Spring 2020 University of Northern Colorado graduate Bailee Campbell took first place for artwork she created for a student poster competition organized for the world’s largest computer graphics conference.

Campbell’s award-winning entry (above) focused on the conference theme, “Think Beyond,” and depicts a woman standing out among a “melancholy” crowd glued to their cellphones, a sign of the times.

“Though phones can be a handy and fun tool, they create so many issues that render us from being truly happy at times,” she wrote in her artist’s statement that accompanied the submission. “We become robots to these miniature computers and the power that they hold.”

Campbell created the poster in Professor Anna Ursyn’s ART 237 Introduction to Digital Media class. She said she began with a series of sketches before using Photoshop to digitize her favorite concept. For the main character, she said: “I wanted this woman to be rejoicing in a sense, and I didn’t want her to fit the typical constructs of society. I hoped to create a figure that represented pure joy and self-love.”

Each year, students in Ursyn’s classes submit their work for the annual International Conference on Computer Graphics and International Techniques organized by ACM SIGGRAPH. For this year’s theme, Ursyn challenged students to think about what they would like to change in the world. They brainstormed ideas as a class and offered peer critiques before finalizing and submitting their posters. It’s an opportunity to bring the industry into the classroom, which is something Ursyn emphasizes to help prepare students for their careers.

“I like the positive energy, especially during the covid-19 time when everyone is upset, it provokes everyone to smile,” Ursyn said of the poster by Campbell, whom she describes as versatile, energetic, and a fantastic student.

An eight-member panel of artists from across the globe juried the contest. For winning, Campbell receives free access to the conference (virtual this year), a special diploma, and her art will be featured permanently on the ACM SIGGRAPH website.

This is the second time a UNC student has won the annual competition. In 2015 Lindsey Foy in the Computer Graphics area of concentration won for the theme, “Xroads of Discovery.”

Read Campbell’s Artist Statement and the rest of UNC’s article HERE.