Judges announce winners of biorenewables art competition

Derrick Austin, junior in integrated studio arts, created this piece of art. The fourth annual Biorenewables Art Competition was in the lobby of the Biorenewables Research Laboratory on Monday, April 22, 2013.

Eric Debner

On April 22, 2013, at 3 p.m., students began to trickle in through the door of the Biorenewables Research Laboratory for the Fourth Annual Biorenewables Art Competition.

The competition began in 2010 shortly after the completion of building the lab. The Bioeconomy Institute and Integrated Studio Arts of the College of Design collaborated to bring art students and engineering students in biorenewables and sustainable technology together.

Students from both fields met at the beginning of the year at the S’mores Smash-Up event, where engineers displayed a myriad of biorenewable products, which the artists could use as part of their work.

“Our program is all about interdisciplinary research,” said Robert Brown, director of the Bioeconomy Institute. “I saw synergy between the College of Design and Bioeconomy Institute.”

Seventeen design students participated, which resulted in a total of 17 pieces for judges Lou Cathcart and Chris Vance to critique.

“As an artist, I’m really pleased,” Cathcart said. “As a student, I understand why judges and teachers push their students further. There was a little bit to change in each [artist’s work].”

Cathcart praised the art which the competition yielded, and said those pieces show “students are more aware of the environment.”

At 3:30 p.m., Deputy Director of the Bioeconomy Institute Jill Euken read the names of the winners.

David Chadd, sophomore in integrated studio arts, placed third and was awarded $150 for his ceramic container titled “Dust of Daily Life.” Chadd said he had originally created his piece for a ceramics class.

Chadd based his art on a picture he had found, which showed strips of water and fish swimming out of it. He attempted to replicate the art, but it “ended up like branches and leaves.”

However, Chadd used these changes to his advantage and “added brown on the inside like bark and green on the outside like leaves.”

Second place and an award of $250 went to Ashley Hogenson, junior in integrated studio arts, who entered an oil canvas, which portrays a multicolored ear of Indian corn titled “Interwoven.”

“I kind of went off the biorenewable [field],” Hogenson said. “I used the Indian corn to show the combining of different kernels together like it does with the biorenewable field at Iowa State.”

Eric Rolek and Guillermo Thompson, juniors in integrated studio arts, placed first and won a $350 award with a collaborative piece titled “Wood Metamorphosis.” The pair created a sculpture using recycled wood.

The piece features thin strips of charred wood, which curl toward the center in a grasping motion. Thompson said it represents the process of making biochar.

“A tree is destroyed but [its remains] can be used to fertilize new life,” Thompson said.

Naomi Friend, graduate student in Integrated Studio Arts, won best-in-show, and the $750 grand prize for her art, which is titled “Old Land, New Purpose.”

Friend utilized antique photographic techniques called Cyanotype, Van Dyke and watercolor for her work. The art gives off an aura of times past with soft browns and a touch of green.

The artist’s family farm inspired her to create the best-in-show, grand-prize-winning piece for the competition.

“I think a lot about my grandma’s farm,” Friend, a graduate student in Integrated Studio Arts, said. “When I think about my grandma’s farm, which is falling into disrepair, I think about the future of the land.”

Friend’s ties to her grandmother’s farm influenced her thoughts and art. Farm topics and matters regarding energy sustainability in the Midwest peak her interest.

“The farm is an energy source,” Friend said. “When we have farms, the biorenewable technology makes sense as a solution to some of our energy problems.”