A year ago, I dropped by at Graphic Design Grad Shows in Art Center and I couldn't help but think what amazing set-ups all the grads had. Each wall had its own intricate design, contrasting one designer from other. The set-up really represents each designer's personality. Most motion designer chose to go for black, simpler layout with a giant 40-something inch TV showing reels to be the main exhibit of the show. Brand and print-focused graphic designers focus on the table filled with flawless collaterals and books. Et cetera.
Setting grad shows aren't like setting up scholarship reviews, where you are given a strictly limited amount of space to display your work. You don't have a few hours to set it up. The department will give you 3 days 2 nights to set it up. When scholarship reviews are accessible only for faculty, grad shows would be an all-out show for you. Your final thesis. Future employers, people from the industry, Kyle Cooper, your family, relatives, and friends not from the industry, would come pouring to celebrate the end of your Art Center journey. Realizing how time-consuming and painstaking the process, grad show installation is one thing that I feared the most approaching graduation. I barely feared about my other classes. My thoughts have lingered to grad show installation starting Week 12.
A bit about the process of my grad show installation. I had to say I was blessed to have generous friends who came down to help me set up. The first part of the process was quite a mixture of fun, painful, and unexpectedly frustrating. The fun part was when my friends and I rented Uhaul and we went on a mini road trip around LA renting ladders and picking up podiums and tables (the four of us being squeezed in the truck's passenger seats). The painful part came in the latter. Likely my other friends, I started out with posters. When I was about to place the hanging sticks about 10 foot off the floor, my acrophobia kicked in: I froze on the top of the ladder, unable to move. That was when I realized I wouldn't be able to hang posters on my own. I blamed it on my vertically-challenged figure and acrophobia (that I didn't realize having until that very day). At that point, I asked around for help but my friends were too busy setting up their posters. By the time the clock struck 3am, the Stage where we were setting up, was nearly empty. I went home sad, frustrated, and panic. I had about twenty-four hours before the wall was due to be finished, and my very own wall was still barely there.
The next day, I switched my strategy: Instead of starting from the posters, I decided to start from setting up the collaterals on the table first as well as doing things that didn't required standing 10 foot off the floor. I installed my name plate on the foamcore and set the collaterals on the table compartments. My friends Jess and Kei as well as Carolyn came in the evening and did their magic hanging my posters within 30 minutes. They also helped me reorganize the collaterals on the table. I was done on time and glad that I could still go home to spend time cleaning up the room before my parents came the next day.