Artist, designer and self-described “maker” Bryan Cera talked to University of Northern Colorado students on Thursday, March 21 in the new Campus Commons Gallery to discuss his inspiration, as well as how he got to where he is and what type of designs he has created before.
Cera has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary arts, a master of arts and a master of fine arts in art and technology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Cera originally studied music because he was interested in using computers to produce music before he transferred schools to study illustrations programs. Cera then transferred to another school when he heard about the new interdisciplinary art program in digital media.
He is currently an assistant professor of object making and emergent technologies at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, Alberta.
Cera first discussed his inspirations with the students.
“So, I’m going to start by talking about how I got here, and I think it really started with the fascination and just pure love of cartoons,” Cera said.
According to Cera, he was really interested in the idea of a person creating cartoons with their imagination.
Cera said artist Camille Utterback is one of his inspirations, specifically her interactive installation “Text Rain.” “Text Rain” allows people to move around in front of a projector, while their silhouettes catch the words falling.
With that idea, Cera created a similar installation in which a person’s silhouette could interact with Super Mario Brother characters. He also created an interactive game similar to Tennis Pong, which is an arcade video game where the players move the paddles up and down to hit the tennis ball. In Cera’s creation, in order to move the paddles up and down, the players had to scream into the microphone.
Cera said his interactive game was displayed on the fourth floor in an exhibition at a library, and he could hear screams echoing throughout the entire library.
Throughout the Maker Movement, Cera also became interested in the cosplay community because of people’s passion to make characters from video games, television and movies come to life. The Maker Movement is a cultural phenomenon where people express their artistry and craftsmanship.
Cera also created a glove that’s similar to a cell phone. The phone shows what it’s like to sacrifice a hand for a phone. When creating the device, Cera said he was a broke college student and had to decide whether to buy a cellphone or the parts to build the glove.
Cera’s glove was his version of a phone for the semester. He said he received mixed reviews on the glove with some people saying they needed that type of phone, while others disagreed by saying nobody would sacrifice a hand for that kind of phone.
Cera’s other projects include a robot whose sole purpose was to procrastinate, similar to humans. Cera also programmed the robot to watch cat videos.
“So, people would come in and talk about how this was a useless machine. They would almost say in disgust like ‘that’s useless,” Cera said.
According to him, it was interesting how he took human characteristics and programmed them into a robot, so the people who said it was a useless machine must view humans that same way.
Cera also showed UNC students how to build circuit boards with paper on Friday.
The next event in the Campus Commons art gallery is the Annual Student Exhibition on April 11 through April 27. There will be a Juror’s Talk with Raechel Cook at 4 p.m. and the opening reception and award ceremony from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.