Two OSU Institute of Technology students enrolled in the School of Visual Communications took home awards at the annual Graphex50 award ceremony May 9 at Central Library in Downtown Tulsa.
Shellie Waller received honorable mention for three art pieces, second place for her student portfolio and first place for her Branding and Identity submission in the student categories. Mike Tedford won “Best of” in Photography in the student category.
Graphex is presented by the Art Directors Club of Tulsa, a nonprofit professional organization that exists to encourage, cultivate, and inspire the local advertising and design community.
Every year, students and professional artists submit their artwork to be reviewed and hand selected by judges brought to Tulsa from around the nation. The work that is submitted and worthy of Graphex is honored at a one-night exhibit and award ceremony. Winning work is announced during the ceremony and is printed in a winners’ book.
“I entered Graphex this year because I felt it would introduce me to the design community in hopes of opening doors to a good job after graduation,” said Waller. “It was surreal seeing my name and work announced so many times at Graphex.”
This is the 50th year for the regional art show. James McCullough, dean of the School of Visual Communication, said that the program has been involved with Graphex for more than 25 years and that faculty and students are also responsible for the presentation, setup and tear-down of all pieces displayed during the show.
“The overall goal of this show is to raise scholarship funds for students in Oklahoma,” said McCullough. “Of the three portfolios that were awarded this year, Shellie won second place, which includes scholarship money.”
McCullough said that in addition to the scholarship funds, this is a great opportunity for students to gain exposure and network with other students and professional artists.
“The hosts of Graphex are the members of the Art Directors Club of Tulsa,” said Tedford. “These members are individuals I will be working with as I continue my journey. This is a fantastic opportunity to be introduced to the community and connect with those I will need to know for the future.”
Tedford said that he was completely surprised by the amount of competition at Graphex. “I was first excited to just be accepted into Graphex50. I was completely humbled to receive recognition for 'Best of Category' in Photography.”
“I have been blessed with extraordinary instructors who recognized my passion for branding and identity and encouraged me,” said Waller. “Coming in first place for my bakery branding and receiving an honorable mention for two others was thrilling.”
Waller said while she has worked hard her successes are due to her instructors and their dedication to sharing their vast wealth of knowledge. “I was already a winner for simply having known them. The Graphex awards were just icing.”