Words by Sarah Odum, Image by Jude Landry and Alex Egner

Is anyone looking for another reason to love this city we live in? Oh, you already have lots of reasons, you say? Great! We’re going to add one more to the list, because that’s our job.  We’ve got an art show for you to check out: Jude & Alex: An Exhibition is kicking off with an opening reception from 5:30-7pm TONIGHT at UNT on the Square. We took a sneak peek at the show and chatted with the designers so we could give you a glimpse of what you’ll find tonight, because ya’ll, we really don’t want you to miss out on this one! Read on, add it to your Friday night plans, and send us a thank-you fruit basket later.

Jude Landry and Alex Egner are assistant and associate professors, respectively, of communication design in the College of Visual Arts and Design at UNT. Jude & Alex: An Exhibition is a collective survey of their work from the past several years. The show features mostly poster-sized designs advertising specific events, social causes, and academic programs, alongside more personal, non-commissioned pieces. Each man has his own artistic style and approach, but their pieces hang together seamlessly, reflecting an obvious shared passion for clean design, inventive typography and colorful illustrations.

Why should you go? Let’s think about this. These are the guys shaping the next great minds in design, people! That seems like an important reason to take a look at their work. If that weren’t cause enough (it is), these fellas produce really, really lovely pieces. While you may be familiar with a few on display (Landry’s bike illustration and print of our beloved Denton courthouse are found at the DIME store), plenty of these prints will feel fresh.

When we say “fresh”, we’re not just saying that this work may be new to your eyeballs, although that may be true. We’re talking about a marriage of function and beauty we see when we look at these prints, and the sense we got when listening to Egner and Landry talk about their process. Both spoke about enjoying the challenge of building a new type or finding a new way to communicate a message, while still being tied to certain constraints (size, color, commission, two-dimensionality). By “fresh”, we mean this: You may think at first that you’re just standing in front of a bunch of posters. But we’re hoping you stand long enough to notice that there’s an extreme artfulness to these designs. They are thoughtfully crafted.

No pre-show glimpse would be complete without giving you a heads-up about some of our favorites. The octopus whose tentacles are clutching the Gulf states while dripping with oil (created to raise awareness of the 2010 spill) is extremely compelling, as is the brand design poster for Gyeongju, South Korea, constructed from tiny, colorful symbols. Another favorite is a charming poster advertising UNT’s own College of Visual Arts & Design, which shows a machine made up of all the items (technical or not) that designers use to create a final image (in this case, a simple pink heart). Also, be sure to take a look at the wall holding Egner’s “Mainly Animals, but also some other things”. You’ll find a woodpecker whose beak has broken off due to osteoporosis, a rhino who wished he had more methods of stabbing, and a dachshund with wheels belted to his midsection, among others. We dare you to NOT find these funny.

Although Egner and Landry spend their days teaching students about design, they both said that they themselves love being learners of the craft. Their processes involve an eagerness to try new approaches that they can implement into their work. This zeal for learning and an openness to challenge is clear as you look around at the myriad of styles in these pieces. Although there is an overarching aesthetic, there is no ONE style. That’s the beautiful freedom of communication design.

Join us at the opening TONIGHT at UNT on the Square and let us know what you think!

Jude & Alex: An Exhibition, opening reception: Friday, April 7 from 5:30-7pm

Exhibit runs April 8-May 14, 2016

UNT on the Square

109 N. Elm Street

hours: M-F, 9am-12, 1-5pm, extended hours until 8pm Thursdays, Saturdays 11-3, closed Sundays