Texas Tech University

Alumni News

DJ Stout Launches Distinguished Speakers Series at School of Art

DJ Stout

DJ Stout, a 1981 alumnus of the Graphic Design program (called Design Communication at the time) has launched a distinguished speaker series at TTU School of Art. Titled VISIONS: DJ Stout Distinguished Speaker Series, the series seeks to inspire students, as he was inspired when he studied at TTU. Texas Tech Today posted a news item about Stout's generous endowment supporting the speakers' series. Read the post here.


Paula Scher the inaugural speaker of this series, gave a talk about her career in graphic design on March 7th. Scher is arguably the most influential graphic designer alive today. Prior to Tuesday evening's presentation, Stout and Scher visited classes in the School of Art and engaged in the kind of collaboration that inspired Stout 40 years ago.

Paula Scher - GD

[Posted: 2023 March 08]

Davian-Lynn Hopkins at Pentagram Designs Paula Scher Poster for TTU

Davian-Lynn Hopkins

Davian-Lynn Hopkins (2020 BFA Graphic Design), a designer at Pentagram Austin, designed the poster with guidance from Pentagram Partner DJ Stout. The poster promotes Paula Scher's upcoming lecture at Texas Tech on March 07. Pentagram profiled the forthcoming event along with Hopkins and DJ Stout. Read the posting HERE.

Like his boss DJ Stout, Davian excelled in the Graphic Design program at the School of Art and secured a designer position at Pentagram soon after graduation.

[Posted: 2023 March 01]

Zach Tate Presents Solo Exhibition at Arkansas State

Zach Tate (2013 MFA Ceramics) recently posted pictures of his exhibition at the Bradbury Art Museum at Arkansas State University (October 25th-November 30th). So we sent him a short set of questions to find out more.

Zach Tate - Bradbury Museum

It looks like a solo show, how did you snag this show?

I am currently a visiting faculty at Arkansas State University. The director of the museum had an open slot and is a fan of my work. He was curious if I would be able to and willing to fill the space for a solo show on short notice. I was happy and nervous to say "yes". 

Is this show self-curated or by someone at the Museum?

It is self curated. 90% of the show was created within the last 3 months. 

Judging from the installation photos I have seen on Insta, this work is at much larger scale than you have previously worked. Tell us about that choice and experience.

Zach Tate cup
Death by Mickey (2022) porcelain, 7 x 5 x 4 inches.

I made a conscious choice last spring to push myself in the scale of my work. I have been working with the idea of the vessel as an aspect of my work the last few years; in particular the ceremonial and fetishary nature of the cup. With the scale shift I wanted to push some of the details and intimacy of the cup in these larger pieces. It is certainly a work in progress but I am enjoying the process and the results from this shift.

Why “the killing fields” and if not specifically about the Cambodian killing fields, since you have not been there, why all the death imagery?

Zach Tate
Left: Untitled (2022) stoneware, 45 x 13 x 13 inches; Right: The Neighbors Hate You (2022) stoneware, 40 x 17 x 17 inches.

I have been fascinated with death since a young age. Aside from growing up in a "fire and brimstone" style Baptist Church, I remember first developing some understanding of death when I went to my great-grandmother's funeral when I was five. At seven I was given several carousels of slides from a missionary of his visit to Cambodia.  The slides were images of human skulls in glass display cases and mass graves with skeletons piled up upon themselves. Years later the missionary asked for them back. I know now that these were pictures from Security Prison 21 and Choeung Ek.

Aside from the imagery having a profound effect on me, the history of the Khmer Rouge is extremely telling. The systematic killing of philosophers, intellectuals, and artists to silence speech and destroy culture and dissent is a chilling reality that Pol Pot and Mao used in southeast Asia. It left a contemporary blueprint for modern dictators to use as a means of control and subjugation. This cycle of history becoming contemporary and the failure of modern governments failing to deal with it is a real concern of mine.  

How do you see yourself as a practicing artist?

I dedicate myself year round to making work. The art and processes of creating informs my teaching, and vice versa. 

[Posted: 2022 November 07]