As the student manager of the Jurgen Comics Contest and an artist herself, Alyson Piccione is a student worker at VCU Libraries. She says that there is so much potential in this project to produce great work. VCU students stand to gain not only notoriety from the project, but also get a chance to show off their work and strengthen their portfolios. Alyson won first place in a similar contest in high school and the feeling of accomplishment and self confidence that came from it was great. This contest, in particular, is a great challenge for students. The art of Sunday Funnies is not as common as it once was, so it is a great way to stretch and grow.

How did you come to study at VCU?

I am from Gainesville in Northern Virginia. My father and sister work at George Mason University, which I had debated attending, but I found that VCU Arts had the best program in Digital Art and Design. Currently, I am majoring in Communication Art and getting a minor in Creative Writing.

What attracted you to Communication Arts/Graphic Design?

Battlefield High School in Haymarket is the Center for Applied Sciences, Interactive and Information Technology and that appealed to me much more than the culinary focus of my neighborhood school, so I applied and got in. My studies at Battlefield were focused on Graphic Design, which I still apply to my current art.

How has VCU Libraries helped you in your studies?

I started using VCU Libraries as a freshman. The many spaces that are available to focus and study were very helpful in the first year when I had so many tests. I also love books, so it wasn’t long before I discovered the collections. The materials that VCU Libraries have are inspiring – particularly those that focus on folklore and myth. It’s only recently that I found out about the significant Comic Arts Collection in Special Collections and Archives. I’ve always just gone to the comics store but there is so much more to see here! I’m looking forward to spending more time in that area seeing what is in the collection.

What will you remember most affectionately about VCU?

The classes at VCU have been the best! They’re the reason I came here and I appreciate how my professors challenge me to grow and be a better artist and storyteller with the assignments and projects. In the workshop classes I really like working alongside other students and seeing their work. We learn a lot from each other and inspire each other.

Plans for graduation?

I graduate in the spring – May 2022 and hope I can use my medium to tell stories. Eventually I might become an animator. In the near-future I wouldn’t mind moving to California because the animation industry is centered there and it is also where I was born and spent the first few years of my life. I’ve also recently found myself interested in writing and publishing graphic novels.

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