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"Great War Commander: A Work in Process" to open the Gallery 205 Season


The Game’s the Thing at Radford University Art Museum’s Gallery 205

Men in uniforms surround the viewer. World War I soldiers from the European stage stand frozen in time and place in this opening season art show at Radford University’s Gallery 205, Porterfield Hall. But this exhibit is less about actual warfare, and is more about a war game.

“Great War Commander: A Work in Process” by RU assistant professor of art Ken Smith is an exhibit about 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.

Smith, who teaches graphic design at RU, says, “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.”

“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 concert 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 August 26 to Sept. 5 on weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. An artist reception is being held on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 5:00 p.m. and is free the RU community and the general public. For more information, call the RU Art Museum at (540) 831-5754. For more information about Radford University’s art department, please visit www.radford.edu/art.

Aug 19, 2013

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