Hello all! My name is Ollie Caldwell, and I am a current senior earning my BFA degree in graphic design here at Indiana University. If you are unfamiliar with what a BFA, or Bachelor in Fine Arts, degree is, it is a more intense and prestigious degree that is concentrated on a particular area in visual arts: mine being graphic design. This degree requires you to take 3 semesters of seminar in addition to your degree requirements. BFA students at IU must also complete a final semester working on a thesis project to be installed and exhibited in an art gallery, which is what I just recently completed.
A student’s thesis project can be a topic of their choosing and is used to showcase all that they have learned in the BFA Seminar. The thesis topics chosen are typically focused on a subject of passion or curiosity that the student has a strong connection to. For example, my thesis topic revolves around dining out as an individual with food allergies. I myself deal with the daily trials and tribulations that come with having food allergies, and I wanted to help others like me.
Pictured: Ollie Caldwell’s Graphic Design BFA Thesis Project
As mentioned before, I recently completed my thesis project, which is currently being exhibited through the Grunwald Gallery of Art at IU. However, I, as well as many other BFA and MFA students, had to showcase my work in an unorthodox and challenging way due to the current situation concerning the nation-wide quarantine. With this happening, students all over the country have had to transition their projects from physical exhibition spaces to a virtual platform. Art galleries, workspaces, and university buildings closed very suddenly, leaving students with limited resources to complete and display their work. With these obstacles in mind, students were challenged to findways to problem-solve and work within unforeseen limitations. For me specifically, I learned how to properly photograph my work and was able to improve my photography and photoshop skills through this process.
Although it didn’t go the way I had hoped and/or planned for, I am still extremely proud of myself and others for taking this curveball and making the best out of this unfortunate situation. I also have great admiration for the Grunwald Gallery staff for doing everything in their power to make sure that our work would still be displayed and advertised in some way, shape, or form.
To check out and learn more about IU’s BFA and MFA students’ thesis work. please visit the Grunwald Gallery’s virtual exhibition page through their website at: https://soaad.indiana.edu/exhibitions/grunwald-gallery/online-exhibitions/mfa-bfa-thesis/index.html