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Graphic design students combine music, art, and the Faithlife building


Western graphic design students lit up the Faithlife building downtown with colorful, animated music videos on Friday, Nov. 5.

A small crowd gathered on Bay and Prospect streets to watch 12 short clips being projected onto the side of the historic, 7-story building. The videos, which began at 6:30 p.m., played on a continuous loop until 10 p.m.

Technical difficulties caused the music to cease after the third video, leaving the students and faculty members who worked on it distraught.

The Faithlife building illuminated by artwork. // Photo by Isabelle Morrison.

Cheers broke out when the music resumed several minutes later.

The videos were created by students from DESIGN 460, Digital Media Design III, an advanced motion graphic design class for BFA students.  

“The students are animating, doing video, or different things responding to the music, and also trying to learn about large-scale projection,” professor Kasey Murrow said. “It’s all kind of experimental.”

Skylar Aieta, a senior in the design program, was excited to see his work in the exhibition.

“It’s cool because it’s a huge format,” Aieta said. “It’s bigger than a movie screen.”

His video, which opened with a giant red and blue hypnosis wheel, was inspired by  the local band Mhostly Ghostly.

“They have a psychedelic rock sort of vibe,” Aieta said. “It’s just pretty experimental and out there, in the true roots of a psychedelic music video.”

When developing the course, Murrow wanted the second project to be vastly different from the first, the first project being to create an animated infographic for a social cause.

“It appeals to millennials, and that’s a segment of the population that’s really important to our growth and future.”

Dodd Snodgrass

She reached out to an alumni named Bradley Lockhart, who works for Faithlife as a motion graphic designer.

Murrow said Lockhart agreed to let the class project onto the building for the November art walk, which had never been done before.

Murrow and Lockhart wanted to celebrate Bellingham and its music, so they had students choose music from local and regional bands.

“It’s all kind of just experimenting,” Murrow said. “We’re seeing what works and what doesn’t work, and learning from Bradley too.”

Aeita worked on the project over the course of two and a half weeks, which amounted to about 18 hours collectively.

All that time and effort did not go unnoticed by Bellingham community members, like Dodd Snodgrass.

“I think it’s an awesome display of talent at Western Washington University’s  industrial design program,” Snodgrass said. “It’s really cool that Faithlife is working with the university to showcase that talent.”

Snodgrass believes the show was a great contribution to the November art walk.

“It’s great for downtown,” Snodgrass said. “It appeals to millennials, and that’s a segment of the population that’s really important to our growth and future.” Another spectator, Western sophomore Hunter Simpson, also appreciated the display.

“I’m very interested in the design program and I like to see student work,” Simpson said. “I think it’s really interesting that they added music and animation, and it’s a pretty forward-thinking thing for the type of career a designer might get.”

Lockhart is considering projecting videos from Murrow’s class throughout the year, filtering them in and out for different events.


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