A senior BFA student, Lucas Beam has been working on typography and text-based work for most of his art career here at IU. A veteran at Photoshop and constantly interested in expanding his portfolio with all the experience he can get, Lucas talks about his connection with Themester and his inspiration behind his work for the 2022 school year.
As someone with a large text-based portfolio, tell me about the inspiration that came to you while making this piece for Themester.
So I actually had a really hard time trying to come up with anything, because the theme is so broad and difficult. And I think— I mean, it’s a topic that goes so many ways in so many directions and I was really struggling especially because I do so much text-based stuff. (Like, I love text.) And the poster actually started out in text before, and I talked to our teacher Sarah and she said "what if we make it a person?”
Funnily enough, I was in an awful astronomy class— maybe my least favorite— and we were learning about infrared technology. One of the videos that we had to watch was the teacher putting these infrared cameras on himself and heat vision and everything else. Every time he put it on he was completely obscured, and he said "you can’t tell what I look like, you can’t see anything about me as a person." So actually, from that class, that was where I got the inspiration for this piece. In these heatmaps, what we identify with is what shows through. I had been really struggling this last semester and this was what gave me inspiration.
Can you expand on last semester and its challenges, and how these challenges could have led to your current art?
Last semester was really strange in that everything I tried to do didn’t really work out. Maybe it was just the consequences of having been online for so long and this being the first semester back, or me getting tired having done graphic design and digital work for so long— I’m closing on my tenth year of doing Photoshop work. Knowing Adobe products, I was really focused this past semester on doing physical work with handwriting a lot of stuff, scanning a lot of stuff, taking a lot of film photography under the old film cameras— and a lot of it just didn’t work. Things wouldn’t develop right, they’d scan incorrectly— I had a lot of stuff that just broke mid-process. So I was really struggling trying to get my work done this semester and I had a goal to not do things digitally. And then I got working with Themester and it started working out, and I got to make a lot of cool things.
This is showcasing something big here at IU- how are you feeling about it?
I am super thrilled— especially because, selfishly, the poster is an image of my face. [laughs] I think it’s so unbelievably funny that on campus my face will be all over. Like, not only this is a really cool opportunity and I’m so grateful that I got chosen for this, but also it’s just funny to me that this poster I used my face to model for is going to be everything. A couple people sent me pictures of the poster in their rooms, and I think it’s incredible that I’m just now living in your apartment. I’m so thrilled; the other [artists] that were chosen are so incredible so it feels especially important to be among those people. It was great to hear that news.
What are your next plans? Where will you go from here?
I’m not out yet— one more semester! I just helped a friend put on a big photo show, helped make all the posters and the zine for that which was super cool. I’m working on other cool and weird website work stuff for some faculty at IU, and I’m really trying to make a couple fonts this summer. I’m still working a ton on design and working on my portfolio, so when I can graduate I can do anything.