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Colin Campbell '04 Serves as Series Host and Artist for New PBS Show

TIME TEAM AMERICA, 'Part Extreme Adventure, Part Hard Science, and Part Reality Show,' Premieres July 8

Posted 05.11.09 by MICA Media Relations

Colin Campbell '04 is the sketch artist and series host of TIME TEAM AMERICA.

MICA alumnus Colin Campbell '04 is the host of the new PBS series, TIME TEAM AMERICA, which premieres July 8.  The show takes a group of archaeologists and scientists and puts them in a tough situation: they have just 72 hours to investigate a site and report back on their findings.

Originally hired as the sketch artist and the show's only non-archaeologist member, Campbell was named the series host when he started asking the probing questions ordinary viewers would ask.

"I create drawings on site and after the shoots, based upon the experts' guidance, that help tell the story of the archaeological sites," Campbell said. "I draw things like the houses the inhabitants might have lived in, tools they would have used, or just everyday life scenes, to be used as talking points with the experts and help give an immediate sense of history for the viewers. As the host, it's my job to ask the questions a non-archaeologist would ask, which fits nicely into the artist role -- trying to understand how to exactly draw the type of house or arrow, for example -- and present the episode to the audience."

The premiere episode takes team members to Fort Raleigh, N.C., where they untangle the mystery of the first English settlement in America: 116 settlers vanished from Roanoke Island more than 400 years ago. In future episodes they wade into the alligator swamps of South Carolina to search for evidence of North America's first human inhabitants, walk the time-buried streets of the first American town founded by former slaves, and venture into remote red-rock canyons where the Fremont Indians lived 1,000 years ago in a rugged, unforgiving landscape.

Campbell studied painting, ceramics, and computer animation as a general fine arts major and art history minor at MICA. This background gives him an eye for unusual artifacts, an appreciation of the past, and the skill to draw an excavation site as it would have appeared years ago, according to PBS.

Campbell secured the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity thanks to a MICA connection. Andy McDonald, who served as director of housing from 1999-2003 and director of career development from 2003-2005, and since moved to Portland, Ore., was contacted by Oregon Public Broadcasting (the show's producer), and asked to recommend someone for the role of sketch artist.

"I was one of the people he thought of as being qualified in this position," Campbell said. "After they contacted me and asked me for a drawing test, they offered me the job over a dinner interview. The hosting aspect came later, after the first episode shoot when they decided they thought I could handle it and liked the dual role of the artist who is talking to all the archaeologists trying to complete historically accurate drawings." According to Campbell, there's a lesson here about making connections as a student because you never know where they might lead later on in your career. He observed that this opportunity with PBS has its roots in "the fact that I needed a student job as a freshman, was hired to staff the security desk at the Commons, and worked hard at that job."

In 2005, Campbell, alongside his father Alan Campbell (also an artist), traveled to Antarctica for 10 weeks on a grant from the National Science Foundation's prestigious Artists and Writers Program to produce paintings of the regional landscape and wildlife. Since that trip, his Antarctic paintings have been exhibited across the U.S., and Campbell has traveled internationally to lecture on the experience as well as the role of art in the sciences. His work is part of a group exhibition at the Maryland Science Center through Labor Day.

Campbell is currently an environmental artist at Big Huge Games in Timonium, Md. His work, along with other video game artists, illustrators, and comic book artists, will be included in a two-month group exhibition, VS., at the Windup Space beginning Friday, June 5.

Image credit: Colin Campbell '04 is the sketch artist and series host of TIME TEAM AMERICA. (Photo by Crystal Street, courtesy of Oregon Public Broadcasting.)



Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

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