Two-Time Winner

‘Cranial Convergence’ Wins Emulex Sculpture Competition

Class of 2012 graduate Ryan Kidder swept the first place and People’s Choice awards Wednesday night in the Emulex “Art of Convergence” competition, taking home $5,000 in prize money and an iPad for his “Cranial Convergence” sculpture.

Graduate art major Mark Upson finished in second place with his kinetic sculpture “The Convergence Machine.” He was awarded a $1,000 check. 

The student entrants were all members of art professor Jim Jenkins' spring advanced sculpture class.

The top two winning sculptures and those of the other eight semifinalists will be displayed at Emulex operations around the world. The eight also received $250 cash awards from Emulex.

The final judging was conducted Wednesday during a reception at the Center Club in Costa Mesa, where the judging team of Emulex executives, Chairman Paul Folino and College of the Arts Dean Joseph Arnold met the student artists and viewed their sculptures in a gallery-like setting. Sculptures with lights and moving parts were plugged in to display them to full effect.

Kidder, 23, who participated in commencement ceremonies this past weekend, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications-advertising with a minor in art-graphic design, was accompanied to the reception by his parents, Cindy and Scott Kidder. Their son used the family’s garage at their home in Irvine as his base of operations during the spring semester for the sculpture project. Cindy Kidder recalled that on days when the garage door was open, neighbors passing by would stop to inquire about the giant head Ryan was working on.

Kidder chose gray slacks, a tie and purple shirt to match Emulex brand colors for his attire at Wednesday’s reception, where he met Shaun Walsh, Emulex senior vice president for marketing, who urged him to send in his resume.

“Of course I’m going to jump on that,” Kidder said.

The People’s Choice Award was voted on by Emulex employees who met the artists at a May 18 pizza lunch at the company’s Costa Mesa headquarters, along with anyone else who logged on to the Emulex website to vote. A total of 439 votes were cast, and more than half were for Kidder’s sculpture.

The votes also resulted in a $450 gift — $1 for every vote cast plus a little extra — from Emulex to the Cal State Fullerton Art Department, in addition to the $5,000 Emulex gave to the department for its role in the competition.

The artists had been tasked with using discarded IT equipment provided by the Costa Mesa-based company to "create a sculpture that represents the concept of 'convergence' in the data center."

The judging for the first- and second-place awards was based 50 percent on artistry and composition, 30 percent on the use of the discarded IT equipment, and 20 percent on the artist’s explanation of the work in video and in person. Each artist submitted a video about the work. 

Reflecting the day after the May 22 event, Jim McCluney, Emulex CEO and one of the judges, said: “We proudly celebrated not only the winners of the 'Art of Convergence' competition, but the students who participated in this program at the 'Art of Convergence' awards ceremony, and we thank the students, their families, the faculty and Professor Jim Jenkins, in particular, for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the 'Art of Convergence' project.”

Top of Story