Student Spotlight: Freshman MFA plans to make a book based on the original Game Boy video games

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First-year MFA student Lauren Coghlan is designing a book based on the original Game Boy and its video games for the upcoming CMYK art exhibit at the School of Art and History. of Art from the University of Iowa.


CMYK – which represents the original four colors used by most ink printers: cyan, magenta, yellow, and “key” or black – is meant to represent the printing process.

It’s also the theme of an upcoming gallery exhibit at the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History. Students can create whatever they decide as long as it’s in these four colors – first-year UI MFA student Lauren Coghlan chose to base her art on video games.

Related: Student Spotlight: BFA Painting Student Explores Themes of “Play” in Upcoming Exhibition

The grad student is creating a book that looks like the original Game Boy.

Coghlan plans to create a book with written and visual portions based on the various video games that could be played on the original Game Boy console, released in 1989. Different sections of the book will represent different games and assigned emotions, which she said . she reframes to illustrate life.

“So, for example, Tetris will be like anxiety,” Coghlan said. Super Mario Land will represent the hustle culture, and stuff like that.

Typically, Coghlan specializes in graphic design, but has experience in a variety of art forms, and his project for the CMYK exhibition is an example.

Coghlan said her grandfather also inspired her when it came to her designs for the CMYK show. His old stereoscope – a portable device that depicts a pair of left-eye and right-eye views of the same scene as a single three-dimensional image – piqued his interest. She said she decided to incorporate the use of three-dimensional images into her Game Boy-inspired books.

“I have fun including three-dimensional stuff on the pedestal, which the books will sit on, so like a 3D*Tetris* kind of a side thing,” Coghlan said.

Coghlan also took the idea of ​​three dimensions and the stereoscope and applied it to today’s world outside of his work for the CMYK show.

“I hope to design my own of these [stereoscope] cards with something like typographic, something graphic design, but make it three-dimensional,” Coghlan said. “Even explore or see if I can build a platform where you could do it with a phone. So just place your phone here rather than making printed cards.

Coghlan said she had to have a personal connection to her art to create it, otherwise she wouldn’t put as much effort into something she feels more connected to.

She said that as a freshman, she didn’t yet have a general theme to explore with her art, but some topics she was interested in included being LGBTQ+, being part of a same-sex marriage, being part of a gay marriage, idea of ​​domesticity, houses, the privileges of having a home, and more.

“Especially since I’m in my freshman year, I don’t need to know that, and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself in that regard either,” Coghlan said.

Coglan said she wants to be a teacher in the future, but would like to have industry experience before becoming a teacher to have the highest potential. She said some of her dream jobs include being a book cover designer for publishing company Penguin Teen or a motion graphics designer for a video game company such as Ubisoft.

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