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BUEI intern Avarie’s success explained in a Flash

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What is harder than collecting more than 1,000 80lb silver ingots from deep down in the ocean — possibly creating an animation depicting the collection.

At least that was how Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) intern Avarie Graham, 22, felt when she was first asked to create a Flash movie of the recovery of the Gairsoppa shipwreck's treasure to go with a new mini-exhibit at the BUEI.

The SS Gairsoppa was a steamship that sank off of Ireland in February 16, 1941 carrying 110 tons of silver, destined for the Royal Mint of England. The exhibition depicts how Odyssey Marine Exploration, a company headed up by Dr David Saul, recovered the silver using a remote operated vehicle (ROV) and a special salvage boat Seabed Worker. The recovery set a world record for the deepest, largest precious metal recovery.

Miss Graham is a graphic design student going into her last year at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), and an intern at BUEI. She has spent this summer wowing the staff with her brochures, posters, banners and Facebook updates. BUEI's request for a Flash animation, brought her up short, however.

“I was a bit scared of creating the Flash animation, because I had only touched animation last semester with a four second video on a logo,” she said.

Miss Graham, however, quickly rallied to the task, teaching herself Flash by watching YouTube videos. When you see it the animation showing the Seabed Worker on the surface, retrieving ingots from the wreck of the Gairsoppa on the bottom of the ocean, appears deceptively simple. The animation is displayed at the BUEI in front of a case containing one of the silver ingots. Miss Graham said it was actually quite tricky to produce.

“It took awhile, because sometimes when you make a mistake and you've got to redo the whole thing so that everything flows,” Miss Graham said. “It was a real a learning experience, but I loved doing it. Now, when I'm asked to do a Flash video, I can say ‘I'm on it'.”

Dr Saul cut the ribbon on the Gairsoppa exhibit last week with Miss Graham in attendance along with many other people.

“It was exciting to see the ribbon cut on my exhibit,” said Miss Graham. “It made me feel special because I have never had my stuff on display. My mother and stepfather were there and they teared up. I asked them why they were crying. It was because they hadn't seen my stuff put up like that as a graphic designer. I'm not a fine artist or anything like that. My stuff can't be framed.”

Miss Graham started at the BUEI as a volunteer working in the gift shop last summer. When Belinda Barbieri came on board as BUEI Marketing Manager, and learned that Miss Graham was studying graphic design, she took her on as an intern in the marketing department.

“I started out giving her little projects and I was impressed by how quickly she picked things up, so then I gave her bigger projects,” said Ms Barbieri. “All of the work she was producing was great. It also helped that she had worked in the gift shop, helped on the dive, and helped downstairs if we needed a hand with the camps. It gave her a knowledge of the BUEI that she was able to translate into her work.”

Miss Graham said she has always been into art. When she was little her parents signed her up for art classes. Later, she volunteered at the Bermuda National Gallery and the Masterworks Museum, acting as a teachers' assistant and manning phones.

“I try to get involved in the art community, any way I can,” she said. “I did one year at Kingston University in London. I earned a certificate in graphic design and photography, but I didn't like England that much so I went to study at OCAD and I really love it. I will be graduating next May.”

Miss Graham received the Peter Leitner Scholarship in 2012 and 2013. The scholarship is for students involved in the arts, but she thinks she might be one of very few graphic design students to receive it.

“I am very thankful for it,” she said. “There aren't many scholarships offered for artists in Bermuda. I know of two. I think if you do what you love it is not really work. We need more artists in Bermuda.”

Her hope is to get another internship next year to gain some experience, and then one day, ultimately, open her own graphic design studio creating items like wedding invitations.

To learn more about the Gairsoppa, catch Dr Saul's lecture at the BUEI on July 15. Tickets for the July 15 lecture are $20 for members; $25 for non-members and $10 for students. Tickets are available by calling 294-0204 or visiting BUEI's Oceans Gift shop.

Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute intern Avarie Graham.
Avarie Graham, the graphic design student, who designed the Garisoppa mini exhibit at the BUEI. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Avarie Graham graphic design intern at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Avarie Graham next to the Flash movie she created as part of the Gairsoppa mini exhibit at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published July 08, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated July 07, 2014 at 5:52 pm)

BUEI intern Avarie’s success explained in a Flash

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