App State Faculty Group Presenting Digital Creations at Turchin Exhibit

How are digital tools being utilized and taught by contemporary artists, designers and architects? How do these tools both facilitate and influence the work being produced in these fields?

A group of App State faculty have come together to answer those questions, and they will be presenting their work at the "Transformations" exhibition at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts from Nov. 4, 2022 - May 6, 2023.

The faculty group, called App DigiFab, come from diverse disciplines, but have a shared passion to explore digital design and fabrication technology. Originally, the group explored the professional and educational use of computer-aided design (CAD), but later expanded to other digital fabrication hardware used for three-dimensional design, visualization, and fabrication.

App DigiFab includes educators from the Departments of Art, Applied Design, and Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment. The connecting link between the participants is the use of digital tools for creative work and problem solving.


Computer generated mandala

While some artists use digital tools as references to make physical objects, Dr. Andres Tellez uses digital tools to design stunning mandalas.


While the tools may be similar (including 3D modeling software, 3D printers, CNC machines, etc.), the application of those tools varies greatly between fields.

This passion for digital fabrication is the driver for the Transformations exhibit. The goal is to create an exhibition which highlights that diversity in both subject matter and formal output. This will range from two-dimensional images to sculptural objects.

Each artist will present one new original work, developed for this exhibition. Each of those works will have an accompanying explanatory piece.

These may include: a poster showing the development and process(es) behind the work, a video showing the inspiration and technology used to make the work, and/or samples of developmental steps in making the work. The goal is to show new experimental work, and to connect the dots from concept to execution for a gallery viewer, illuminating the methods behind the magic.

This group of educators has been working together for the past two years to collectively learn new software and share tools and techniques related to digital fabrication and generative design technology. This will be their first exhibition as a group, and they are looking forward to sharing their work with the world.


Meet the Artists:


Adam Adcock

Adcock is a mixed-media sculptor in his very limited free time. He has a BFA (2002) from ASU, and an MFA (2007) from East Carolina University. He is employed at Appalachian State University as the Laboratory Operations Manager for the Art Dept.

Adcock creates mostly non-representational sculptures because he greatly enjoys the freedom to appeal directly to the viewer's imagination and visual associations. The materials that are most common to his sculptures are steel, wood, cast metals (iron, bronze, aluminum), concrete, fiberglass, clay, stone, as well as other natural found elements.


Dr. Andres Tellez

Tellez (he/him/his), is a designer, researcher, and educator who is passionate about Design and Learning. Tellez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Design, where he coordinates and teaches foundational design courses, where students are introduced to principles and elements of design in 2D and 3D, and where they acquire basic skills for digital representation.

In his research, Tellez has explored topics that lie in the intersection of design and learning, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion in design education, empathy development in industrial design programs, or design thinking as a problem-solving strategy for non-designers. Additionally, his work also intends to bring a design perspective into interdisciplinary initiatives that address complex and systemic issues.


Andrew Bailey Arend

Arend (b. 1987 Anchorage, Alaska) is an artist who explores relationships between body, action, material and ecology. His work generally takes form as sculpture and touches on performance, drawing and photography. Arend has been awarded residencies and fellowships including the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, The Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and the Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts.

Arend exhibits nationally, including solo exhibitions at Lacuna Gallery in Minneapolis, Minn., The International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Anchorage, Alaska, The Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Ark., and Claymakers in Durham, N.C. Arend received his MFA from Alfred University in 2016. He is currently a Lecturer and Lab Operations Assistant Manager for the Art Department at Appalachian State University.


Chelsea Helms

Chelsea Helms, NC RID, NCIDQ, IDEC, IIDA, is a designer, practitioner, and an educator. Helms is a North Carolina Registered Interior Designer, a certified interior designer, an Educator Professional of the International Interior Design Association [IIDA], and a LEED Green Associate.

Helms has a unique and diverse experience in industry, including working in commercial design and construction. Her academic teaching experience has focused on a nontraditional curricular program, the IDEXlab (Integrative Design Experience Laboratory), a multidisciplinary office/studio which designs, builds, and commissions real projects for real clients in the community.


Derek Eggers

Derek serves as an Instructional Design Specialist, through CETLSS supporting faculty in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, University College, College of Business, and the Graduate School, in addition to teaching the Rapid Prototyping course in Applied Design at Appalachian State University.

His experience as an instructional designer, combined with a background in industrial technology and engineering design, provide a diverse skillset to compliment the CETLSS team at Appalachian. Derek earned a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Instruction and Administration within the Instructional Systems Design program at the University of Kentucky, a M.S. in Industrial Technology from Purdue, and a B.S. in Engineering Design Technology from East Tennessee State University.


Frankie Flood

Frankie Flood is a Professor and area head of the Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design area at App State. Flood previously served as Director of the Digital Craft Research Lab at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Flood is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he received his Master of Fine Art degree in Metalsmithing.

The potential that Craft has to serve local and global communities through design and fabrication has been the focus of Flood's recent research as he continues to combine traditional craft practice with digital technology. His recent research regarding 3D printed prosthetics and one-of-a-kind adaptive devices has spread worldwide, and his creation of the Digital Craft Research Lab has created new areas of study for students interested in digital fabrication.


Mark Nystrom

Nystrom is an artist, designer and educator whose work explores visualizations of complex information and includes drawings, installations, projections and screen-based projects. Natural forces and data fuel his artistic practice. Hidden within them are patterns, forms and meaning ripe for extraction, analysis and interpretation.

Nystrom's work has been shown in Austin, Texas, Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y., Philadelphia, Pa., and other cities across the United States. He received a B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Tech and an M.F.A in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he was a two-time recipient of the Award of Excellence for outstanding work by a graduate student. He is currently a Professor of Graphic Design in the Department of Art at App State.


Dr. Nicole Villarreal

Villarreal is a fashion and textile designer, costume historian, researcher, and educator. Villarreal has a Ph.D. in Textile Technology Management from Wilson College of Textiles at NC State University. Her research interest is the convergence of 3D technology and fashion & textile design (both old and new), which allows her to combine her passions for garment construction, costume history, and 3D technology.

Villarreal wrote her dissertation on the use of 3D apparel software simulation for digitizing historic costume. After lecturing at UT Austin and NC State University, Villarreal brought her artistry to App State. She is currently an assistant professor in Apparel Design & Merchandising (Department of Applied Design), where she teaches studio courses in basic and intermediate apparel design, and lectures on twentieth and twenty first century fashion and popular culture.


Richard Elaver

Elaver is a designer and metalsmith working in the overlapping spheres of art, design, and technology. In his work, Elaver integrates the tools of industrial design with the craft of metalsmithing. He develops computer simulations of biological phenomena and uses that as inspiration for his unique creations.

Elaver received his Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin, and his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2006, as a Fulbright Fellow in the Netherlands, he worked with Droog Design. He is named on over 15 design patents and has helped develop products for companies such as Wilson Sports, 3M, and Craftsman. Following several years of professional experience both as a jeweler and industrial designer, he is now an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at App State. Elaver's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at The Museum of Arts and Design, The National Ornamental Metal Museum, and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.


Travis Donovan

Donovan is a North Carolina interdisciplinary artist and educator. Born in Banner Elk, North Carolina, Donovan received a BFA in Sculpture from App State in 2004. Employing a range of techniques from traditional casting and fabrication practices to studies in kinetics and new media, Donovan explores the relationships between objects, exaggeration, and identity. His current research investigates poetics and utilitarian materials of the South and their links to masculinity and class.

A North Carolina Artists Fellow, Donovan has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo shows at The William King Museum of Art and Neil Britton Gallery, and has work in the permanent collection at The Yingge Ceramics Museum in New Taipei City, Taiwan. Donovan is assistant professor of sculpture and area coordinator at App State.

A group of App State faculty will be presenting their work at the “Transformations” exhibition at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts from Nov. 4, 2022 - May 6, 2023.
Published: Oct 31, 2022 8:14am