Preparations begin for Manifest 2013

By Tatiana Walk-Morris

Senior art & design major Thumy Phan was named the new creative director of Manifest, Columbia’s end-of-the-year urban arts festival.

Every year, Columbia students are encouraged to vote for Manifest’s creative director. This year, Phan was elected from a pool of three finalists whose entries were posted to Facebook for a vote.

Voting was held Nov. 27 to Dec. 8 of last year, according to Nissan Wasfie, director of Student Communications. The winner was determined based on the number of Facebook “likes” a finalist’s

entry received.

“I’m really excited, but I’m really nervous,” Phan said. “I hope everyone likes the designs and can connect with them.”

The creative director position was open to all students, but fewer than 50 students applied, Wasfie said. The initial applications were narrowed down to three by a committee, Wasfie added.

“I can’t speak for the whole committee, but for my personal aesthetic, I think [Phan’s work] was beautiful,” Wasfie said. “I can’t speak for the students, but apparently it suited their aesthetic.”

Phan said her concept for Manifest involves layering different media, including photography and graphic design.

She said her half-Asian and half-European background influenced her design for the festival.

“I’ve always found it interesting how people associate themselves with different labels,” Phan said. “Without all of these different layers, this design would not look the same. It’s kind of like a person. Without all of these different elements to this person, they would not be that person.”

She also named artists David Choy and Charmaine Olivia as influences for the mash-up of different arts media within her work.

“[Choy’s] style is really cool and really different,” Phan said. “He paints on cardboard, wood and anything he can get his hands on.”

Phan said she is currently working on the logo designs and a background for the Manifest website, which will launch soon, Wasfie said. Phan said once the website design is finished, she will create the backgrounds for window displays and Shop Columbia.

In addition to Phan, others have already begun planning for Manifest, many of them students, according to Kari Sommers, assistant dean of Student Life.

The Tic Toc Performing Artists, a group of Columbia students who create various art works on campus during Manifest, will return this year, Sommers said. Many artists in Tic Toc are from the Art & Design and Interdisciplinary Arts programs, she added.

During a Tic Toc performance at a previous Manifest, Drew Matott, an interdisciplinary alumnus, dipped books in egg batter and other substances like breadcrumbs and coffee grounds, deep-fried the books, placed them in a plastic bag and signed the bags, which were given to guests,

Sommers said.

“We want to bring Tic Toc back because it’s an awesome representation of what Columbia can be,” Sommers said. “We don’t know what [the artists] are going to do. We know it’s going to be awesome.”

In addition to the contributions from Tic Toc, Justin Witte, Columbia’s exhibition coordinator, said he worked with faculty in the Arts & Design Department to develop an idea for a “mobile gallery.” The gallery will showcase first-year students’ work and will be housed in a trailer and pulled behind a bike.

“Throughout the day, students will be loading different projects from those first-year art design students, biking around and explaining to different visitors what they’ve created,” Witte said.

Other student contributions will include a vintage Manifest T-shirt contest the week before Manifest, during which students will wear T-shirts from previous festivals, Sommers said, adding that the location and prize for the contest have not yet been determined.

“It’s exciting to see what our students are doing,” Sommers said. “It reminds us of why Columbia

is amazing.”