Visual arts students receive awards, recognition

Rebecca Cross, Managing Editor

It may not be the season for the Olympic games, but two FMU visual arts majors won gold and silver in the student section of the 2015 American Advertising Awards competition.

Both students entered their advertisements for hypothetical products in the Poster Campaign category at the local level of the competition.

The two visual arts majors received their awards on Saturday, Feb. 7 at a gala at the Revolutions Nightclub at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Mark Keller won a Gold ADDY and received a Student Judges Choice Award for “Rat Crunch,” an advertisement for rat poison. Senior Cole Fenters won a Silver ADDY for “Free the Sound,” an advertisement for headphones and stereo systems.

Professor of visual arts Gregory Fry notified his students of the opportunity to enter the American Advertising Awards, which he said is a competitive contest.

The American Advertising Awards has a goal to “recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising” (American Advertising Awards Web Page).

“Students who are aggressive will enter the contest,” Fry said. “[Keller and Fenters] are passionate about the profession and their work. [Winning] shows their skill level and gives them something that can go on their résumé and in theory help them get a job.”

Students who win a Gold ADDY at the local level will go on to compete at the regional level. Depending on how students place in regionals, they can compete nationally. Since Keller won a Gold ADDY for “Rat Crunch” at the local level, “Rat Crunch” will be entered in the regional American Advertising Awards competition.

“The poster campaign was designed as a sadistic portray of rat poison packaging which hinted at subtle queues that it would be used to murder a family member,” Keller said. “And, for obvious reasons, there was a woman scantily clad in lingerie. Sex sells.”

Fenters said that his inspiration for “Free the Sound” came from combining his love of music with a design style that commemorated his Native American ancestry.

“The posters were a clash from my love of nature and my love of technology,” Fenters said. “They look like a tribal design but are advertising new technology.”

There were three judges at the local level of the competition: Associate Creative Director at SapientNitro Timothy Cory; Chief Creative Officer, founder and partner at MLB Creative Beth Mock LeBlanc; and Senior Vice President and group creative partner at the Buntin Group Tom Cocke.

FMU students have been entering the American Advertising Awards competition since 2007. This year five FMU students entered.

“Our students can be competitive,” Fry said. “I think it’s neat that students from FMU get involved in these opportunities. It says a lot about our students.”

Visual art students who graduate in May will have an opportunity to showcase their work at the spring Visual Art Exhibition. The first exhibition will open on March 31 and the second will open on April 21. Both exhibitions will be in the Hyman Fine Arts Center Gallery.