Tori Hideshima (COL ’15) did not know much about graphic design until this fall. But after only a semester in Professor L. Collier Hyams’ Intro to Graphic Design class, her artwork will be featured in a Mazda display at the Washington Auto Show, which opens today.
“You’ll walk in and you’ll look down and you’ll see all these cars, and I expect that Tori’s car is going to scream off the floor because it’s so wild and bright,” Hyams said.
The car art Hideshima designed was part of a competition within Hyams’ class and sponsored by Mazda that challenged the Intro to Graphic Design students to create concept art for a five-door Mazda 3. The only requirement was to in some way celebrate the opening of the company’s new auto factory in Salamanca, Mexico.
One hundred designs, five from each student in the class, were submitted with themes drawing inspiration from the Aztecs, Mexican fabric patterns, Day of the Dead and textile art. Hideshima’s winning design was a mesh between modern art and Aztec art.
“It’s beautiful,” Mazda spokeswoman Tamara Mlynarczyk said of Hideshima’s design. “It’s very vibrant and the colors are just very celebratory of the enthusiasm of the people who are now working in that plant.”
Hyams’ class spent weeks working on researching Mexican culture and coming up with drafts designs. The final designs were submitted mid-December and the winners were announced in early January. Mazda’s director of design narrowed the 100 options down to a field of 10, from which employees chose the top three winning designs.
Holly DiClemente (COL ’15) won second place with a design inspired by floral textiles and Olivia Huppman (COL ’15) received third place for her design featuring elements from Day of the Dead.
“We spent a lot of time on this project,” Hideshima said. “We went through looking at a lot of styles and artwork and we did a research project looking at different art cars because BMW has a lot of really famous artists who do art cars every year.”
Hyams’ class has produced a number of design projects including an 18-car series of student art sponsored by BMW and the contest that produced the artwork for the new Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle bus fleet. Although the class has only been in existence for about two years, students have produced hundreds of potential designs for real-life projects, opening the opportunity for future graphic design jobs. Olivia Duff (COL ’16), the artist whose winning art now adorns the exterior of the new GUTS buses, recently received a design job as a result of her artwork, according to Hyams.
Hyams said that the idea for his project-based graphic design course originated with his own experience in college in which he could never take classes that provided applicable experience for the real world.
“I build classes that are basically reflective of the classes I would have wanted to take when I was in school,” Hyams said. “In most cases the schools I went to didn’t have anything that nearly related to the stuff I was interested in.”
Once Hideshima’s car finishes its debut at the auto show, it may make some other stops around the District before the vinyl wrap with the artwork is eventually removed and the car is sold to a dealership.
Until then the car will be displayed at the Washington Auto Show, which runs from today until Feb. 1 and will feature a student day on Monday during which tickets will be discounted to $7 for students.
Hyams said that he has another car project in the works along with a project that will task students with creating designs for phones.
Tamara Mlynarczyk, the spokeswoman for Mazda, said that the company was happy with the partnership with Hyams’ class and hopes for another project in the future.
“I hope that we maybe get to do this again and pick a different theme,” Mlynarczyk said. “It was really interesting getting to see what the different students came up with. And I didn’t even see all of the art.
We just had it whittled down to the top ten. But they were all so creative. It will be interesting to see where the students end up.”
Ultimately, Hyams said that he hopes to facilitate student excitement about art and expose student’s to careers in graphic design.
“We’re in a period of time where students that are interested in art are scared of art because they think they can’t make any contribution to their future career,” Hyams said. “I mean that’s true in certain cases, but I think we’ve been able to redirect that idea a little bit. It certainly makes us proud.”
Hideshima is a perfect example of how Hyams sees students applying the skills they learn in his class to their future careers. She said she plans on taking her new-found graphic design skills to the business world.
In the meantime Hideshima is enjoying the surprise and excitement of being featured at the Washington Auto Show and plans on taking her family to see her car art in person.
“It was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Hideshima said.