Over the last year I have collaborated with over 80 colleges and universities in America to create artworks that celebrate each of their cultural heritage and campus architecture. I have teamed up with a specialist manufacturer: Neil Enterprises based in Chicago, who turn my artwork into beautiful product such as natural, canvas tote bags, ceramic and tin mugs, water bottles, homewares and stationery.
The products are a perfect way for students to bring something that they are proud to be part of, into their rooms or take back home. They provide a wonderful opportunity for alumni to connect to their past lives as students and love for their alma mater.
As I’ve created so many artworks from across the nation, I’ve discovered so much about college and university life in America. I have come to see how success at sports plays such an important part in an institution’s identity, such as how ice hockey is a vital part of university life in the northern states, such as in my University of Minnesota artwork.
In a warmer climates, baseball, American football and basketball compete for the student’s support, as in the University of North Carolina artwork, where the university mascot celebrates all three sports that play such a vital role within the university.
I’ve discovered a wealth of architectural heritage within the different establishments, from French Renaissance architecture (Cornell University’s Sage Hall) to the Collegiate Gothic style of Washington University’s Suzzallo Library.
I also love how the natural environment becomes part of the campus as in one of my favourite designs: Umpqua Community College in rural Oregon. Wild deer roam and salmon swim in the river at the foot of the campus.
Drawing so many of America’s respected, higher-educational institutions has been a wonderful learning opportunity to me and a voyage of discovery across this diverse and dynamic nation. I hope one day to pay some of them a visit …. What a great idea for a road trip! :-)