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Sources: Gerry Craig, 785-532-6605, gkcraig@ksu.edu;
and Jason Harper, 316-619-0547, jasonharperceramics@gmail.com
Photos available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Rosie Hoefling, 785-532-6415, media@k-state.edu

Wednesday Sept. 23, 2009

ARTWORK BY RECENT K-STATE GRADUATE WINS UNDERGRADUATE AWARD FOR STUDENT EXCELLENCE AND IS FEATURED IN ART MAGAZINE

MANHATTAN -- Artwork by Jason Harper, who earned his bachelor's in fine arts with an emphasis in ceramics from Kansas State University in May 2009, is being featured in the September issue of Ceramics Monthly magazine.

Harper's work, "Binary in Nature," was selected for publication because he was the winner of the top Undergraduate Award for Student Excellence from the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts. Harper was the only undergraduate to receive the award, which is commonly known as the best undergraduate award, according to Gerry Craig, head of the K-State art department.

Harper said the award was very unexpected but something that he is excited about. His artwork features ceramic twigs assembled together on a piece of acrylic plastic glass to represent units of binary code. As a whole, the separate ceramic zeroes and ones spelled out the word "digital" in binary code, something that Harper said represents contrasting ideas.

"I found making binary code stuck with me, so I decided to spell out the word digital as kind of a contrasting dissonance," he said.

Craig said that she believes Harper's piece was deserving of the award.

"I would have given him the award, too," she said. "It is a wonderful piece. I love that the individual pieces look like sticks, even though you can see they are clay, and the title refers to computer code, yet they also look like 3-D text or characters that create beautiful shadows, the after-image of itself. Great art functions on several levels this way, giving the viewer a lot of room to consider it from different perspectives and their own experience."

Harper is currently attending Illinois State University, completing postbaccalaureate work before he applies to graduate school. His would like to become an art professor, and he said he knows that receiving this award will help in his studies and career in art.

"It kind of shows that I just really take what I'm doing seriously, and I'm going to go as far as I can with it," he said.

Harper's award also reflects positively on K-State's department of art, Craig said.

"It is prestige well-earned from a long history of great ceramics at K-State, and to have that kind of attention focused on the program makes other serious students consider coming to study art here, including graduate students," she said.

Harper is the son of Skyler and Kristi Harper, Manhattan.