

Following “Nests,” Lahne continued with the suspension theme in her work. Ropes, pulleys and the defiance of gravity were utilized in most pieces.

Photos courtesy of Shelby Lahne
Photos courtesy of Shelby Lahne

“I’ve used a lot of concrete and cinder blocks,” Lahne said. “They all have to do with weight, tension and balance.

“A lot of my ideas come from different building materials, like metal, concrete and rope. Out in the country, you just find these things in someone’s yard or their barn. They are typically thought of as junk or scrap, but the materials seem to have a story to them.”

Before her years at IUPUI, Lahne earned an associate degree in art therapy from Vincennes University. She expected to pursue the field at IUPUI, but she found a better fit in Herron’s sculpture program, which is headquartered in the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center. Lahne’s recent pieces have shown well in Herron galleries and classrooms, and the young artist will pursue a graduate degree in sculpture.

As she looks for her next stop along her academic journey, Lahne must decide what to do with her two beloved pets. An option would be finding a farm for Peanut and Crackerjack while she continues her studies.

Peanut and Crackerjack love to eat and roam around Shelby Lahne's property in Shelby County. Photos by Liz Kaye, Indiana University
Peanut and Crackerjack love to eat and roam around Shelby Lahne’s property in Shelby County. Photos by Liz Kaye, Indiana University

Like it has for countless young Hoosiers, 4-H Club became a big part of Lahne’s high school years when a friend roped her into showing goats for the Shelby County Fair. Not getting attached to your show animals is a rite of passage for many 4-H kids. Lahne was, however, able to rescue a pair of goats from slaughter. First was Peanut. He was kept at her grandfather’s house just outside of the town limits. Since a solitary goat is an unhappy one, Crackerjack, a pygmy mix, was welcomed into the herd. The smaller, younger goat was another 4-H animal that is now enjoying a retirement full of fresh alfalfa hay, more than an acre of lawn with delicious grass and jelly beans for treats.

Lahne constructed a pen and a small barn for her pets. It’s true that the goats are eating machines, but they don’t eat cans or other items meant for the recycling bins. But they will decimate any kind of yard waste with haste.

“They’re similar to a dog,” Lahne said of her goats. “They always follow me around. If I have them out, they’re always where I am, and whatever I’m trying to do, they’re always in the way. Peanut wants to be petted all the time.”

Lahne has shown numerous pictures and videos of Peanut, a Boer breed now weighing in at 200 pounds, and Crackerjack, who is now almost 100 pounds, to her classmates.

“Everyone at the sculpture building wants me to bring them in,” said Lahne, with a laugh. “That would be impossible to do. If you try to pet Crackerjack, he’ll think you’re playing and try to headbutt you.”

Small-town living inspired Herron sculpture graduate Shelby Lahne to achieve commissions, goats and commencement. Video by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

Read the original story from IUPUI NewsTim Brouk 

Mother Nature Inspired IUPUI Students’ Design For A Safer Football Helmet

The thick peel of a pomelo was one of nature's bio-inspired designs the students examined.
The thick peel of a pomelo was one of nature’s bio-inspired designs the students examined.

Two IUPUI students drew upon the wisdom of Mother Nature to create biologically inspired designs that could be used to create a safer football helmet.

Their research has been published in the Society of Automotive Engineering International Journal of Transportation Safety.

The student authors of the paper, “Cellular Helmet Liner Design through Bio-Inspired Structures and Topology Optimization of Compliant Mechanism Lattices,” are Jacob DeHart, a media arts and science student in the School of Informatics and Computing, and Joel Najmon, an engineering student in the School of Engineering and Technology.

Zebulun Wood, a lecturer in media arts and science, and Andres Tovar, an associate professor of mechanical and energy engineering and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, are co-authors and co-directors of this research project.

“Our research and design algorithms show innovative, energy-absorbing cellular helmet liners,” Najmon said. “Cellular helmet liners are ideal for impact energy absorption, as their structures can mimic the excellent absorbing capabilities of foam and energy protective biological structures while maintaining the ability to be engineered for specific impact, dynamic responses.”

The two students were given the reins to experiment and explore different ways of making something that could be useful to people, DeHart said. “I took a more interpretative look at nature, mimicking functions and forms from nature, while Joel took a more scientific one, putting numbers into a program to get results.”

This work shows lessons learned from bio-inspired designs using protective structures such as pomelo peel, nautilus shell and woodpecker skull, Tovar said. “Our work explores a design approach to tailor the response of a cellular material subject to impact, an approach that offers the potential to mitigate head injury by decreasing acceleration, decreasing penetration and increasing specific energy absorption.”

“What this study really gets to is that nature, through millions of years of innovation and evolution, knows best,” Wood said. “We took some of nature’s hardest surfaces — surfaces that could be translated to helmet design — and re-created them in a way that can be simulated in engineering software.”

Nature may have provided inspiration for the cellular designs, but it took the students months to figure out how the bio-inspired shapes developed by DeHart could be re-created in a way that they could be used by Najmon in engineering simulation software that showed whether their helmet liner would reduce risk of injury.

The challenge the two students faced, Wood said, was to learn how to create geometric shapes that were inspired by nature but could also be simulated in engineering software. “Until our experiment, that was very difficult to do. It’s still difficult to do. Now IUPUI knows how to get those shapes to work together.”

The kind of collaboration that enabled the students to bridge the gap between the domains of media arts and science and engineering could only happen at a campus like IUPUI that encourages people in different fields to work together, Wood said.

The helmet liner study was supported by a grant from the Sports Innovation Institute at IUPUI.

Read the original article from IUPUI NewsJohn Schwarb and Rich Schneider

Herron’s Ninth Annual ‘Look/See’ Event Celebrates Indianapolis’s Emerging Artists, Art Therapists And Design Strategists

Opening Eyes: Students Learn About Neighborhoods That Predated IUPUI

Anthropology professor Paul Mullins leads the new Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis class in University Library. The course explores the history of neighborhoods that existed where IUPUI is today. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University
Anthropology professor Paul Mullins leads the new Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis class in University Library. The course explores the history of neighborhoods that existed where IUPUI is today. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

Alysa Meyer’s sobering research project began with a 1978 article about an Indianapolis man found drowned in Fall Creek.

The tragedy and the life of Dr. George Watkins was part of the new Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis class, which focuses on the histories of racial displacement and urban transformation along Indianapolis’ downtown canal in commemoration of the IUPUI 50th Anniversary and Indiana University Bicentennial. The class explores the rich history of the Indiana Avenue Cultural District and the nearby Ransom Place neighborhood as well as the contentious displacement and gentrification that occurred when IUPUI was established in 1969.

Meyer and research partner Kyle Turner dug up what they could with the random address they were assigned: 402 W. Vermont St. Watkins’ home also held his practice, once standing where parking lots are now paved near Inlow Hall.

As their research will soon be published online, Turner and Meyer were guest presenters at the April 12 Butler Undergraduate Research Conference. Their findings shocked their peers from other Indiana institutions. Though Meyer grew up in Indianapolis, she, too, was unfamiliar with the history of the area before the university, which included Watkins’ sad story.

This house that once stood at 402 California St. belonged to Dr. George Watkins. It was located where parking lots for Inlow Hall and the Science and Engineering Laboratory Building now exist. Photo courtesy of Indiana Landmarks Central Canal and IUPUI Image Collection

“He was very involved in the community and worked a lot with the YMCA,” said Meyer, a biology senior with an anthropology minor, of Watkins. “We found articles that said he would often give his chiropractic services for free in a way to give back to the community. In his later years, he would wander around the old neighborhood, searching for his house, according to another article. It was thought he had developed Alzheimer’s.”

The Digital History and Community Change in Indianapolis course is led by the team of Andrea Copeland, associate professor of library and information science; library and information science lecturer Kisha Tandy; and anthropology professor Paul Mullins, whose 2009 book, “The Price for Progress,” pays tribute to the neighborhoods that once bustled before IUPUI’s establishment. The final projects are being managed with the help of Herron Art Library digital services specialist Danita Davis and librarian Sonja Staum, who is also the director of the Herron Art Library.

The class of 17 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in science, museum studies, library science and public history utilized digitized newspapers, databases, old city directories, and Sanborn insurance maps from the late 1800s and early 1900s to monitor what kind of homes, businesses and landmarks once stood where IUPUI is today.

Museum studies graduate student Hannah Lundell had no idea of the history that was once literally beneath her feet as she prepared for her class, which takes place in University Library.

“It’s been a consensus with the class that a lot of people weren’t fully aware of the extent of the neighborhood that used to exist here,” said Lundell, a Florida native. “But we’ve been able to talk to former residents, which is rare when working in archives and piecing together stories.”

‘Study our city’

As the student projects are nearing completion, the research is being uploaded into a digital map from 1908. Users will be able to scroll along the map and click on the houses to learn more about the structures and the families who once inhabited them. Some of the content was acquired in collaboration with Indiana Landmarks.

A Civil War-era mansion once stood at 538 W. New York St., near where Inlow Hall is today. Photo courtesy of Indiana Landmarks Central Canal and IUPUI Image Collection
A Civil War-era mansion once stood at 538 W. New York St., near where Inlow Hall is today. Photo courtesy of Indiana Landmarks Central Canal and IUPUI Image Collection

Copeland said her students have learned about an early, hyper-local example of gentrification and displacement, which occurs in cities all over the country. These final projects give needed history, images and data to one of the most historically underrepresented parts of Indianapolis.

Copeland hopes the class will help pave the way for an Indianapolis history minor, specialization or certificate at IUPUI.

“There is a need to study our city,” she explained. “We don’t have a permanent course with the word ‘Indianapolis’ in it. Geography, history, social issues, current events, economics in our city — it’s all intertwined.”

Dr. Watkins’ story to live on

Meyer and Turner’s work filled in not only Watkins’ story, but that of his neighborhood.

“I think this is really eye-opening for a lot of people because I don’t think they realized this was happening,” Meyer said. “I think it’s a good way to teach people about displacement. You get to read about people’s lives and who it affected.”

Since publishing his book, co-authored with Glenn White, Mullins gets calls and messages from relatives of former area residents who are curious about their former homes. He hopes his class’s digital research project will answer questions for those relatives as well as for Hoosier historians.

“In general, we are interested in putting as much of this history as possible in an accessible, digital place,” Mullins said. “We’re building like genealogists would. We have so much digitized. Now, it’s about helping people understand how to use it and what they can do with it.”

Read the original story from IUPUI NewsTim Brouk 

Herron Professor’s New Book Explores Public Art’s Impact

Laura Holzman stands in the 2017 House Life Project on Sept. 20, 2017. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University
Laura Holzman stands in the 2017 House Life Project on Sept. 20, 2017. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

You’ve seen the “Rocky” movies. You hum the theme song every time you run up a flight of stairs. You might even have posed in front of the statue when visiting Philadelphia. But have you thought about the impact the statue has made on the city and public art in general?

A new book by Laura Holzman, IUPUI associate professor of art history and museum studies, explores the history and public discourse concerning public art in early-21st-century Philadelphia. “Contested Image: Defining Philadelphia for the Twenty-First Century” focuses on the “Rocky” statue as well as “The Gross Clinic” by Thomas Eakins and the Barnes Foundation art collection.

The book is available through Temple University Press and many other online outlets.

Spring Break Around the World 2019

During spring break, more than 160 IUPUI students experienced the world through study abroad, with “classrooms” ranging from museums to the beach to the rainforest. The following four program locations highlight how students explored different dimensions of their fields of study, conducted service projects and more.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Twelve Honors College students from a variety of majors journeyed to beautiful Guanacaste, Costa Rica, for the annual Honors College Service Learning program. The service portion of the trip was divided into two groups working at Cartagena and Tempate elementary schools, allowing the students to go beyond the textbook and get an in-depth understanding of the current education system in Costa Rica.

The first group taught a variety of English lessons — greetings, body parts, food and nutrition. The second group assisted with teaching the importance of hygiene and best dental practices.

“Words cannot describe the feeling of getting to see how excited the students were to learn English from us,” student Amber Greaney shared. “One day we walked in, and all the students started chanting ‘English, English, English’ all together. Although we were the ones doing service, I felt like I gained more from the experience than I could ever give to them. This trip was truly the best week of my life.”

The group also participated in two language exchanges with local universities, practicing their Spanish skills and making friends with local Santa Cruz students. The group saw why Costa Rica is famous for ecotourism, receiving a tour of the Diria coffee plantation, hiking the rainforest surrounding the Miravalles volcano, and taking a natural mud bath followed by a dip in natural hot and cold springs.

“Before visiting Costa Rica, I had always seen myself as belonging to the United States solely,” student Lilly Pollard said. “Every individual I met in Costa Rica was so incredibly inviting and kind. I was able to make an impact on individuals in another country by volunteering at schools. My experience made me expand my thoughts of what makes a community, helping me grow and become a better global citizen.”

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Kelley School of Business‘ Argentina: Corporate Social Responsibility program exposed students to the economic and political history of Argentina, the social issues that its population faces today, and how businesses are helping to address those issues. The class completed a service-learning component and met with a variety of Argentine businesses.

“In discussion with these companies, I gained an understanding of how these businesses contribute toward the three pillars of sustainability,” shared program participant Vidula Gongade. “I also had an incredible volunteer experience with Proyecto Agua Segura, a company that creates solutions for the water crisis in the rural areas. My group and I visited a local school to build a rainwater-harvesting system with water filters and a vertical garden irrigation system.”

London

Two IUPUI programs based their courses in the United Kingdom’s capital city, a multicultural bastion with approximately 9 million inhabitants. With a timely topic, the Kelley School’s U.K.: Brexit, Business and Brits program explored how business is conducted in the U.K., examining the purpose and structure of the European Union and the potential impacts of Brexit.

“Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I made at IUPUI,” said Kelley student Gauri Nagaraj, who participated in the Brexit program. “I met so many new people, learned a lot of new things and explored the city of London — without Google Maps! It was an amazing experience to be in a city so full of history and culture.”

The second London program, offered by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, took a look at the U.K.’s National Health Service for this year’s Health Systems Around the World course. Students visited London-area health facilities, met with local faculty, completed a public health scavenger hunt and toured historical sites directly related to health systems, including the Broad Street pump, site of the famous cholera outbreak of 1854.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Herron School of Art and Design‘s Exploring Art and Design in Denmark program allowed students to experience the public and private spaces that embody a people-centered approach to daily life in the Scandinavian city of Copenhagen. Students attended lectures from leading design groups with an emphasis on service design and had the opportunity to experience hygge firsthand by cooking a Danish and American meal in the home of some Danish hosts.

“Being exposed to well-designed solutions that address a particular problem has had the biggest influence on me,” student Caila Lutz reflected. “I am now confident that I can provide techniques and ideas similar to the ones used in Denmark for problem-solving in the United States. For example, at the airport, instead of scanning your ticket when you start boarding, you scan your ticket to get into a seating area when you first arrive at the gate, making the boarding process quicker and less stressful.

“I’ve learned so much from studying abroad, but with the growing city, there will always be more to learn.”

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Mandy Bray

Design, Culture, and Everyday Life in Denmark

Aaron Ganci and Haley Francis-Halstead in Copenhagen. @hollabackhaley

This spring break, twenty-two students from Herron’sfurniture designvisual art, and visual communication design programs traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, with associate professors Aaron Ganci and Helen Sanematsu to experience one of Europe’s modernist design epicenters. They traveled via bicycle to design studios, museums, and cultural attractions and sampled a plethora of Danish cuisines.

“It was inspiring to see my students experience Denmark. We visited several design agencies to learn about their people-centered approach to design, went to a few museums, had a bike tour of the city with a local designer, and made a dinner together to experience hygge. Our trip to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art was especially inspiring because we had a personal tour from their director of education who taught us about the history of land, the collection, and the architecture. I can’t wait to get back with more students!”

Aaron Ganci, associate professor of visual communication design

“The museums we visited during our study abroad were amazing and made me fall in love with the arts all over again. But above all, the talks with the designers were what stood out to me.

We went to EGGS Design and spoke to Katja [Egmose] and Nikolaj [Bebe], who are the creative directors for EGGS in Copenhagen. Katja had us do an exercise where a few groups had arthritis and the other groups were mute. The groups with arthritis (I was in that group) had to tape their knuckles and wrists, which would mimic the lack of movement with arthritis.

This was an important exercise because we had to go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients to make lunch while our hands and wrists were taped. This seemed weird at first, and we got some interesting looks from the people in the store, but as we were shopping – trying to hold on to the basket, use our phones to look up translations, and take out our credit cards – it all made sense.

Design isn’t about making something pretty; design is about creating a solution to a problem. Our problem was the fact that everyday tasks were made more difficult because of our mobility issues. Katja said we should always try and put ourselves in the shoes of the people for whom we are creating a solution.”

Romarie Quinones-Perez, visual communication design student

“Being exposed to well-designed solutions that address a particular problem has had the biggest influence on me. I am now confident that I can provide techniques and ideas similar to the ones used in Denmark for problem solving in the United States. For example, at the airport, instead of scanning your ticket when they start boarding, you scan your ticket to get into a seating area when you first arrive at the gate, therefore, making the boarding process quicker and less stressful.”

Caila Lutz, visual communication design student

“Denmark always ranks in the top 3 of the world’s happiest countries, and it was awesome to get some idea of why by being there and hanging out with Danish folks. We used our previous experience in design to share our own networks with our students, and we all learned a lot about how design can make life better.”

Helen Sanematsu, associate professor of visual communication design

“Everyone there was so kind! Me and the other grad student took a day trip to Møns Klint, a beach with giant white sand cliffs. We had a four-mile hike to get to there, after a train and two bus rides. During our hike back, it started to rain and the wind was really strong. We stopped to use the restroom in what turned out to be a nursing home and the manager offered us a ride to the train station. It was a 40-minute drive and she told us a lot about Denmark and even stopped at a couple churches to show us the architecture and art inside.

I think part of why everything felt so intentionally placed and beautiful in Denmark is because the people there really value what they have – not just as possessions but also in terms of quality and design as well as togetherness. So many things there are designed to maximum potential and to be aesthetically pleasing, which compliments their emphasis on togetherness and coziness. It is definitely something I have taken home with me and makes me look at things differently.”

Tiffany Pierce, visual art student

“The people there were amazing, and the architecture was breathtaking. It was an incredible experience I would want to have again and again!”

Deven Grose, visual communication design student

Read the original article from Herron School of Art + Design