Art department ‘loves’ sculpture

A new tradition has arrived at SVSU in the form of the “I Love SVSU” sculpture that now stands in the lawn by the Ryder Center.

The sculpture was designed by one of SVSU’s own, Thomas Canale, a professor in the art department.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Cody Shrader

Art professor Thomas Canale poses with his recently unveiled “I Love SVSU” sculpture, which now stands in the Ryder Center’s lawn. The sculpture was presented after a year of development.

According to Canale, the sculpture grew out of a yearlong process that started when Dean of Students Merry Jo Brandimore met with the art department to brainstorm a new school landmark.

“This idea was straight from Gilbertson [former president of SVSU],” Canale said. “He wanted something to define the school. [One] that people would say ‘Hey, that’s the school that has the whatever you fill in there.”

Faculty recognized the value of the Marshall Fredericks Museum for students, but also knew it wasn’t a place where students went to take photos with their parents after graduation.

According to Canale, it was that type of landmark that Gilbertson was looking for now.

Canale said that he did lots of art and liked the idea but wasn’t sure how his work would function on campus.

He taught a font design course that summer and designed several fonts of his own that he started to apply to signs and posters.

He also showed his students a video of Milton Glazier, one of his personal inspirations, talking about the “I Love New York” advertising.

Canale explained that since that advertisement isn’t a registered icon, people can make knock offs like ‘I Love Cleveland” or ‘I Love Michigan,” etc.

“I was just messing around with some designs in my basement one night and then, I asked myself what would happen if I did an ‘I Love SVSU’ sign?” Canale said.

He started working with several versions of the font he had designed and eventually started showing other art faculty his idea.

“I finally made a photo sketch and sent it directly to Gilbertson,” Canale said. “The next day, he responded with tons of enthusiasm to set up a meeting, and the rest was history.”

The final design was manufactured by a third-part company, but Canale was able to supervise the entire process.

He stressed that assistant vice president of facilities planning and construction  Steve Hocquard, who was in charge of hiring the manufacturer, did a great job maintaining the integrity of the sculpture.

“This experience was great because I got to do a couple things I always stress graphic designers can do,” Canale said. “I got to be an entrepreneur and also show that graphic design is art and can be used for charity.”

In addition to the sculpture itself, Canale choose to set up a scholarship for students in the art department in lieu of payment, effectively passing along his own passions.

“It’s nice to be a permanent part of the community,” Canale said.

Last May during graduation, he also got to see students and parents lining up waiting to get their picture taken in front of the sculpture.

“It solved the problem and Gilbertson was fully supportive of it the whole way,” he said.

But this project wasn’t all serious for Canale; he managed to have some fun with it, too.

“I was really just playing around and having fun,” he said. “I got to do something I was passionate about and see it recognized.”

Canale even mentioned that he and his biking buddies have already taken tons of pictures at the sculpture before their rides.

It’s this combination of having fun and being serious that he thinks is most crucial for students.

“Play a little as you learn and always be learning, even outside the class, because things get connected,” he said. “Everything is just one more tool in the toolbox of your skills.”

This entry was posted on Monday, October 6th, 2014 and is filed under A&E. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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