Sydney Cook, Art

Cook embraces artistic process in signature honors project

Sydney Cook

Sydney Cook

While some may think of research and the sciences when considering a final project, many East Carolina University Honors College students choose to pursue a creative endeavor.

Senior art major Sydney Cook is experimenting with the creative process through typography, scanners, analog making and artificial intelligence before writing, designing and printing a book outlining her design process.

“As I looked to the future and starting my career as a graphic designer, I wanted to learn more about my practice and my design process, and I wanted to learn how artificial intelligence can work alongside it,” she said.

Cook is also proof that projects evolve throughout the process.

“I had the original goal of creating a series of posters,” she said. “However, once the semester started, I realized I was very stuck with finding a concept for these posters and getting started and was ultimately feeling very uninspired.”

She credits the relationship built with her mentor Dan Elliott, associate professor in the School of Art and Design, for helping her throughout the process. Cook first met Elliott through the Honors College when she expressed an interest in graphic design. She maintained a close relationship with him throughout her four years.

“I wanted to spend a semester abroad, but there was no way for me to complete my courses within the timeline I needed,” Cook said. “Dan provided an independent study over the summer, so I could complete my undergraduate degree in four years and spend a semester abroad. When I it was time to find a faculty mentor for my signature honors project, I knew I wanted it to be Dan. His work is inspiring, and he has challenged me to grow as a designer.”

Being able to work so closely with someone who has the years of corporate and teaching experience that Elliott has helped Cook grow as a designer.

“My mentor allows me space to fail on my own but is quick to give guidance when needed,” she said. “The process as a whole has helped me learn how to work and keep myself on track while still having oversight.”