Posts tagged alumni

Creative Center

Artist/teacher/painter/printmaker Mari Gyorgyey 86 PT has been making books for as long as she’s been making art. “It’s the centripetal force behind all my other creations,” says the Stamford, CT-based alumna.


“At RISD I was (not surprisingly) beyond encouraged to continue this habit. My books are in part a reflection of my thought process thoughout my lifetime.” 

Filling sketchbooks and creating artists’ books provides a “playground” for experimentation, Mari says. 


Mari’s Design Life (silk, drawings, design)

It’s “where I can paste in my etchings and alter them, try paintings, work with mixed media, practice drawing – and most of all, document reality between creating art. My books allow me the privacy to work out new ideas from the combinations, edit them and see how life influences my art – and vice versa.”


“Note to young bookmakers,” she adds: “Watch the food you glue in - after a decade it disintegrates.”


Frederico Garcia Lorca poem (collage, sewing on shower curtain)

Fairey Film Released for Real


Thanks to his phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign, filmmaker Julian Marshall 12 FAV was able to turn Obey the Giant, his much lauded senior film about RISD alum and street artist Shepard Fairey 92 IL,into a festival-ready tour de force.

From the somber, black-and-white opening credits, it’s clear that this is no amateur picture. The reedited, 23-minute film, which was shot at RISD last winter, tells the story of Fairey’s Andres the Giant street art campaign when he was at RISD in the early ’90s and Providence’s infamous ex-mayor Buddy Cianci was up for reelection.

Marshall is now running his own film production company in New York and working on a script about gun control in America. For more on the new release, see this interview on Unbeige.


Loving New York


Painter Sonya Sklaroff 92 PT loves living in New York – and it shows in the gorgeous cityscapes she creates, whether she’s capturing the light warming industrial watertowers at sunset….


or glistening off wet sidewalks in the snow and rain…


or wrapping the Highline in a soft lunar glow.


On Sunday a solo show of Sonya’s oil on panel paintings opened at Galerie Anagama in Versailles, France, where it’ll be on view through April 18. 


Sonya now has a couple of gallery reps in Paris, meaning the French are also channeling her love of New York through these lush, shimmering scenes of Manhattan.

Senior Critic Fred Lynch in our Illustration department will be lecturing in Barcelona this July at the 4th Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium on the topic of Journalistic Drawing. Congratulations, Fred! -JM

Senior Critic Fred Lynch in our Illustration department will be lecturing in Barcelona this July at the 4th Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium on the topic of Journalistic Drawing. Congratulations, Fred! -JM

Congratulations to Senior Critic Cyrus Highsmith 97 GD in our Graphic Design department for two of his typefaces being named in Typographica’s best of 2012! Bravo Heron and Serge from site! -JM

Talking About the Beauty of BEASTS


Last Thursday evening the RISD Auditorium was filled with Beasts lovers – students and other members of the RISD community who were profoundly moved and encouraged by the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild – due both to the impact of the film itself and the crazy communal, creative and hand-built way it was made.

Director Benh Zeitlin and his sister and artistic collaborator Eliza Zeitlin 08 SC were at RISD to talk with fervent fans about their process and what they hope to do now given the mutually inspirational group of collaborators – including several RISD alums – who got involved in the project.


Benh on the Beasts set with natural talent Quvenzhané Wallis, the phenomenal 6-year-old who earned an Oscar nomination for her first film role.

Students asked all sort of questions – mostly preceded by expressions of profound gratitude to the Zeitlins “for making such a beautiful film” – including what Eliza has learned about making art in the years since she graduated from RISD.

“The most important thing I’ve gleaned is to start with an idea but not a plan,” she responded. “If you just start and let the plan evolve naturally, you’ll reach a lot further.” You just need to sort of “guide” or channel the process, she said.


At RISD the Zeitlins showed a few minutes from Glory at Sea, a short film that was also set in the watery bayous outside of New Orleans and opened the door to making Beasts.

Among Benh’s many bits of advice for aspiring filmmakers and others students in the crowd: enjoy the “freedom” you have in college “to work all the time.” And recognize it as “a great time to find collaborators” you’ll want to work with in the future.

After graduation “don’t wait for permission to create art. Just do it,” Benh urged. “And don’t be afraid to be poor,” he added with a laugh. “It’ll kill you a lot more slowly than having a job you hate.”

Six Things About Happiness


Last week Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh, a new show focused on an ongoing project about happiness by Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh 08 GD, opened at The Jewish Museum in NYC. Just last spring, Sagmeister invited the über-talented young alum to become a partner in his NYC-based design firm.


The partners made a splash with the nude portrait of themselves they sent out to announce the birth of Sagmeister & Walsh, which is known for its smart, playful, tactile, existential and multidisciplinary approach to design.


Making the typographic film If I Don’t Ask I Won’t Get

As Walsh explains in this post, Sagmeister has been researching the nature of happiness for almost a decade, wondering: “Is it possible to train my mind in the same way I train my body?” In Six Things, the studio is presenting five short films and a sculpture investigating factors that contribute to his own happiness, namely: 


  • If I Don’t Ask I Won’t Get
  • Keeping a Diary Supports Personal Development 
  • Be More Flexible
  • It Is Pretty Much Impossible to Please Everybody
  • Now Is Better
  • Feel Others Feel

Given a recent nationwide survey that says Jews report the highest levels of well-being among all religious groups, Sagmeister & Walsh present their personal meditation on happiness along with some interesting supporting data.


Six Things continues at The Jewish Museum through August 4. 

RISD Apparel Design grad Tae Ashida 87 AP let me know that her show in Tokyo is going to be live streaming shortly. The info is below. Congratulations, Tae! -JM
Ms Ashida New Collection: Livestreaming on Thursday from 4:30pm Japan time, 7:30am GMT as part of JFW (Japan Fashion Week):

RISD Apparel Design grad Tae Ashida 87 AP let me know that her show in Tokyo is going to be live streaming shortly. The info is below. Congratulations, Tae! -JM

Ms Ashida New Collection: Livestreaming on Thursday from 4:30pm Japan 
time, 7:30am GMT as part of JFW (Japan Fashion Week):

California-based animal lover and artist Jane Kim 03 PR is on a mission to create a series of roadside murals to help connect the public with some of the most endangered species living nearby.

She recently completed murals along California’s Route 395 highlighting the plight of the 500 elusive Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep remaining in the mountains and is now working to raise funds to continue her conservation work.

Find out more about Kim’s Migrating Murals project in this story on Jane is also planning to return RISD this fall for her 10th reunion and will be doing a public art project on campus on Saturday, October 12 as part of RISD by Design weekend.


The amazing Zeitlins – director Benh Zeitlin and his sister Eliza Zeitlin 08 SC – are coming to RISD this week to talk about their exceptional film, Beasts of the Southern Wild.

If you haven’t yet seen it, see if there are any more free student tickets at CSI for the 7:30 pm screening on Wednesday. You’ll also need a ticket for the next night – to hear the Zeitlins talk about what they did to make their very first film one that became an indie favorite last year while also getting nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress!

Read the RISD XYZ feature article Living Beasts (it starts on page 20) for more about the role Eliza and three other alumni played in making the film what it is.


In 2012 Nick Felton 99 GD (aka Feltron) drank a grand total of one soda (ginger ale), 272 beers – mostly IPAs – and 1,484 glasses of water. How do we know? He kept track and is now telling us – in the latest edition of his annual Feltron Report, an obsessive, data-driven report about his personal life that he’s been publishing since 2005.


So who is Nick Felton and who cares what time he drinks coffee every morning? Maybe you don’t (it’s around 10:40), but Nick is an info-graphics specialist who’s intrigued by technology, data and how people live in a wired world. He has been recognized as one of the 50 most influential designers in America and last year earned the RISD Alumni Association’s Business of Design Award.


For his 2012 report, Felton partnered up with a friend to code an iPhone app called Reporter to simplify the process of recording every detail of his day-to-day life. Every 90 minutes, the app buzzes him to automatically record his coordinates and ask the same set of questions about what he’s doing and wearing, who he’s with, etc. If you’re just pining to keep stats on your own every move, Reporter is expected to go on sale later this year.

Find out more in Fast Company’s look at Nick’s latest data confessional.

Costume designer and Assistant Professor of Apparel Design Beth Bentley 83 AP recently worked with fellow alum Toots Zynsky 73 GL to create costumes for Orchis, an original multimedia work developed by Festival Ballet Providence (FBP) and premiering this weekend at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence.

In addition to Orchis, the company will stage George Balanchine’s masterpiece Agon from March 8–10. FBP is offering members of the RISD community 15% off all ticket prices (use discount code CEALBE).

In this video Stuart Murphy 64 IL, a prolific author, visual learning specialist and former RISD trustee, talks about why picture books speak to kids so effectively. It accompanies Pearson Education’s release of Stuart J. Murphy’s I See I Learn at School, a new classroom package for pre-K through first-grade teachers that will extend the reach of his 16 I See I Learn picture books, created to help teach kids about positive behavior and basic life skills.

Murphy, whose monumental MathStart series of 63 books has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, says he’s thrilled to be able to broaden the scope of his more recent series.  

I See I Learn at School will give teachers materials to extend the stories and help children think further about applying the lessons and ideas in the books to their own lives,” he says. “I have spent my career with one foot in the educational market and one foot in the trade market, and it is very exciting for me to now have I See I Learn available to both markets at the same time.”

Check out this Publishers’ Weekly story for more.

Check out this great clip! Yesterday, CNN’s The Next List featured a segment on Diana Eng 05 AP, a phenomenal Brooklyn-based designer, hacker and tech wiz who incorporates circuits, microchips and thermo-reactive fabrics into very wearable clothing.

It’s “fashion engineered from daydreams” the STEAM-driven designer sums up on her site. Take a look at the Next List blog for more on Diana, along with a couple more short videos on her designs and approach.

With Oscar-mania reaching a full frenzy leading up to the big day, anyone plugged into just about any device is likely to hear about Seth MacFarlane 95 FAV, if they haven’t already. The semi-“controversial” host of this year’s awards ceremony – who’s also a multitalented jokester-of-a-thousand voices – just may push the envelope on Sunday night, even in Hollywood.

When asked how he thought he’d do as the man of the hour (or two), he told ABC News he’ll probably stand out as the “most astonishingly dazzlingly mediocre” Oscar host in recent memory. (Or not. You’ll have to tune in to judge for yourself.)

p.s. Here’s hoping cinematographer Robert Richardson 79 FAV nabs another gold statue – this time for his work on Django Unchained.