More fun and games from Sagmeister & Walsh, the NYC design firm where Jessica Walsh 08 GD and Stefan Sagmeister continue to attract plenty of attention for their no-holds-barred work.
Their latest design stunt involves a faux contest between the two principals to “make an interpretive graphic” of the Adobe logo in front of a live panel of judges. Jessica’s first A (above) – made in minutes using a deconstructed piñata and raw eggs – tied for votes with Stefan’s first A (below).
You can follow along and watch each intentionally schlocky video challenge on their Adobe Remix site.
Starling flight paths
A recent story in the online news and technology magazine Mashable features time-lapse videos by Film/Animation/Video Department Head Dennis Hlynsky 74 FAV, pointing out their connection to RISD’s STEM to STEAM initiative. His work highlights “what a partnership between the arts and the sciences could mean for inquiry in both fields,” notes Mashable. And Cape Cod NPR affiliate WCAI concurs, having visited RISD to discuss STEAM with Director of Government Relations Babette Allina, who shared Hlynsky’s explorations as an example of STEAM at work.
Duck wending across the water over time
Hlynsky’s videos use Adobe After Effects to track the movements of individual creatures within larger groups. A swirl of starlings in his Murmuration of Starlings piece, for example, reads like a map with the paths of each bird plotted out in space. “I’m not making a film,” he says, “but conducting an observation over time.”
Gulls in flight
Mashable also spoke to Neal Overstrom, director of the Nature Lab, who notes that scientists studying wildlife could use Hlynsky’s work to further their research. “Art and science are complementary modes of inquiry,” he says. “They help us understand the world.” And as Vice Provost Carol Strohecker points out in the same story, the videos allow us to study the animals captured on film while at the same time appreciating the elegance of their movements.
According to Forbes, Lit Motors founder Danny Kim 09 ID is feeling a lot more optimistic these days about being able to bring his edgy electric cycle-car to market – soon enough that he can almost begin to feel it.
New investors such as Mark Pincus, Kim Jung-Ju, Scott Belsky and Kelly Slater are reportedly pumping another $1 million into Lit Motors, enabling the company to finalize its C-1 model (below) by the end of this month, according to Forbes. “[The funding] is basically enabling us to hire a full engineering team and build a brand new… high-speed driving prototype,” says Kim.
The Career Center reports that four current students – Mackin Brinegar 15 ID, Elio Icaza 15 ID, Conor Oberlander 15 ID and Peter Borges 15 ID – had the opportunity to intern at Lit Motors over Wintersession.
Find more about Kim’s plans for “creating the future of transportation” in the illuminating video accompany yesterday’s Forbes story. (And check out Lit Motors’ enticing kubo scooter, too.)
Altered State Library, a series of paintings by Katie Herzog 01 PT showing the interior of a public library through the lens of various psychedelic drugs, closes this weekend (March 9) at Monte Vista Projects in Los Angeles. The solo show – her first with Monte Vista Projects – examines “the embodied subject in contemporary information theory, as information culture moves further into the digital realm and library buildings become defined by sensory perception.”
A former librarian with an ongoing fascination for “librarianna” (she directs the Molesworth Institute as a means of keeping her interest alive), Herzog says that inspiration for Altered State Library also “came from P. N. Witt’s infamous research on the effect of drugs on spiders in 1948, the chemical relationship between paint and madness, and the perceived identity crisis of the contemporary librarian.”
Local media continues to be drawn to Votelab: Designing for Democracy, a Wintersession studio that challenged students to examine national election policies and propose inventive ways to increase voter turnout. Last night NBC 10 aired a news story on the designers’ efforts to make Rhode Island’s election materials more consistent and user-friendly.
“The [Rhode Island voting process] just seemed incredibly confusing and intimidating,” explains Evan Brooks 14 GD in the segment (above). “By designing [ballots] in a neater way, it saves work for both the Board of Elections and the volunteer poll workers.”
Students recently met with state officials to propose that all polling signs be printed on bright blue paper. According to Brooks, the change would make it less irksome for voters to navigate their way to the election booths. They also tweaked the font on the ballots to make it easier for constituents to distinguish between English and Spanish text. The proposed ballot redesigns could be implemented in time for November’s election.
Rhode Island Public Radio also covered the studio in an Artscape story that aired at the end of February.
To learn more about Votelab, check out this news story on risd.edu.
Healthcare technology entrepreneurs gathered at RISD last Thursday for For the Love of Entrepreneurship, an event organized by the Rhode Island networking cooperative MedMates. During a series of high-speed product presentations, participants previewed an incredible range of inventions in various stages of development. Designs in the works address such wide-ranging medical concerns as nerve damage, brain injury, implant rejection, smoking, diabetes and cancer. A panel of business leaders also shared their experiences with startups, responding to the prevailing question of the day: “How do I get someone like you to invest in someone like me?”
Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Patti Phillips (above) welcomed participants and noted that health and wellness is a growing area of interest among RISD students and faculty. Alumnus Stephen Lane 85 ID (below) – co-founder of Ximedica, a leader in Rhode Island’s growing medical technology industry – praised RISD’s increasingly cross-disciplinary philosophy and credited “the power of blurry lines” for propelling innovation.
RISD’s Board of Trustees met in New York City late last week as a means of reconnecting with the many people in the RISD community who call the city home. It also allowed the Board to fully appreciate RISD in the larger context of a thriving art world.
On Thursday evening, trustees engaged with alumni, parents, curators, gallery owners, faculty and other RISD enthusiasts at the renowned Cheim & Read Gallery (run by John Cheim 77 PT, above left, and Howard Read 76 PH, to the far right, with Katia Read 76 SC and Board Chair Michael Spalter).
On Friday trustees convenved at MoMA to conduct the formal business of the Board, including budget discussions and faculty appointments. They welcomed Apparel Design alumna Nicole Miller 73 AP as their newest member, following the October election of Steven Perelman, a New York businessman, lawyer and contemporary art collector.
Interim President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID (above middle) and Executive Director Mara Hermano (to her left) presented a copy of their book The Art of Critical Making to Paola Antonelli, MoMA’s senior curator of Architecture + Design.
“A significant portion of the Board’s time was focused on our leadership transition and our plans for a presidential search,” Board Chair Michael Spalter (above with Somerson) notes in a message sent to the RISD community. Trustees developed “guiding principles” for the search and agreed on a process for identifying relevant search firms and appointing a search committee. More news about the presidential search will be forthcoming as it develops, Spalter says.
While in NYC, trustees such as Vice Chair Lisa Pevaroff 83 TX (shown here with Professor Congdon) and other members of the RISD community visited Horton Gallery on the Lower East Side, where Painting Professor Dennis Congdon 75 PT talked about the work on view in his solo show, which just completed its run last Sunday.
Trustees also visited James Carpenter Design Associates, the Manhattan studio where glass maverick Jamie Carpenter 72 IL (shown above) masters the use of light through his beautiful architectural glass designs.
photos by Matthew Watson 09 FAV
Professor Dennis Congdon 75 PT has been getting a lot of love recently. His New York show was not only favorably reviewed in the New York Times last week, he also entertained not one, but two gatherings of RISD visitors on Saturday. A group of trustees (in town for a New York-based meeting) visited his show at Horton Gallery in the morning, followed by RISD/NY club members in the afternoon. It was a lively visit that ended in convivial conversation at a local bar.
Last Thursday students were positively tickled to visit with representatives from Pixar, the groundbreaking animation studio famous for producing such modern classics as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. In a packed lecture held in the RISD Auditorium, Pixar Technical Director Michael Frederickson revealed some of the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into making the studio’s Academy Award-winning films.
For instance, when designing the backdrop of the action comedy Cars 2, the Brown alum rendered 40,000 individual buildings to accurately portray the architectural complexity of London. “I spend hours and hours agonizing over the smallest detail,” Frederickson told the audience. “There’s a lot of collaboration that has to happen before we get to the good stuff.”
He was also instrumental in designing some of the physical attributes of the main characters in Up, the heartwarming film about a boy and a 78-year-old man who fly to South America by fastening thousands of helium-filled balloons to a house (pictured above). Scott Clark 96 IL was the lead animator on the 2009 project.
In addition to sharing secrets of the trade, the Pixar crew also visited campus with a specific mission in mind: to enlist RISD talent. Senior Recruiter Peggy Dollaghan encouraged current students and recent graduates with animation expertise to apply to the company’s training program. Frederickson added that he interned with Pixar before landing his “dream job” at the California-based studio.
“The amount of talent here in this room is humbling,” Frederickson told the RISD students in the audience. “It’s inspiring to imagine all the great things you’ll go off and do.”
Go to Pixar’s website to read more on how to apply for an internship.
RISD’s friends and neighbors at Brown University are celebrating a major milestone this spring, kicking off a serious series of anniversary events later this week. And they’re inviting everyone at RISD to join in the festivities.
This Friday at 6:30 pm a day full of performances and exhibitions will culminate in toasts, tributes, a giant cake and fireworks on the College Green. On Saturday Brown flings open its doors for public tours and will host a full-day President’s Colloquium on the Virtues of Liberal Education (sadly, this ticketed event is already fully booked).
All this week Rhode Island Public Radio is focusing on Brown’s history through a series of interesting stories that started airing today. And you can find out more about our much older neighbor – founded in 1764, a full century before RISD had even become a glimmer in anyone’s eye – on the lovely Brown 250 site, which also explains more about the happy hoopla in the offing this spring.
As part of Mapping Learning, a year-long series of discussions about RISD’s core mission, a panel of students and faculty members came together last week to think holistically about global engagement at RISD and how it might evolve in the near future. With 28% of RISD’s students now non-US citizens (up from 17% in 2007), the Office of International Student Services (OISS) and the RISD Writing Center (the offices that worked with Global Partners + Programs to organize the event) strive to provide them with the support they need to succeed.
As Chinese student Mingfei Song 14 IA pointed out, language is not the only challenge. Students from different cultures reason differently and look at design differently as well. “But strong ideas speak for themselves,” Song added.
Recent Uruguayan alumna Agustina Bello MFA 13 TX (whose work is shown above) contributed to the discussion via a pre-recorded video, noting that the RISD experience helped her define her own work by making her more aware of cultural influences. All of the students on the panel agreed that the international nature of the RISD community is a key benefit for American students as well.
Gwen Farrelly, director of Global Partners + Programs, one of the three RISD departments that helped organize last week’s discussion.
Professor of Interior Architecture Eduardo Duarte (a native of Portugal) approached the global question from the opposite perspective: of introducing RISD ideas and professors into the wider world. Duarte talked about his fall Interior Architecture studio Layered Worlds, which included a nine-day residency at Carpe Diem, an art center in Lisbon where RISD students exhibited site-specific installations. Duarte engaged his overseas partners virtually before the actual trip, which set the students up for “a fantastic engagement.”
Alumni Sara Greenberger Rafferty 00 PH (whose acrylic polymer and inkjet print is shown above) and Laura Owens 92 PT are among the leading contemporary artists whose work will appear in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, which opens a week from today in NYC.
A story in today’s New York Times highlights Owens for being among the “women [who] are revitalizing abstract painting.”
A detail from Owens’ Untitled (2013, oil, flashe, acrylic, bike wheels, training wheels, wagon wheels, and tricycle wheel on linen, 108 x 84”)
Based in Los Angeles, Owens is represented by Gavin Brown in NYC, Sadie Coles in London and Galerie Gisela Capitain in Cologne.
Another Owens painting from 2013 (charcoal, resin, acrylic and oil paint on linen, 137.5 x 120”)
Rafferty works out of her studio in Brooklyn (below), where she pushes the bounds of photography, often working with acrylic polymer, acetate, Plexiglas and other unorthodox materials in making compelling pictures. She’s represented by Rachel Uffner Gallery on the Lower East Side.
“Together, the 103 participants [in this year’s biennial] offer one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years,” notes Donna De Salvo, chief curator and deputy director for programs at the Whitney.
True to form, with the start of spring semester a couple of weeks ago, students across campus dove back in wherever they had left off.
In Graphic Design all sophomores are continuing to develop their personal relationships with typography in one of the five Type II sections offered this semester.
Adjunct faculty member Micah Barrett 12 GD shared these photos from the first week of his section, where students began by working on letter dissections and patterns as a means of further honing their eye and feel for type.
Over the course of the semester, a serious series of assignments that require painstaking precision and a thoughtful approach to sequence and relationships enables students to better understand letter spacing, the impact of scale and why an acute sensitivity to type really matters for the success of strong work in graphic design.
Half Woman Quarter Bird, a 1974 bronze sculpture by Howard Newman 69 ID, is included in a new exhibition opening today at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection “encompasses the range of what can broadly be called modern realism, from socio-political to psychological, from satirical to surrealist.” The 70 paintings and sculptural works created between 1910 and 1990 will remain on view through August 17.
photo by Dave Hansen
Newman lives in Newport, RI, where he spends his time painting, sculpting and restoring historic metalwork. Though he focused on silversmithing at RISD, he has subsequently moved to bronze. Two of his pieces – Torso #1 (below) and Female Torso (Birth Series) – are on display on the grounds of the Newport Art Museum, and he is currently working on a bronze fountain for Providence’s Decatur Square.
photo by John Bender | RI Public Radio
This morning Rhode Island Public Radio aired an Artscape story on RISD’s VoteLab Wintersession studio. Taught by Graphic Design Critic Benjamin Shaykin MFA 11 GD, the studio on ballot design grew out of research Graphic Design seniors Keela Potter 14 GD and Kelsey Lim 14 GD started last summer as Maharam Fellows working with Rhode Island’s Board of Elections.
You can listen to RIPR’s full 8-minute-long story here.