The Dean's Awards for Excellence have been an annual occurrence for the past 15 years at the WVU School of Medicine. Faculty members from the school are nominated by their peers to receive an award based upon their merits and is considered one of the highest levels of recognition that a colleague can receive. Since the School of Medicine is such a broad realm the awards reflect this complexity by being divided up into six categories: Service to the School, Service to the Community, Research, Clinical Service, and Education.
"Recipients demonstrate excellence in a specified area for an extended period of time. They are recognized by others for their influence—beyond that of their immediate department—and exemplify the School's values of integrity, respect, love, creativity, courage, faith, humility and trust." – School of Medicine Dean's Awards for Excellence
The main focus of this award is the historic pylon image which is prominently depicted on the award plaque. Up until this year it had been an artist pencil drawing of the pylons in their native outdoor dwelling with trees in the background. In 2007 the expansion of the Health Sciences Learning Center took place around the marble pylons which were now engulfed within the structure. This was a significant change from the for the land mark which had been outside of the building since the 1960's.
Seeing the image on the award plaque still portrayed the outdoor pylons, Dean Ross wanted to update the imagery with a more accurate portrayal of the pylons. I was assigned the project after the successful completion of previous tasks, which included the complete redesign of the School of Medicine, the Dean's Office E-News publication, and the completion of an electronic deliverable for the Board of Governor's visit.
Working closely with the Dean's office, the working image of the pylons took on many forms finally resulting in a unique finished iteration that was adopted by the client. The client's view was of having the pylons inside the Health Sciences Learning Commons however this space was too cluttered and he wanted the focus to be on the subject itself. Another thought was to add some nature elements to be representative of the natural beauty of West Virginia itself.
This final form was derived from a three-quarter rendering of the pylons with an oval shaped crop / fade around the base. I took this as a foundation to begin and recreated the tiled floor of the commons area through cloning the texture from the existing tile and applying grout lines that faded to a vanishing point off to the right of the view. This created depth to match the receding pylons. With the floor being recreated I took an existing picture of the learning center commons and began to clone, splice, and rearrange sections to create an atrium of sorts to house the pylons. I removed a lot of the walls and doorway, favoring more windows to illustrate a scenic forest background. This brought the sense of nature back into the picture and seemed to soften the ridged foreground.
At this point the windows didn't resemble glass and the pylons seemed disjoint from the nature backdrop. To this end I recreated the pylon shadows across the floor and created a light blanket of diffuse sunlight across the tiled floor to push the object further into the middle ground. The windows benefitted from some glare to represent the refraction of exterior light at varying angles of inclination.
The finished project was presented to the Dean with several mockups and one was chosen to represent the future imagery for the awards. The finished product was showcased during the 2014 Dean's Awards for Excellence ceremony at the WVU Alumni Center.
During the Dean's Awards for Excellence project the working proofs transformed by a wide degree as I worked closely with the client. I thought It might be interesting to show some of the iterative variations that the project took as I progressed from simple edits to the existing artist rendering to the totally new fresh look.
The Dean was very happy with the results of the collaborative effort and I shared some enjoyment knowing I left behind an artistic footprint with the School of Medicine that will be utilized for years to come. If you would like read further about the event itself, I encourage you to view the full news release on WVUH Healthcare or the feature story on the School of Medicine website.