Exit Lines, the MFA in Illustration Visual Thesis Exhibition, on view through July 3

You may be under the impression that illustration is a two-dimensional endeavor, limited to drawings on paper. You’d be wrong, and the proof is in the exhibition Exit Lines, on display at The Museum at FIT’s Gallery FIT through July 3, where some of the work of nine members of the graduating class in FIT’s Master of Fine Arts in Illustration program almost jumps off the walls. The students in this program develop their studio practice in drawing, painting, and digital media—and the integration of all three—so that their art often moves into three dimensions, taking illustration to a whole new level.

Juliet Ali, Youkyung Choi, Scott Fowler, Shunyoung Kim, Lynsey Hirth, Felipe Muhr, Bruno Nadalin, Jorge Saldana, and Han Yuan Yu have filled the Gallery FIT with works that move and emerge from the walls, drawing the viewer into the worlds they depict. Visitors can explore Times Square in 3D with Fowler’s colorful installation. The private homes and studios of artists are open to the public with Hirth’s mini dioramas. Travel on an animated journey through the Museum of Natural History with Yu, and groove to rock classics and their interpretations with Saldana.

Exit Lines is described as “an ending to a beginning. Like the exit line spoken by an actor as he leaves the stage, this exhibition represents the close of our own performance at FIT, and the start of a new act.”

For the first time this year, the students developed arts programming in conjunction with the exhibition. In partnership with the Society of Illustrators and the High School of Art and Design, they led a full-day multimedia workshop on Saturday, June 13, during which each illustrator guided the high school students as they created a 3D work involving a variety of mediums and themes.

The Illustration Master of Fine Arts is a three-year, ten-semester program designed for individuals with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and three to five years of industry-related professional experience. The evening and weekend program accommodates those who are working full time. Students in the program graduate prepared to be innovative visual communicators, while also learning the entrepreneurial approach that professional illustrators need.

Through a focus on studio practice, along with classes on creative writing and research, students gain a broad perspective on the illustrator’s role across different media by working in a range of areas, such as animation, concept art, children’s books, graphic novels, murals, and reportage. The program culminates in an annual visual thesis exhibition, such as the one currently on view at Gallery FIT.

The comprehensive curriculum of the Illustration MFA provides opportunities for students to advance their creative voices and refine their drawing, painting, and digital design skills. All aspects of the illustration field are explored, including business practices and self-promotion strategies that address the specific concerns of the illustrator as entrepreneur. Classes are conducted by illustration luminaries, who are experts in their fields and offer students firsthand insight into the challenges of working as professional illustrators.


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