International exposure for UP Information Design students

Posted on March 19, 2009

During the month of February the pan-African music channel randomly featured a series of animated sequences created by local up-and-coming designers and film makers. UP Information Design students, in collaboration with international design consortium Design Is A Good Idea (DIAGI), were the first group to have their work shown on MTV Base.

50 Students from the UP Department of Visual Arts were given just two weeks to produce 15 to 60 second animation sequences or ‘art-breaks’, under the supervision of Senior Creative Director at Clearwater and DIAGI’s local design officer, Nicci du Toit. 14 Students were then chosen to work at DIAGI/Clearwater to add the finishing touches to their projects, after which only one project was to be chosen to be broadcast.

However, the designs were of such high quality, that one spot simply did not seem enough. “Originally, we were expecting to choose a single spot to air on MTV base, but the results were so outstanding that we eventually decided on 14 spots. From sound and music design to the crafting of every frame, we were awestruck at the outcome - especially given the tight deadlines and the students’ level of experience,” said du Toit, a former UP Visual Arts student herself. And, considering the excellent quality of work being done by the UP students, it is of no surprise that this is the second year that a project of such a nature was done. In 2007 students also completed a project for M-Net – which was aired last year.

This year’s project continues to gain exposure, and the spots are now being featured on MTV internationally. The spots can be viewed on the link under MTV Base music videos, ‘Artworks’, and a new spot is featured every week. It has been mentioned on UJFM and YFM, and in March the spots will feature in an article in the Magazine One Small Seed. One student who took part in this year’s project, Ismail Chibgwe, was also rewarded for his personal efforts, by being offered a month’s internship with the MTV Base Production team during the June/July summer holidays.

Professor Jeanne van Eeden, head of the Department of Visual Arts, says she is very proud of the students. “It was a great achievement for them. Their hard work gave international exposure to the Visual Arts Department, and the University of Pretoria as a whole,” she says. UP’s Visual Arts Department is the largest in the country, and offers a multidisciplinary environment within which students can explore their creativity and stretch their intellectual boundaries.

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