What do Comic Books and Dragons Have in Common?

Dragon Mural

They are both elements of a new mural at Cogswell College – the result of a creative effort between 5 student volunteers and faculty member, Reid Winfrey.

Cogswell’s President wanted something on the wall leading to the Dragons Den – the room where the majority of the College’s events are held – that would attract attention and give visitors and students a reason to pause, reflect and experience imaginative minds at work.

Winfrey gave a small group of interested students the chance to do whatever they wanted as long as it revolved around a dragon theme. The students drew inspiration from a collage demonstration Winfrey did several years ago. The finished piece hung in one of the classrooms for a number of years and became a student favorite.

The design evolved from the “mood board” walls in the Concept Design Lab and Winfrey’s own artwork. He had been experimenting with painting over comix pages and thought students would be interested in the results. When he brought one of his pieces in to share, the volunteers decided that’s what they wanted to do: paste up a million comix pages and paint over them.

Once the project got started, it took on a life of its own. Superheros and villains duke it out while the Cogswell Dragon dominates the scene. Students began to get ideas about color and placement as the mural grew.

Student volunteers included Josh Hodges, Andrew Jennings, Julia Campbell, Jessica DeLacy and Andrew Severns. Most had worked with Winfrey on projects before and were accustomed to the process. Nearly all of them had created murals of their own and understood the power this art form has to engage the viewer while enabling the artist to express his or her individuality.

“I mostly just wanted to have a little fun and spend some time making art with them,” said Winfrey, “and I think that’s what they were after as well. I’m pretty sure it isn’t done; we’ll decide that when everyone gets back on campus in August.”

Comix: non-mainstream comics. Also, underground comics that are small, self-published comic books that began to appear in the U.S. in the late 1960s.

Reid is the Coordinator of the Digital Art and Animation program at Cogswell and teaches the Creativity and Concept Development class.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

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