By Trellawny Graham
The silence between the image arts school and the graphic communications management (GCM) program at Ryerson broke with an exuberant bang.
On Jan. 25, students held a fundraiser at the Lava Lounge at 507 College St. in support of Function, a 112-page publication that will contain the work of image arts students. The book will be put together by students from GCM.
“These two departments haven’t spoken in quite a while and there was this ideal situation,” says Barrett Brownlee, an image arts student and art director for Function. “It only makes sense we’d work together.”
GCM student and production manager Aileen McMillan says the collaboration is functioning like clockwork. “This is a chance for two programs that have some sort of connection to work together to produce something that benefits everyone. It’s good real-world practice for everyone involved.”
McMillan and Brownlee are just part of a dedicated team of students busily working on the Ryerson project outside of their normal course work.
The team hopes Function will represent what the GCM and image arts students do, giving Ryerson a name in the industry and letting the world catch a glimpse of the skilled graduates entering the work force. They will distribute 3,000 copies to universities, colleges and media programs to promote the skills they’ve learned at Ryerson.
“It’s a fantasy vehicle, not only for those involved but a potentially great vehicle for the school,” says Allan Lee, Function’s editor-in-chief, who stresses that titles mean nothing as everyone on the Function team “works so collaboratively.”
But working so well together doesn’t eliminate the money factor. Kodak dollars are sponsoring a substantial portion of the non-profit publication, but it isn’t quite enough to balance the books. This is why events coordinator Ella Cooper booked the band Gruuvoria to headline the Lava Lounge benefit.
“It was a way to get Function’s name out and for me to throw a great party,” says a happy Cooper at the bash. The $5 cover went towards printing fees and student projects. Another event, probably the Function showcase, can be expected in late April or May.
Last year, Lee and Brownlee sat down with Chad Gerth, another third-year image arts student and Function’s creative director, and developed the idea to create an entirely student-made image arts book in their last year of university. And the idea stuck around.
“After four years of being trained in technical and theoretical aspects of our respective programs, we’re finally providing for ourselves in a practical venue,” says Lee.
The idea sparked from a third-year elective course in which the photography class put together a book called Images and Ideas.
Though Function is a solely student-run operation, Lee admits the team went to who they consider the godfathers of their success for advice. Don Snyder and Bob Burley, to photography professors, consulted with the students when Function was still in beginning stages, back when they were still coming up with a title for the creation.
“It came over a lot of beer,” says Brownlee. “It’s so ambiguous people would be able to come up with their own interpretation of the theme.”
Now the idea is about to materialize. Function is almost ready. Something “tactile and whole” with a plethora of substance is about to roll off the presses for the first time in what the Function team hopes will be a yearly project.
“From there we have this,” says Lee. “It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been an interesting road.”