Fifth annual INK Fest gives student, alumni artists a chance to share their creations

By Amina Sergazina, Senior Reporter

Bright colors, pottery, jewelry, paintings: For two days, over 90 student and alumni artists transformed the spacious fifth floor of the Student Center into an artist alley for the annual Illustration and Krafts Fest.

INK Fest is run by the Illustration Student Group. Ab Rieve, vice president of ISG, has been a part of this student organization for four years and said it took them a whole year to prepare; when one INK Fest ends, they’ve already begun planning the next.

“I love seeing everybody’s art,” said Rieve, a senior illustration and theater design and technology student. “I get so excited to see how people display it, what they choose to sell, the different types of merch they choose. That’s my favorite part.”

Rieve said INK Fest is the first time many students have set a booth, which gives them experience for future conventions.

A month prior to INK Fest, ISG held informational meetings about the process.

INK Fest is “like a soft start for a lot of students who are doing something like this for the first time,” Rieve said. “Getting used to interacting with customers, how to price their art, what sells well and what doesn’t. It’s kind of a safer space to do that.”

Nathan Raymond, a senior illustration major who goes by the artist name 27 Rats, filled his booth with fan art and stickers dedicated to animations and comics like Spider-Man. He said this year’s location of INK Fest is an improvement from last year, as the previous fest was hosted on the third floor of Student Center and many people were confused about the layout.

“We were just tucked away in these weird corners and people didn’t even know there were people tabling there, just because it was kind of off the path,” Raymond said. “It was really weird, so it’s nice to have this space.”

Rieve said transactions for INK Fest are processed through ShopColumbia because most emerging artists do not yet have a business account to collect payments; the school takes 10% from students and 15% from alumni artists.

Daniela Castro, a senior fine arts student, is a mixed-media artist. Her booth was full of pottery, paintings, postcards and tote bags for her second time at INK Fest.

ISG was well organized, Castro said. “Their emails helped a lot, and especially their meetings. I went to their meetings and took notes, so having that much information helped for sure.”

Castro said she started preparing for the INK Fest three months in advance.

“I feel more confident this year,” Castro said. “Last year was my first time so I had no idea what was going on, but this year, I’m more comfortable and I know what I’m doing. I feel more organized, I feel good. It’s going pretty well.”