Our RISD

Aug 29

Celebrating the Land

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Landscape Architecture students who took Nick Pouder’s Ecological Planning & Design studio several years ago have reason to celebrate today as they’re seeing the fruits of their labor pay off.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is doing the honors at the grand opening of the East Kent Hamlet Nature Preserve, a former Girl Scout camp in Connecticut that is being preserved in perpetuity as open land for hikers and nature lovers.

RISD students helped analyze and map the area prior to its purchase, noting that the 263 wooded acres include such historic sites as Kent County’s first iron forge and the Barnum family farm and are home to bobcats, bears and barn owls.

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Aug 28

From East to West

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Trapping Birds 2014, a painting by Professor David Frazer 70 PT, is featured on the cover of the current issue of Art in China magazine. It’s one of 14 Frazer paintings included in the summer exhibition No Room for Form: Contemporary Paintings from American Artists at the SZ Art Center in Beijing. 

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Now that the show has closed in Beijing, it’s en route to the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, where it will be on view from September 18 through October 6.

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Frazer (third from left) traveled to China for the exhibition opening in June and is currently driving 30 of his paintings across the US for a related exhibition at the soon-to-be-opened International Art Center of San Francisco. Both shows feature his work along with that of three other painters: Fred MartinJeremy Morgan and Ming Ren

Aug 27

Rebranding Barnard

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The NYC-based design firm Poulin + Morris – led by Richard Poulin and Douglas Morris 85 GD – is currently at work changing the face of Barnard College. The firm’s rebranding work includes comprehensive environmental graphics and wayfinding signage that will appear across the four-acre Upper West Side campus. A newly designed crest has been added to the main and secondary entrances, and large-scale placards at each of the college’s four corners clearly define Barnard’s physical borders.

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More Doodle Fun @Google

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In an interview that aired Monday evening on NPR’s show Marketplace, Google Doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino 10 IL talks about making this animation to mark the 87th birthday of tennis and golf legend Althea Gibson. You can hear the short interview on the Marketplace Tech site.

Aug 26

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Eye-Opening Experiences

Summer has always been the prime time for internships – especially for RISD students, whose schedules don’t allow for that level of commitment during the academic year.

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As a summer intern at Lit Motors in San Francisco, Jamar Bromley MFA 15 GD has been designing graphics for the company’s soon-to-be released micro car.

This summer the RISD Career Center reports that 360 students have been participating in credit-bearing internships throughout the country. They’re working for both large and small organizations, gaining insight into what it’s like to work everyplace from Facebook, Google, Pixar, IDEO and Kohn Pederson to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Lit Motors and on the Woody Allen film being shot in Rhode Island this summer.

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In addition to the series of stories on the risd.edu site about summer internships (see Full Throttleabout Graphic Design student Jamar Bromley’s internship at Lit Motors, and True Teamworkabout Cathy Lee 15 GD interning at IDEO), a student blog team in Industrial Design has been running Inter(n)view, a “summer exclusive” about internships ID majors are pursuing this summer.

Bloggers Jie Gao 15 ID, Matt Lim 16 ID and Rosrena Wong 15 ID have been tracking the experiences of their friends and classmates – from Allison Carter 16 ID (above) at MatterMade in Brooklyn to Jake Amrhein 16 ID (below), who has been having a heck of a summer interning at Michael Singer’s studio in Vermont.

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Aug 22

Biennial Bojagi Forum

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Chunghie Lee’s wearable Blue Durumagi

Designers from around the world are convening from this Sunday, August 24 through Thursday, August 28 for the 2014 Korea Bojagi Forum on Jeju Island, off the southern coast of Korea. The forum will include an exhibition of work by more than 100 artists inspired by bojagi, the traditional Korean patchwork cloths dating back as far as the 15th century.

RISD Textiles Critic Chunghie Lee, who has been a strong proponent of bojagi here in the US, is directing the forum and will show her own work along with 10 Seam Variations, a collaborative piece created by RISD students. Among the lecturers at the gathering are Assistant Professor Mary Anne Friel, graduate program director in Textiles, and Continuing Ed instructor Jiyoung Chung 02 PT.

Sherman Shapes New Looks

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Known for developing original artwork as the essence of branding, longtime Illustration faculty member Oren Sherman 78 IL recently struck licensing deals with Brintons Carpets, SK Linens and Keka, a company that creates iPhone and iPad covers. Through eye-catching designs like his Passionate Paisley he plans to create an inspiring “cross-platform, one-stop collection.”

Aug 21

Food (+Drink) for Thought

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On her visually appealing and very satisfying site Salad for President, NYC-based artist/photographer Julia Sherman 06 PH taps into our abiding interest in good food and curiosity about other people’s kitchens and taste. She’s clearly comfortable chatting with, cooking and sharing recipes made by her interesting circle of friends – artists, designers, restaurateurs and fellow makers.

In a recent post Sherman features a recipe for Dike Blair’s Fresh Bloody Mary along with luscious imagery and a great interview with longtime RISD Painting faculty member Dike Blair.

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“If you are lucky, you had a professor or a mentor at some point in your life who took a particular interest in you, who both treated you like a peer and expected you to live up to their standards at the same time – someone whose attention felt so valuable, you didn’t quite know what you had done to deserve it,” Sherman writes in introducing the Q+A with Blair, who has played that role in her life.

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At one point in the interview, Sherman asks Blair if “there is enough cynicism in art school… since the truth is, there just isn’t room for us all in the market of the ‘professional’ art world.”

Blair’s response: “I think one needs to know that the odds of being commercially successful [as a fine artist] are extremely long. That’s not really cynical, it’s realistic.” He also points out that in his teaching – especially at the graduate level – he emphasizes “the desirability of developing a ‘practice’ that is compelling enough to pursue without tangible reward.”

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gouache and paper on pencil piece by Dike Blair

 

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Coming Home to Drawing

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“Drawing is the bedrock of everything I do,” says Susan Stillman 78 IL, who has illustrated several books and created hundreds of editorial illustrations for Esquire, The New York Times and countless other clients. In addition to teaching at Parsons, she also runs a business called Home Portraits, painting the personalities of individual homes on commission.

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“While my painting has focused on the landscape for so many years, my love of drawing the figure has continued to be fueled through the classes I teach – from life studies and from museum visits to draw from sculpture,” Stillman says. 

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After years of keeping her sketches “confined in sketchbooks stacked on a shelf,” Stillman says she was inspired to share a few samples of her own after seeing “what the community is doing” through RISD XYZ and XYZmail.

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Aug 20

Loving Obsession

To mark yesterday’s release of the latest Feltron Annual Report, the New York Times posted this great video interview with Nicholas Felton 99 GD as part of a story called A Life in Data: Nicholas Felton’s Self-Surveillance.

In designing the presentation of his personal doings in 2013, Felton “gathered 94,824 data points, including content and metadata from 44,041 text messages, 31,769 emails and 4,511 Facebook messages. He also tracked the 1,719 pieces of physical mail he sent and received, and documented the 12,464 face-to-face conversations he had.”

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In the end, Felton told the Times that his wonderfully obsessive and very literal self-analysis leads him to conclude that he needs “to do a better job of engaging in more meaningful communication and spend less time with trivial email and social media.” Sounds like sound advice for us all.

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Act Fast to Cast Your Vote …

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Now that DesignIntelligence is conducting its annual online survey of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, it’s not too late to cast your vote for RISD. The survey for hiring design professionals and firms closes this Friday, August 22, and the student survey closes the following Friday, August 29.

Survey results are used to rank US-based departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture and Industrial Design. RISD made the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Top 10 in undergraduate Architecture programs.

Aug 19

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NEA Chair Jane Chu Visits RISD

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Jane Chu enjoyed a brief tour of selected highlights at RISD.

Yesterday, August 18, leaders of the RISD community welcomed several special guests to campus: Jane Chu, recently appointed chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), US Senator Jack Reed  (D-RI) and Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

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As Board Chair Michael Spalter, Provost Pradeep Sharma and Museum Director John Smith greeted the group in the Chace Center, Sharma talked about RISD’s STEAM initiative, explaining how it inextricably links innovation, collaboration and technology within a clear social context.

In providing Chairman Chu with historical background on the STEAM movement, Vice Provost Carol Strohecker noted that since 2010 the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been working with the NEA and an international community of researchers, educators and leaders to revitalize ailing economies. 

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Associate Vice President Greg Victory offered concrete examples of how current students make an impact well beyond the typical realms of art and design, citing the work being done by recipients of the Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design. “They’re able to have a real impact because they’re not afraid to pose questions and take risks,” Victory noted.

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Assistant Professor of Industrial Design Cas Holman demonstrated her Rigamajig building kit for kids, explaining to Chairman Chu and Senator Reed that the role of designers in the STEAM movement is to “enrich and contextualize” the other disciplines. What’s important for educators working with her kit, she noted, is not so much the things that kids create with it, but the act of freeform making itself.

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RISD Board Chair Michael Spalter listens intently as NEA Chair Jane Chu responds to what she’s seeing during her visit to campus.

Chairman Chu expressed interest in how the Rigamajig is used in classrooms and also in the notion of object-based inquiry introduced by Assistant Dean of Faculty Tracie Costantino.

After the informal gathering at the Chace Center, the group enjoyed a quick tour of the Nature Lab led by Director Neal Overstrom and a demonstration of RISD’s ever-inspiring electronic jacquard loom. 

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all photos by David O’Connor