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ISU Design West artist-in-residence Arty Vongphakdy to exhibit new work Feb. 7-March 21

January 28, 2015

Artist-in-residence Arty Vongphakdy at the Vermont Studio Center in April 2014.
"Gemini" (polymer clay, acrylic, ink) by Arty Vongphakdy
"Sagittarius" (polymer clay, acrylic, ink) by Arty Vongphakdy


SIOUX CITY, Iowa — New work by Sioux City artist and Iowa State University alumnus Arty Vongphakdy will be on display Feb. 7 through March 21 at ISU Design West in Sioux City.

Located in the heart of the city's Historic Fourth Street District, ISU Design West, 1014 ½ Design Place, is a satellite facility of the ISU College of Design. Since September 2014, Vongphakdy has used the facility as his personal studio, producing a series of sculptural masks—inspired by the zodiac—as ISU Design West's first artist-in-residence.

"Arty Gras 2015" will open with a public reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, with an artist's talk by Vongphakdy at 7 p.m. Guests are invited to wear Mardi Gras-style masks to the event but is not required. Masks will be provided while supplies last.

The show will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays. It will also be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two Saturdays, Feb. 21 and March 21.

Vongphakdy focuses his creative energies on sculpture, with a style that blends influences from the Far East, medieval Europe and a "healthy dose of American pop culture," he said.

"For a long time, my process always began with a meticulously crafted concept. I'd spend a lot of time analyzing and deconstructing every detail to the point where I would hate the project," Vongphakdy said.

"Eventually, I realized this way of working wasn't right for me. I wanted to recapture that feeling I once had when I would go into what I call 'Zen mode' and allow my creativity to flow freely. This body of work (completed during the artist residency) is a return to that art making process," he said. "It's the process you understood when you were a kid—the only rules that matter are the ones you make up with your own imagination.”

Over the past four months, community members have stopped by ISU Design West to visit Vongphakdy and see the work in progress. "I'm eager to share the completed work and hope it inspires others to unleash their creative side. Art making can be intimidating, but if you remember that art is about freedom of expression it becomes fun and liberating."

Vongphakdy received a bachelor of fine arts in integrated studio arts from Iowa State in 2012. He studied sculpture at the Lorenzo de Medici International Institute in Florence, Italy, during a semester abroad in 2011. He exhibited his work as an Emerging Iowa Artist at the 2013 Des Moines Art Festival and was an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, in April 2014. For more information about the artist, visit

Arty Vongphakdy,
Jennifer Drinkwater, Design West, (515) 708-2825,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,