ENMU professor inspired by graphic designer

The Runnels Gallery in the newly remodeled Golden Student Success Center brings much attention to the artwork being displayed there..

The series called “One A Day” by art professor Jessica Gerlach, displayed Aug. 16-Sept. 14, featured many pieces of work that brought the gallery to life.

Gerlach’s art show features a series of birds from all 50 states, as well as a series of insects for all 50 states, among a few other drawings. She worked continuously for nine months and spent about 30 minutes to two hours a day for each drawing. She gave Bryan Hahn, the gallery director, over 150 pieces of art to choose from for the exhibition.

Gerlach is originally from Pennsylvania but spent most of her childhood all over the Southwest. She received a Bachelor of Arts in art at Millersville University in Pennsylvania and worked for several years before returning for a master’s degree in visual communication at the University of Arizona.

Gerlach lived in Utah and Arizona before settling here in New Mexico.

“I love the Southwest,” she said. “I like the environment and the people here; the pace of life just seems less fast pace.”

Gerlach has been a professor at Eastern for two years, this semester she is teaching Digital Media I, Graphic Design I and Web Design I.

She said she became inspired by a graphic designer named Jessica Hische, who designed a letter every day. She purchased an iPad last fall and used an Apple Pen and the Adobe Sketch system to create the artwork. She started by working on hand lettering and then slowly began adding illustrations to push her work further.

Gerlach said the iPad offered her flexibility, she was able to carry the iPad with her wherever she went. She could doodle or finish a project she started while she was waiting for meetings to start or during free time in her office. The program also paired very well with Adobe Photoshop, which allowed Jessica to use Photoshop to add to the artwork.

She said, “I feel honored to be the first exhibition in the new student success center. I’ve been featured in other exhibitions, but this one is special, because it’s my own.”

Gerlach said she plans on taking a small break from her daily drawings to focus on classes and to also give herself a much-needed break.

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