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UApresents Competition Winner Named
UA School of Art students have been involved in a design competition this semester, with the winning design set to represent the arts organization's 2013-14 season.
The moment Jo Alenson called his name, William Aguayo broke out into an exuberant smile, visibly shaken and surprised.
The University of Arizona studio art student had just learned that the illustration he spent much of the semester designing and refining was chosen by committee to represent the 2013-14 UApresents season.
"There are so many other great illustrators. When I heard my name called, I was so very pleasantly surprised," said Aguayo, a UA visual communications senior. "I know it will be a great portfolio piece for me, and I am just happy that the committee loved it in the way that they did."
Shane Csontos-Popko, another senior in the UA program, was named a runner-up for his design. Both students will receive a stipend from the UA Office of the Provost.
Aguayo's design will be kept secret until April, when it will be formally unveiled. Also, each of the students in the class received free tickets to attend a UApresents show during the current season.
After the initial judging, the pool was narrowed to eight finalists.
"That’s when the hard part began,” said Chuck Tennes, executive director of UApresents.
“We would have been proud to use any of the eight contenders," Tennes said. "The final selection was based not just on artistic merit, but on its adaptability for a variety of uses, and its ability to communicate the style and quality of the upcoming season.”
In addition to being used for UApresents marketing materials, Aguayo's design may be produced as posters for sale – which would be the first time UApresents would render a student's work in such a way.
"It is just perfectly executed, and we felt it would do the best job for us in the next year," said Alenson, the marketing director for UApresents who announced the winners in the School of Art class.
Aguayo was drawn to illustrations and drawing as a child but was considering the study of physical therapy. He changed his mind while attending a charter school with an arts emphasis, having taken a graphic design course in Tempe, Ariz.
"I just stumbled upon it. I noticed I could do the work very quickly," he said.
In producing the design for UApresents, Aguayo drew inspiration from a class assignment in which UA art professor Jackson Boelts asked students to illustrate a scene from a story set in the 1950s.
"I was experimenting with a lot of illustrative styles, but this one seemed lively and fun," he said, adding that he spent eight hours on the first rendition, working solely in Adobe Illustrator. For the first illustration alone, Aguayo revised the design 10 times, playing with the colors and composition.
All along, he remained mindful of the desires of UApresents – that students should draw on their artistic expertise and understanding of the organization to produce an illustration that would clearly encapsulate the mission of UApresents.
"I try to make the client's planned visions come to life. It's a mental puzzle for me," Aguayo said, adding that the greatest feeling of gratitude comes from successfully rendering designs that meet the needs of his clients.
"It can be devastating when you are surrounded by so much talent and you know that only one person is going to be chosen," he said, adding that he has had numerous other clients through his studies at the UA School of Art. "I'm just really happy. It's an amazing feeling."