Featured Artist: Bryce Chismire
[San Juan Silver Stage | September 2020 | Kathryn R. Burke]
Did you see the clever illustrations for the education articles in this issue? Intuitive, interpretive, uniquely original, they definitely tell the story, don’t they? Which is not really surprising. Bryce Chismire, the young man who did them, has won awards for his graphic design and illustrations. He’s been working with us, and with me, since junior high in Ridgway, and he just keeps getting better.
Bryce’s interest in art began early. He spent the first ten years of his life in Washington State, in a little town called Lacey—between Olympia and Tacoma. His mother is a gifted photographer, with “an artist’s eye,” which he likely inherited. Mid-way through his third grade year Bryce and his family moved to Ridgway, Colorado. He enjoyed his school experiences in the small Colorado town with a mixed population equally interested in art and mountain recreation and known for promoting artistic endeavors. Bryce fit right in. “I especially liked art and English,” he said. “And the atmosphere. I met a lot of nice people.”
During his high school years, Bryce helped friends and local businesses with various art projects. He was active with the San Juan Silver Stage, helping with advertising and page design, and he also assisted with design related to books published by San Juan Publishing, parent company of the Silver Stage.
Following graduation, Bryce attended the SantaFe University of Art and Design, graduating Magnum Cum Laude with a BA in Fine Arts. “My most favorite subject there was graphic design classes,” he said. “During my senior year, I developed an interest in animation, specifically hand-drawn animation. I also became very interested I writing, with an emphasis on fictional writing.”
The only thing he regrets about the college experience, he said, was that “I didn’t go out to experience as much of Santa Fe as I had hoped I would.” Santa Fe, with its mixed cultures and colorful history, has long been renowned as an art center. Coursework and school assignments kept him busy, curtailing unrelated curricular activity.
Bryce returned to Ridgway, where he has been involved in numerous freelance assignments. He also became interested in web design. Today, Bryce serves as webmaster for the San Juan Silver Stage, now a strictly digital publication, assisting with content management and design. He has also developed his own independent web design and management client base and has started his own blog site, “The Screened Word,” critiquing movies, books, television shows, and plays.
“I figured I’d use this to perfect my writing skills” he said, “and see where that takes me as I further explore my abilities and talents.” He’s thinking about writing a book, in the genre of “coming of age stories.” After that? Who knows. Bryce’s artistic talents have been barely tapped; he is truly a creative work in progress.
Bryce’s illustrations for this author’s Caregiver’s Journey books, won an award for originality and design from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. “I kind of viewed that project as an opportunity to explore design concepts,” he said. The results were spot-on in describing how to manage a difficult situation for those directly affected by caregiving—patients, families, friends, medical personnel. He really nailed it, and his drawings deserved the recognition he received.
Bryce used a similar technique in conceptualizing and completing the designs for the education articles in this issue of the Silver Stage.“ I draw on my own experiences,” he explained, “and do some research for ideas. I think about what the images should convey, read the accompanying text, add personal touches” He submitted some rough sketches. We reviewed them, and selected those that best convey the concept as discussed, but leave it to him to flesh it out and finish the design. The results tell the story in pictures. No captions or written explanations needed.
How would Bryce define himself today, and what does he see in the future? “I am an artist, a graphic artist, and a writer,” he said. I hope to write illustrated books in the future, which encompasses graphic design, writing, illustrating.” He’s on the right track.