Re-Imagining the World
Graphic design student finds career in illustration
University of Idaho graphic design graduate Cody Muir strives to find the spark in even the most mundane aspects of life.
In his digital art project “Macropolis vs Micropolis,” he does that by turning familiar Northwest landscapes into explorations of danger, darkness and violence.
“I love the way illustration allows me to tell a story,” said Muir, 22, of Moscow, who graduated in December 2016 from the College of Art and Architecture.
Muir’s work contrasts how people approach these topics in different places. One side is represented as rural Moscow and the other side as urban Seattle, where Muir lived as a child and frequently visits.
In the first set, “The Crooked,” Muir explores “the treacherous underbelly of an unassuming Northwest town.” He used locations throughout the city of Moscow to create a series of digital prints that feel treacherous and uneasy. People are sensitive to crime in rural areas because there is a lack of it, Muir said. But when crime does happen it stays with people a lot longer.
Since graduation, Muir has been busy on the second set of the series, which will illustrate the hustle and bustle of the Seattle area while drawing attention to the lack of sensitivity found in the urban environment.
“The series takes this idea of a place filled with brightness and excitement and fills it with characters suffering from various effects of lethargy,” Muir said.
Muir received an OUR Undergraduate Research Grant. Learn more.
Muir’s interest in illustration work was encouraged by his professors at UI.
“Initially I kind of worked illustration into my graphic design classes, and the faculty were really supportive of that as a way to push design forward,” he said. “Over time, illustration overtook the graphic design part.”
Muir also works as a freelance illustrator. His work has been featured in several publications on campus and throughout the Pacific Northwest. He has worked closely with the UI Sustainability Center to promote energy efficiency and volunteer work. His illustration in the student-run Blot magazine captured how people engage socially through video games and other digital spaces. And in May 2017, his artwork will grace the cover of the space-themed issue of UI’s alumni magazine, Here We Have Idaho, which also will include an illustration of Saturn research by Muir.
A few of the prints in “The Crooked” ended up gaining international press. An art blog called thisisnthappiness.com and Instagrammer @designarf have featured multiple prints Muir created as a UI student. His work will be featured on the cover of the inaugural digital issue of 2 Elizabeths, a poetry journal.
“My hope for the future is to get more established in the editorial field, working for magazines and companies,” he said. “Art tends to be stronger when it’s in response to something. The editorial field is a great way of doing that, because it’s tied to stories that people care about.”
WRITER: Justin Robson of Grangeville, Idaho, was an English major with an emphasis in creative writing in 2016.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Carly Scott, a sophomore from Buhl, Idaho, is majoring in mathematics and biology