Local artist represents South Dakota in national competition

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Six artists from all over the United States have a chance to win a major design contest hosted by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. One of them comes from Sioux Falls.

When it comes to graphic design, Tom Bates is always up for a good challenge.

“I just love making art; every project is different. Every day is different. And solving a problem and solving a puzzle is really awesome,” Fresh Produce, graphic designer Tom Bates said.

This week, he’s been taking on his greatest one. He is one of six artists picked from around the nation to compete in the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ Command X competition.

“I’m honored and excited to represent Sioux Falls and the state of South Dakota because I’m going up against people from New York, Texas, Utah, Michigan and all these large markets for graphic design,” Bates said.

Typically, the contestants would present their work before judges in front of a live audience, but because of the pandemic it will be held through Zoom.

“I always love to see the work that comes out. Frankly, it’s really interesting to hear what the contestants have come up with,” Senior Director of Programs & Events Kathleen Budny said.

Budny says there are three challenges for contestants. For the first, they were given a week to redesign the logo for Zoom.

“[Explaining his design] The camera replaces the ‘O’s’ or becomes the ‘O’s’ and then it’s all about Zoom being an extension of your home,” Bates said.

“You really are inspired by the direction that people go with – what they create,” Budny said.

They’re only given 24 hours to complete the second challenge prompt. A challenge that Bates is more than up for.

“The comfort zone will kill you. So, pushing the boundaries a little bit and testing yourself is a great way to develop and grow,” Bates said.

Winners of the challenges can win a cash prize and a professional at-home video studio. The second round of presentations is at 5 p.m. Thursday.

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