Visiting artists included LDS portrait painter Casey Childs and graphic designer Brian Collins
Each semester, the Department of Design brings in numerous professionals working in the design industry to speak to students. Lectures range from a panel focused on female students to LDS portrait artist Casey Childs and professional graphic designer Brian Collins.
Childs and Collins offered contrasting experiences for students. Childs’ lecture targeted illustration majors and how to become a successful independent artist. Collins talked about graphic design in the professional world of advertising and branded marketing.
Childs received his degree from BYU and worked as a graphic designer for 10 years until he decided to focus on his personal artistic work full time. He participated in an apprenticeship alongside portrait artist William Whitaker. Childs shared his experience developing a career and showcased some of his work and sources of inspiration. He created an artwork titled “Greater Love Hath No Man,” which he submitted into an art competition hosted by the Church History Museum. After finding success with the picture, he was approached to paint the official portrait of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.
“You need to get to the point where your work is so strong that people are coming to you,” Childs told students. “I think sometimes we worry about how to promote ourselves before we’ve really worked on our craft, ability and portfolio. If you do really good work, they’ll come find you. Putting in work is probably not the answer you want to hear, but if you enter shows and get into shows, then that gets you recognition for commissions. Just keep working and trying to get better.”
Illustration major Abigail Remington went to Childs’ painting and drawing demonstrations. Remington hopes to do portrait painting similar to Childs. Watching Childs’ abstract approach to painting light or shapes rather than “painting a picture” was eye opening for Remington.
“After watching his painting style,” Remington said, “I ended up painting the next day and felt like I improved just by using his techniques and the information I was able to get from him. It was exciting to see that immediate reaction and how I was able to internalize it. My goal is to utilize a similar process and think of my subject matter in more abstract terms. This was perfect for me because it’s exactly what I want to go into. It was nice to see a professional who does what I want to do and is making a living out of it.”
This semester students also heard from Brian Collins, the Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of COLLINS (a brand experience design company). Collins started the company after working as Chairman and CCO for Ogilvy and Mather Worldwide.
Collins came to BYU through his connection to design professor Adrian Pulfer. He came with some of his fellow designers, worked with classes and gave a lecture which focused on case studies and what he’s learned about the design industry.
“You are the frontier,” Collins told students. “I’m not saying that poetically. It’s absolutely true. The career you will have will not be the career that I’ve had or your teachers have had. And that means change.”
Throughout all of his remarks, Collins urged students to be aware of how fast the industry is changing and how important it is to be at the forefront of change in order to be successful and not be left behind.
“The best way to compete against the future is the intense love of what we do and who we do it for,” Collins said. “It’s the thing that gets me and my team up every day. We love what we do. Every morning I get to wake up and say, ‘Let’s do it again today.’”