For Radford University graduate student Ashley Marlowe, a whimsical digital portrait of a classy octopus led to a National Student Silver ADDY - an impressive recognition of her skills.
Marlowe is studying for her MFA in Studio Art with a concentration in graphic design and produced the portrait, “Tentacled Monocled Sir.”
“'Tentacled Monocled Sir' was for an exercise in the digital painting class, but I turned it into a fully-fledged detailed project,” Marlowe said.
After completing the painting, the artist found success in regional and district Student American Advertising Awards contests, so she sent her work on to the national panel. The ADDYs recognize excellence in graphic design. Winners of the three-tier national competition, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation and National Ad 2 organizations, must win at local, regional and then national levels.
National awards were announced on May 31. Marlowe received her silver award in the Elements of Advertising – Visual category.
"What inspired the octopus wearing a top hat and monocle, I couldn't say," Marlowe said. "It was a rainy day, and he sort of just popped into my mind. I did a quick sketch and got started painting, and found that I really enjoyed working on it. So nine hours later, I had a fancy octopus I was pretty proud of."
In addition to the national silver, "Tentacled Monocled Sir" won gold at the regional level and silver at districts.
"I am very happy for Ashley to see her talent, hard work and dedication rewarded on a national stage in one of the design and advertising industry’s most prestigious awards," said Assistant Professor of Graphic Design John O'Connor. "Her ability to access her exceptional creativity and focus it onto the project while using and adapting to whatever technique is required, is what makes Ashley’s work so special. Ashley is one of those students that when you give them a project, you can’t wait to see what they come up with."
After graduation, Marlowe hopes to work as a designer for a company that speaks to her interests and, maybe, one day teach design herself.
"Anything with a fun work environment that allows me to use my imagination and make great designs and illustrations," she said. "I'm also excited about the fact that after a few years of work experience, my MFA gives me the option of also teaching graphic design in a college setting."