The Design Loop

Portfolio Showcase 2011

(campaign design by: Michael Baena, Brandon Chase, Latonya Harris, and Jermekia Hill)

Westwood College’s School of Design presents Our First Annual Student Portfolio Showcase

In Association with the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation, Westwood College’s Loop Campus is hosting our first ever Student Portfolio Showcase event, highlighting 10 of our most recent graduates in Visual Communication and Animation.  These student artists will share their final portfolio books and demo reels, among selections of their best work in a wide variety of mediums: print design, designed objects, video, animation, photography, illustration, interactive games and web sites.  From early concept work to final renderings, students will demonstrate their diverse creative talents.  Come see for yourself!

Free and Open to the Public!

The Showcase runs from
July 27 – August 13, 2011
gallery hours:  Wed. – Sat., 11:30 – 5:30

Opening Night Event:  Thursday, July 28 from 5 – 8 pm
Refreshments will be served.
Play a game designed and created by a small team of animation students!
Meet the designers/animators and vote for your favorite work—we will award a “Best of Show: People’s Choice” at the end of showcase.

Alumni Meet-up + Guest Speaker:  Thursday, August 4 at 4pm
Recent grads and alumni will meet over refreshments at the Showcase.  We will have a special guest speaker discuss helpful business strategies for breaking into the Design Industry.

Pop-Up Loop Art Walk Event:  Thursday, August 4 from 5 – 8 pm
Immediately following our Alumni Event, the gallery will open to the public for the monthly Pop-Up Loop First Thursdays Art Walk.  Refreshments will be provided by the Chicago Loop Alliance.

a Pop-Up Art Loop  site
(in Association with the Chicago Loop Alliance)
23 E Madison St., Chicago, IL  60602

(public transit directions: half block West from the Madison + Wabash Brown/Green Line stop, or one block North and one and a half blocks  East from the Monroe Blue Line stop)

for questions/comments/more info contact: Kayce (

Participating Student Artists:

Michael Baena

I’m an illustrating, designing, coffee addicted, daydreaming, shoe gazing son-of-a-gun, taking on the world with nothing but the shirt on my back and a pocket full of dreams. An illustrator and designer, I enjoy working on different kinds of projects and see each one as a chance to improve. I like my work to be bold, different, and fun. I believe design can make people happy and that’s what I strive for.



Brandon Chase

I like to think of myself as a rockstar designer, because most of my designs have a little more edge than mainstream artwork. I’m inspired by music and my own life experiences, and draw from both to create images that are challenging and memorable. I’m not limited to grunge designs, however, and love changing things up to create slick, smart corporate logos and looks.



Justin Hampton

I am from Chicago, IL however I started my journey in Graphic Design in 2005 in Berrien Springs, MI.  I went to a small private school (Andrews University) for two and half years. I enjoyed my time there, but I felt I’d gained as much as my design program had to offer me.

In 2007, I moved back home to go to AI (Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago). My experience there was amazing, however in a few months, I found myself having financial difficulties and couldn’t continue there.

After freelancing full-time for most of 2008, the next year I enrolled at Westwood College to finish my Bachelors in Visual Communication.  In my journey, I was able to amass different skill sets, technical savvy, and discipline for my craft.


Latonya Harris

I am a Visual Communications Student with a passion for fine art. I live in Chicago and attend Westwood College.

My decision to pursue a career in Visual Communication came to me a few years ago. I was living in Memphis, TN and my time was split between working as a photo lab tech, being a mother and painting/selling my abstract art. Everything I did was filled with creativity, and in those moments I finally figured out how important it is to do what I love.  So, I made plans to start school and move back to the windy city.  It was the best thing I could have done. I am learning so much about this field, and I feel that my skills have been enriched tremendously.

The way I design is both conceptual and grid driven.  In my experience as a Graphic Designer I follow most of the rules, and when I break one it’s for good reason. I am constantly inspired by fine art, and this is often reflected in my design work.


Matt Hecht

I am a 2011 Graduate of Westwood College of Design and here is a brief description about me:

I grew up in small town in Michigan and started attending a technical school that had an Advertising Design program, where I used my art talent and skills and applied it to a computer for the first time. While I was attending the program, I was offered a chance to work at a real design company called Larsen Graphics in Vassar Michigan.  I accepted, and from that point forward I knew that I wanted to design for the rest of my life. I looked around for the best possible way to achieve that, and my solution was Westwood College of Design in Chicago, IL. Westwood helped me create a style and a way of making the design my own, and really pushed me to do the best work that I can. From that experience, I am happy to show you some of my work that I have created while attending the school. I hope you enjoy seeing what I have enjoyed making. Thank you.


Jermekia Hill

I have made a conscious decision to control my life and not let life control me.  With this decision came my name, “Happy Being Me.”  Sitting in front of my computer for hours, challenging myself to become more creative, is what makes me happy.




James McFarland

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a filmmaker.  As my education progressed, I stared to believe more and more that my Animation degree from Westwood would help me to achieve that goal.  Working on various projects has opened a lot of doors for me that I never knew were available.  Obtaining the skills that I have learned will greatly assist me in accomplishing my filmmaking goals.



Charlene Pagan

Charlene has been working as a professional graphic designer since 1978. Her primary focus has been on designing marketing pieces from concept to final printed piece. After attending Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, she began her career in 1978 at Balfour & Caudle Printing & Engraving Company, in Dallas, TX, producing illustrations in pen and ink and pencil used to make graduation invitations and die cuts for foil stamping and embossing.

She also freelanced as a Technical Illustrator for Texas Instruments, Rockwell International and IBM. In 1985, she was hired as a layout artist for Sears Regional Advertising in St. Louis, MO. She also freelanced for Gentry Trotter & Associates, Inc. while residing in St. Louis, MO. In Huntsville, AL, she contributed her expertise in layout and design to: Benton Parker and Associates, a full service ad agency working on Hilton Hotels marketing pieces, The Huntsville Museum, of Art, and the University of Alabama in Hunstville designing brochures, newsletters, booklets and exhibit signage.

Charlene is presently upgrading her skills, majoring in Visual Communications at Westwood College. She is available for freelance or full-time work.


Kimberly Smith

I am inspired by everything and anything Art and Animation. My love affair with art and animation has been in effect for over 20 years, and I am just getting started!

I am an artist who uses different mediums to express my gift—everything from fine art drawings to technical computer graphics. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Art. It has been the most valuable and nurturing constant in my life. My relationship with design has proven to be very dependable, as well, never leading me astray. Art-making has become a deep passion, almost an obsession, that I feel will take me away to become something greater. Having a creative outlet offers me solace, and enables much needed self-expression.


See photos of the Opening Night Event:


2 Responses to "Portfolio Showcase 2011"

The Blog looks great!

Thanks, Kim! Feel free to share this link for friends and family to start spreading the word.

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