On the big screen

Students' digital animation showcased at "Supernova" festival

September 27, 2016
Onlookers watch digital animation at “Supernova”

On the last weekend of September, Denver’s first major outdoor festival of digital animation and art, “Supernova,” landed in CU Denver’s backyard at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

College of Arts & Media (CAM) students gravitated to the festival to both view the works of their peers and to learn from world-renowned digital art jurors and guest artists. Katey Marquette and Robert Fikes IV were among the CAM students whose work was showcased on the large screens downtown.

“As a student and a creator, it’s so inspiring to see student work up on the big screen,” said Marquette. “Before joining the digital design program at CU Denver, I never thought I’d be pursuing something that I’m this passionate about.”

CAM Dean Laurence Kaptain pointed out that this was just one of many opportunities for students at CU Denver. “The College of Arts & Media is a national leader in digital design and 3D animation with very talented faculty who attract students from across the nation and around the world,” Kaptain said. “These students come to CU Denver to advance their skills in these cutting-edge, artistic areas.”


The work of CU Denver student Robert Fikes IV at “Supernova”
CAM faculty member Travis Vermilye and Robert Fikes IV

A great networking opportunity

Part of CAM’s attraction is the opportunity to network with industry leaders, such as guest artist Claudia Maté, who delivered an engaging and exclusive master class session for visual arts students as part of the “Supernova” festival. More than 15 students gathered into a studio to listen to Maté speak about her work co-curating an ongoing audiovisual group show with Carlos Sáez. Afterward, the artist spent time answering questions and connecting with the students.

This engagement is what allows students to learn, explore and create. And according to presenter/CAM student Robert Fikes IV, these experiences have enabled him to expand his network and begin to develop a successful career. “Experiences like Supernova give me the opportunity to start getting my name out in the world,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of having my work show on a large screen and have hundreds of people enjoy it.”

Though Supernova may have come and gone, there are no shortages of ongoing opportunities for CAM students. The college will welcome a pair of Disney animators to campus later this semester, and plays host to the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) National Conference in November. The conference will feature renowned speakers and sessions about how the arts and research (science, technology and engineering) intersect and can be used to solve global issues.

From out-of-this-world animation to applied solutions, CAM continues to be the place where art comes to evolve through engaging instruction. “The teachers really cultivate a competitive, challenging environment to help us continue to grow every day, Marquette said. “Events like Supernova are just a small part of that.”

Guest Contributor:  Tanida Ruampant, Assistant Dean, Outreach and Engagement, College of Arts & Media