CCAD alum uses seriously old techniques for a fresh take on the new Cloyd Family Animation Center

Erica Eppert (Illustration, 2018) in front of the Cloyd Family Animation Center donor wall she designed.

Erica Eppert (Illustration, 2018) has designs on the new Cloyd Family Animation Center.


Eppert, whose illustration studies at Columbus College of Art & Design emphasized motion and animation, was asked to create a donor wall for the state-of-the-art space by Animation Chair and Associate Professor Charlotte Belland, who acted as art director for the installation.

The end result is an eye-catching visual work created in the manner of a phénakisticope, a circa-1830s innovation that creates the illusion of motion and is considered a forerunner of modern animation. Donor names are flanked by images such butterflies flapping their wings, ostriches on the run, and jockeys maneuvering horses, on discs that can be spun by hand.

Eppert was chosen because her ability to take a static, 2D concept and reimagine it as a full-scale, tactile installation, Belland said.

“Her reliable enthusiasm and professionalism allowed us to realize the main goal of thanking the donors in an interactive, ‘animated’ way,” Belland said. “The resulting phénakisticope installation continues to bring smiles to our visitors, students, staff, and faculty on a daily basis. It reminds us of our animated purpose and the generous donors that support our department's mission.”

Eppert said she was honored to take on the project.

“I’m excited to contribute to the new animation center, and to leave a mark on a school that has helped me developed so much in my professional career, and as an individual,” she said.

“I know we wanted to do something that was more of an art installation and encourage the artists to interact with it. It's based on animation fundamentals and older technologies, such as phénakisticope," she said. Eppert’s final work also gives a nod to artist Oskar Fischinger, known for his impeccable abstract animations using circles.

Eppert, who has primarily worked in children’s market illustration, won an award for prop-building at Matsuricon (an annual Japanese pop-culture event) in August 2018. The Cloyd Family Animation Center project presented an opportunity to pursue additional creative directions.

"I have really been passionate about exhibit design, and creating a large scale interactive piece like this was a great contribution to my portfolio to start heading in that direction," she said.

See more work by Erica Eppert on her website.

Learn more about Animation at CCAD and about the Cloyd Family Animation Center.