BFA Thesis progress blog/tumblr/whatever

DUE each class period; checks will be made throughout the semester

Each student will create an online blog that will be the repository of ideas, research, process, and progress for the BFA Thesis artwork. This is a common practice at many universities.

This blog must be shared with both professors and their BFA Exhibition Advisor (selected by the student). At the end of each class, students will make a new post indicating what they have accomplished. In addition, their process schedule will be contained on a calendar embedded in the blog. This will be a valuable tool in ensuring the students stay on track with their schedule to complete the work in one semester. But ideally, the blog should be much more than a calendar. It should be the equivalent of your sketchbook, a place where we can see how your concepts and aesthetic have evolved through the semester, a depository for your ideas. The faculty are committed to communicating via the blog, and other students are encouraged to contribute to your blog as well.

Project 1:

DUE AUGUST 29; Instructor will ask to see these each class period

Keep a notebook collecting all your thoughts and questions.

This notebook will become the process by which you creatively develop your concept for your BFA exhibition work.

This assignment is designed to encourage you to look around the world around you for inspiration, observation, and ideas. You will be given a pocket-sized notebook and pencil that you will carry with you everywhere for TEN DAYS. During these ten days -- with the reminder right in front of you -- you will jot down things you notice, your thoughts, doodle interesting pix, etc. We hope you will be so inspired by the project that you’ll keep on doing it (and the instructors are doing it too!) In this technologically savvy age, why should we carry a pocket notebook, you might ask? Well, here’s some reasons why (modified from an industry leader, Keller INK)

1. It Will Make You Smarter
It’s been proven in several studies that the physical act of writing increases students’ learning. Surprisingly, muscles in the fingers give the brain stronger feedback when writing than typing, which helps with retention. It engages different brain circuits than typing. Similarly, it’s been reported that handwriting aids in memory. For example, if you write a list and then lose it, you are more likely to remember the items on the list than if you had simply read or typed them.

2. It Will Make You More Purposeful
Notebooks allow you to organize your thoughts, begin meetings with a purpose, be an active listener during them and revisit your notes at any time.This process will help you zero in on your objectives and your action items.

3. It Will Make You More Creative
Using a pen and paper is not restrictive in any way. You can sketch, write, circle, doodle and question anything you like at any given moment. You might say using a notebook actually combats creative blocks. It even promotes total left-field creation, which is sometimes the most successful. Plus, it’s a medium that everyone knows and can interact with that doesn’t seem too finalized, which begs for feedback and collaboration.

Example Questions: Do NOT use questions to which there are direct answers such as "How do Magnets Work?"

Project 2: Introduce your work and strengths

DUE August 22; presentations will be from Aug 22 to 27

Take 10 minutes to walk us through your strongest work over the past 3 years. Please have this presentation practiced and set up before class begins.

As professors of this class, we aim to mentor each student to create the best possible body of work for the BFA exhibition. This presentation is your moment to show us that you are capable of creating a BFA thesis work in your preferred medium. Bring in work which highlights your technical and conceptual strengths. Bring in work which shows what concepts and ideas you are passionate about. Only include work that is pertinent to what you want to do. If you are unsure, bring in your best work and the class will help you figure out some things to try.

Write a VERY short summary of where you are artistically. By this I mean what area(s) of digital arts do you consider your primary medium? What do you make? Do you have a style? Do you tend to work on specific themes or types of ideas? What is distinctive about your work? This is not a summary about professional goals; rather this is about your ART.

Find work that in some way is connected to yours, whether it is style, type, content, or inspiration. Mention this work in your summary and if you wish, include pictures.

This essay MUST be typed up and posted to your progress blog.

Project 3: The Contract

DUE SEPTEMBER 5; posted to your blog before class begins

As explained in class, you will be working each class period (and outside of class) on a body of work for the BFA exhibition. You will have biweekly check-points in some format (see calendar online). This contract will explicitly spell out what you will be working on during and outside of class. I will check your progress against this contract, which we will adjust depending on our conversations.

You contract must contain FOUR PARAGRAPHS which specify:
1. What you will work on (type/genre of digital art). Is it one piece, a series, or several works?
2. What idea/concept drives your project? What theme will the project address? If this is time-based, it should include a synopsis of the piece. Otherwise, it should be a concept statement
3. Formal aesthetics and how they support the concept.
4. What final format it will take (medium & size), that discusses specifically how it will be displayed in the gallery (recall that each student gets about 12’ of linear wall space or 12 square feet of floor space).

In addition, you must submit:
5. A DIAGRAM (professionally drawn in Photoshop digitally OR neatly drawn by hand and scanned in) that shows the display in the gallery.(rough sketches will be rejected).
6. A list of equipment that you will need for both PRODUCTION (i.e. cameras, scanners, etc.) as well as for final DISPLAY in the BFA Thesis Exhibition gallery. We need this so we can begin working on those needs immediately.
7. A Production Calendar that works backward from the final due date to today, that breaks down every step of the production process. If it is imaging, include time for printing and framing. If it is installation, include time to build the 3D elements and a test set-up. Time-based should include all aspects from storyboard/script through render and output. This is a SPECIFIC set of weekly goals. YOU MUST INCLUDE A LIST OF DATES WITH GOALS that can be put in your google calendar on your blog.

This contract MUST be posted to your progress blog before class begins.

I will briefly meet with each of you on September 5th and suggest revisions if necessary. You should come to that class prepared to start your project.

Project 4: Defense of your thesis

DUE OCTOBER 1; presentations will be on Oct 1 and Oct 3

A thesis defense is a formal presentation of both your conceptual ideas and  4-weeks of progress on your body of work leading to the BFA thesis exhibition. You will be given 10 minutes to explain your concept through visuals. Afterwards there will be a rigorous question and answer session with the DA faculty. You are required to be articulate as you discuss your idea. You will receive a GRADE based on the average of the participating faculty's grades. Upon passing the defense, you will continue to progress on your work integrating appropriate faculty comments. The defense also offers an opportunity to better choose your official BFA Thesis Advisor, as you will hear comments from all DA faculty.

How to Pass a Thesis Defense: Example Grade Sheet:
4180 Midterm Grade Sheet (PDF)

Defense Schedule
Meet in room 202 - arrive 10-minutes prior to your scheduled time.
MONDAY, October 1st - Groups A, B, part C
  1. 8-8:20am Chris Dike
  2. 8:20-8:40am Jose Borges
  3. 8:40-9am Megan Cannon
  4. 9-9:20am David Short
  5. 9:20-9:40am Kristin Steusloff
  6. 9:40-10am Leah Troller
  7. 10-10:20am Kadeisha Turner
  8. 10:20-10:40am Myles Garlick
  9. 10:40-11am Amanda Revell
  10. 11-11:20am Stephen Zenner
  11. 11:20-11:40am Kris Ashburn
  12. 11:40am - 12pm Scott McPherson
  13. 12-12:20pm Luke Sommer
  14. 12:20-12:40pm Michael Fox
  15. 12:40-1pm Darrlysha Denton-Bell
  16. 1-1:20pm Allegra Lane
WEDNESDAY, October 3rd - Groups C & D
  1. 9:40-10am Aimee Szabelski
  2. 10-10:20am Chelsea Workman
  3. 10:20-10:40am Cory Brown
  4. 10:40-11am Trevor Stabile
  5. 11-11:20am Anne May
  6. 11:20-11:40am Nick Dariano
  7. 11:40am-12pm Stephanie Luettke
  8. 12-12:20pm Jeff Smith
  9. 12:20-12:40pm Jacob Pocock
  10. 12:40-1pm Dani Dikeman
  11. 1-1:20pm Erin Niese

Artist Statement

ARTIST STATEMENT:  DUE Monday, December 3rd (first draft)
Now that you have nearly completed your body of artwork for the BFA Senior Thesis Exhibition, you need to begin writing the ARTIST STATEMENT for that body of work.

In ARTC 4090, you have already discussed the goals and formats of the artist statement and did a reading with examples. If you want to review this, you can find the reading again HERE


This statement must specifically address the body of work you are creating in this class. It is different than the general artist statement you are making in 4090. This statement will be hung in the gallery next to your artwork in the BFA Exhibition!

There are many different approaches you can take to HOW you write the statement and what you choose to INCLUDE in the statement. Examples of what you may want to include / think about are:
  • Paragraphs about your underlying concept or THEME of this work
  • Your artistic style (as seen in this body of work)
  • Your inspirations or motivations (for the body of work)
  • Info about your PROCESS (as relevant to this work)
  • The medium you've selected - why you chose it and how you use it (if relevant to concept)
  • Quotes from research that support your idea
  • Consider your audience when writing it (it is not a CG community)
  • Look at page 17 of the reading for more specific examples, available online HERE

Turn in a hard copy to me and put a digital copy in the class folder.


Revised, updated FINAL version due based on instructor feedback on first draft.
Your BFA Advisor must have SIGNED OFF ON and APPROVED your Artist Statement by the Final Exam on December 13th at 8:30am

Final Presentation of your Artwork

DUE DECEMBER 3; presentations will go from Dec 3 to 5

PART I: Final Artwork Presentations
Prepare and present a final body of your artwork. This should fit into the same format as the 10 minute thesis defense.

PART II: Artist Statement
Turn in an artist statement that SPECIFICALLY addresses this body of work. This statement will go along with your work in the gallery. It should be concise and about one paragraph long. An artist statement for a body of work should walk us through the visuals we are seeing. We will discuss this further in class.
This MUST be printed off and turned in person. A copy should also be posted to your blog

Completed Work

DUE DECEMBER 13; turn in during Finals

PART I: Finished Work
Your work must be turned into the instructor in it's finalized form, ready for the BFA senior show in the spring.

PART II: Revised Artist Statement
All changes noted on your artist statement must be remedied and a new copy printed out.

PART III: BFA Exhibition Form

Each student MUST turn in a filled out exhibition form, found [HERE].
Additional information on the exhibit can be found [HERE].