The opening season art show at Radford University’s Gallery 205, Porterfield Hall features work from a Pulaski resident. At first glance of Ken Smith’s artwork, one sees men in uniforms, World War I soldiers from the European stage frozen in time and place, but this exhibit is less about actual warfare, and more about a war game.
Smith, an assistant professor of art at Radford University, presents “Great War Commander: A Work in Process.” It is an exhibit on the effort that goes into the design of board game graphics. The game is also entitled “Great War Commander” and is Smith’s current work in progress.
“Board game graphics have always been an abiding interest of mine, but surprisingly after doing design work for over thirty years, this has been my first opportunity to actually delve into the field,” said Smith, who teaches graphic design at RU. “I hope that by showcasing the working process of creating graphics for a project as complex as this, the students will have a better idea of what’s actually involved in the ‘simple’ design work they see every day,” he explains.
Smith is designing the “Great War Commander” graphics in tandem with the game’s creator, Pascale Toupy of Bordeaux, France. The two have a shared interest in military board gaming and have corresponded for many years. Toupy approached the Radford professor over a year ago about designing the graphics for his new World War I game, and since then Smith has been involved in research, conceptualizing, and preliminary designs.
The work showcased in this exhibit demonstrates Smith’s process in creating everything from the game’s logo to its cards and counters. From photographic and historic reference, rough sketches, computer-based layout and digital art, each step is documented in this educational exhibit.
Smith hopes the game can be published by August of 2014, in time for the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Great War.
“Great War Commander: A Work in Process” is on display at Gallery 205 from Aug. 26 to Sept. 5 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. An artist reception is being held on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. and is free the RU community and the general public.
For more information, call the RU Art Museum at 831-5754. For more information about Radford University’s art department, please visit radford.edu.art.