North Texas Daily

‘My last love letter to the university’: alum to pioneer Union mural

‘My last love letter to the university’: alum to pioneer Union mural

‘My last love letter to the university’: alum to pioneer Union mural
June 04
12:00 2022

Graphic designer and illustrator Rebs Beers graduated a couple of weeks ago and is encapsulating their time at the university with a mural near the Corner Store in the Union. Completely directed and created by Rebs, the mural has been in the making for about four years. 

Courtesy Rebs Beers

“There had been a couple of design proposals by previous designers that were submitted and didn’t really go anywhere,” Rebs said. “I came up with this idea that I pitched to our former boss, […] and it was for a ‘Where’s Waldo’ style thing. The idea was that all of these students are coming back from COVID and it feels like they don’t really have a connection to the university and they haven’t experienced the on-campus culture.”

The mural is tentatively slated for an unveiling at the end of summer and will encapsulate “quirky campus culture” with references to the university lifestyle and inside jokes to connect people to the community Rebs has grown to love and appreciate. 

“Honestly, the past two weeks I’ve been constantly feeling like a little bit of a wreck because it’s so much nostalgia,” Rebs said. “I’ve worked for the university now for so long, and I’ve gone [here through] COVID and it was obviously a tough time for everyone […] so it feels like a culmination of everything that I’ve been able to do for the past four years.”

Rebs began working at Design Works four years ago, mainly working on projects for the University Program Council while pursuing a communication design degree. Focusing on the mural has allowed the Denton resident to reflect on their undergraduate experience as they prepare to pursue opportunities beyond campus walls.

Courtesy Rebs Beers

“I think you get out of school what you put into it,” Rebs said. “So it’s a really rewarding experience […] with the help of all my professors and my peers to get to go through it and come out on the other side [feeling] like I’ve improved a lot.”

Some of Rebs’ work for UPC includes the event lawn signs around campus and the fall and spring event calendars. A highlight for Rebs is the movie-themed UPC calendar from this past spring semester which turned into a larger project Rebs directed themself.

“I mainly just want to put my stuff out in the world and I want to be able to make stuff that makes people happy,” Rebs said. “It’s just cool to get to see your stuff out there and get to see people talk about your [work].”

Rebs attributes much of their success to their peer support system and describes their sister, roommate and coworker Ainsley Beers as their “number one supporter.” 

“Rebs is a very driven artist,” said Ainsley, media arts sophomore and Union videographer. “They are always creating something, and they pour all of their creativity into everything they make. Their work is often a reflection of themself — showcasing their current interests or surroundings.”

Courtesy Rebs Beers

Rebs describes the mural as the highlight of their career so far and credits the environment at Design Works and their former boss Kelly Golden as a catalyst for their growth as an artist. Although Golden left her position as shop coordinator at Design Works about two years ago and now works as a teacher, she and Rebs maintain a friendship and talk on a regular basis.

“Rebs is a wonderful and talented person,” Golden said. “However I can help them succeed is a joy to me.”

Rebs is a lifelong artist, they practiced fan art — along with line art and comic book-style art — in their younger years before making the segue to digital art. Rebs aspires to break into the video game industry, so much of their work is inspired by video game concept artists.

“I just like to draw every opportunity I get and digital [art] has made it a really fun way to combine everything that I’ve learned in school,” Rebs said. “I still do fan art and that kind of stuff, so it’s been cool to combine that with the more professional aspect of it.”

Rebs is searching for the next phase of their career as they put the finishing touches on the mural and their time at the university.

“I’ve been saying that this mural is like my last love letter to the university,” Rebs said. “Everything that I appreciate and that has been given to me — I just wanted to put back out with this piece.”

Courtesy Rebs Beers

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Rhema Joy Bell

Rhema Joy Bell

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