Ben Lucas, a junior industrial and innovative design major, has done it all, from graphic design to photography and architecture.
Lucas said he has always been creative and expressed himself best through the arts.
“I’ve always been interested in art and design,” he said. “I started work with different mediums like clay, sculpting things, and working with ceramics even in elementary school.”
Though Lucas had always been drawn to the arts, he said watching his grandmother create art was what inspired him to pursue it as a career.
“For a long time she has done things like calligraphy and china painting where she does this fine, very detailed work,” he said. “She’s just a very creative person. My nana and I are just really close, and she has been such an inspiration to me through her artwork.”
Coming into Cedarville as a graphic design major, Lucas said he had many opportunities to showcase his design abilities. Many of his photos have been put on postcards that are now featured in the Cedarville bookstore. He’s also helped set up the window displays each month.
Junior Rahul Jacobs, a friend of Lucas, said Lucas strives for excellence in everything he does.
“He’s a perfectionist,” Jacobs said. “Everything he does has to be perfect, and you can definitely see that in his photos.”
Co-worker sophomore Gillian West said she admires Lucas’ passion not only for art, but for Cedarville. She said his passion for Cedarville is reflected in his art.
“He loves the university,” she said. “He truly believes in its principles and what it stands for. And it can really be seen in his work and how he interacts with people.”
Most recently, Lucas has established himself as a photographer with the release of a postcard in the bookstore featuring his popular Cedarville sunset photo. His sunset photograph took Facebook by storm, though Lucas said he was just beginning photography at that time after receiving his first DSLR camera in the summer of 2015.
“Many people have asked me if I just wanted to be a photographer,” he said. “Probably not, but it’s definitely something I want to keep doing whether as a little side business or a hobby.”
However, Lucas said his passion lies in creating things with his hands. Thus, he’s pursuing industrial design via Cedarville’s partnership program with the International Center for Creativity in Columbus (ICC).
Cedarville is the only Christian university that offers an industrial design program. Through Cedarville’s partnership with the ICC, students have the opportunity to spend their first two years at Cedarville and their next two years studying at the ICC. The ICC has four different design tracks students can pursue: interior space, exterior space, consumer product and automotive.
“Really, industrial designers influence every aspect of a person’s life – from the products that they handle to the cars that they drive,” Lucas said. “Everything is usually made by an industrial designer. Most people don’t really know that, because it’s just something that a lot of people take for granted.”
Lucas said he plans to concentrate on exterior space design with the goal of becoming an architect.
“I’ve always liked working in three dimensions,” Lucas said. “Whether that was modeling with clay or building models so, industrial design is a really good outlet. Not only do we have to put our designs on paper, we also have to make them come to life, whether rendering them on the computer or actually building them as a model.”
Students are exposed to each area of design regardless of what track they choose to pursue at the ICC.
Lucas said both Cedarville and the ICC believe it is important to provide every student with a well-rounded skill set so that when students enter the workforce, they can be prepared for anything.
This past year Lucas had the opportunity to figuratively redesign a car for Chevrolet and an Xbox gaming console for two of his classes. Even though neither of these projects fell into his preferred field, Lucas said they really helped him develop skills that will cross over to architecture.
“In the industrial design field you have to learn how to sketch really quick,” he said. “Since I’m a very detail-oriented person, learning to do that was really difficult. Working on (the Chevrolet) project, I got to work on drawing a car in perspective, which was really difficult. But I was really proud of those drawings when I finished.”
After Cedarville, Lucas said he plans to work for an industrial design firm in Columbus with the goal of one day owning his own firm. He said that no matter where he ends up, he wants his work to bring glory to God, the ultimate creator.
“Our professor, JD (Orr), he tells us all the time that being a Christian designer set(s) us apart,” Lucas said. “We’re trying to emulate and glorify the creation that we have in front of us. We are trying to add to it, not take away from it. I hope that my work can be seen as different in a sense that it is God-honoring all the time.”
Emily Day is a junior journalism major and arts & entertainment editor for Cedars. She is an avid reader, runner and is a general Disney enthusiast.