Student Art on the Move

to commemorate UWEC's centennial, two students design special bus wrap

Hailey Novak, photos by Andrea Paulseth

THAT’S A WRAP. UWEC students Roslyn Cashman (design) and Lukas Carlson (illustration), with professor Ned Gannon (center). And an Eau Claire city bus (background).
THAT’S A WRAP. UWEC students Roslyn Cashman (design) and Lukas Carlson (illustration), with professor Ned Gannon (center). And an Eau Claire city bus (background).

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire turned 100 this year and while some would cringe at celebrating any birthday coming in at triple digits, the celebrations are happening all year for a university that I must say has aged quite well. Helping to keep the party alive are two students who were selected by the university’s Art department to design a wrap for the Eau Claire transit buses that would encapsulate what UWEC has meant to its students and the community over the past 100 years.

Roslyn Cashman, a bachelor of fine arts with an emphasis in graphic design, and Lukas Carlson, whose emphasis is in illustration, were selected to collaborate on this semester-long project by their advising professor Ned Gannon who first approached the students with the proposition back in January.

Depicted on one side of the bus is the first 50 years of the university, and on the other, the next 50, they told me.

“The design is based off comparing the old aspects of the university and present day campus life,” Carlson said.

On one side of the bus you can find Schofield Hall, the very first building constructed on campus, which is illustrated with 1940s vibes and old-school color schemes. Adorning the opposite side of the bus is everything we know UWEC to be today, including the Davies Center, Blugold Marching Band, Upper Campus, and our newly designed campus mall. What really ties the two sides together is the cyclist featured on each, biking away from the viewer with items flying out of his backpack that represent the university as it was then and what we know it to be today.

“The design is meant to represent the different forms of excellence which we tried to do through the objects that are placed throughout the bus design,” said Cashman. “There’s a lot of symbolism,” Carlson added.

The students were chosen by Gannon not only because he knew they were capable of handling a project of this scale, but also because he knew they would be able to respond professionally to criticism. After first selecting Carlson to be part of the project, he then looked for a graphic design student in order to have a well-rounded pair who would be able to compliment one another’s abilities, which is where Cashman found her place.

“I wasn’t sure how it was going to be working with an illustration major; I thought I would have to teach him everything about the graphic design aspect, but Lukas is so talented in realism and the human figure, it ended up working out well for us,” Cashman said.

The design was a combination of brainstormed ideas by the Centennial committee, the sponsor behind the whole project, Erbert and Gerberts, as well as Cashman and Carlson themselves.

Both Carlson and Cashman said that aside from trying to balance the demands of the project around their school schedules, one of the most difficult aspects of the project was trying to appease everyone’s interests during the design process.

“I felt like once we were near the end there was this huge cliff I was walking toward just glooming ahead of me as I waited to see what the public and all of my peers would like about the final outcome,” Cashman said.

Aside from gaining real world experience directly in their fields of study, both students said it’s an amazing feeling to see their work on a such a large scale, public project, and so far, it’s been well received by the community.
Gannon remarked that public art such as the city bus design project is great for integrating art into public spaces and getting the public to see students work.
Be on the lookout for the new celebratory bus wraps to be making their way around the Eau Claire community as the bus starts making it’s routes this fall semester.

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