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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Last week, in the first talk in the Graphic Design department’s 2014 Visiting Designers Lecture Series, Dan Michaelson discussed his thought-provoking work with partner Tamara Maletic. Through their NYC firm Linked by Air they specialize in designing interactive websites for such organizations as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Yale School of Art as well as unique physical spaces for clients like the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and Printed Matter. The threads that connect their projects, says Michaelson, are modularity and participation.
A Linked by Air installation proposed for a building in Chelsea
“We usually start with a sketch of a completed website and then break it down into modules that site visitors can edit,” Michaelson explains. On the Whitney’s website, for example, users can create their own pages – accessible to all – with images of their artwork. The children’s version of the site, which Michaelson described as “more sophisticated and more hallucinogenic,” provides easy-to-use tools like Pattern Maker so that kids can contribute their own ideas.
An image created using Pattern Maker
Linked by Air also created a modular, participatory site for the Yale School of Art, which (Michaelson shared with a certain amount of pride) was named “suckiest website of 2010” by the social news and entertainment site Reddit. “The radical experiment in content production” was based on a physical notice board, where the terrain and information are constantly changing. “The site is now seven years old,” Michaelson notes. “It’s not great every day, but it still feels new every day.”
Signage at the AIGA’s 365 Show in New York
At a standing-room-only presentation at the CIT last week, Professor Paul Sproll, head of RISD’s Teaching + Learning in Art + Design department, spoke about using his 2012–13 sabbatical to “reinvent and reengineer art education” with an eye toward integrating design thinking into art classrooms for all ages.
Project Open Door, an experimental program Sproll spearheaded at RISD, continues to inspire educators both in the US and abroad.
During his sabbatical, Sproll traveled to Baltimore to speak at Maryland Institute College of Art about a newly launched design high school and to Finland to present at the World Alliance for Arts Education Summit. He also spread the word about STEAM and visual learning from Texas to Maine to Missouri.
A teacher at work at last summer’s 2013 Teachers’ Studio Institute.
When he wasn’t on the road, Sproll was busy reworking his curriculum model of inquiry, which focuses on learning and the creative process (vs. the end product). He also orchestrated the 2013 Teachers’ Studio Institute at RISD, where K-12 art educators spent a week in July getting creatively refreshed and making individual pieces for Grand Scale, a stunning exhibition shown on campus. He closed his sabbatical presentation with an inspiring video of the teachers at work.
Foundation Studies students in Beginning Hot Glass – a Wintersession studio taught by Doreen Garner MFA 14 GL – celebrated their last day of class on Friday by competing in the Glass Olympics, a heated session to test their newly acquired glassmaking skills.
During one of the challenges held in the Hot Shop, students made icicle-shaped objects by dripping gobs of molten glass off the end of a blowpipe (shown above). “We’re literally going to drop it like it’s hot,” quipped Eric Hernandez 17 FS as he adjusted his safety glasses.
Students also attempted to blow the largest glass bubbles possible – a challenge that involves preventing the spheres from bursting before they cool into solid form. “To be a glass artist, you have to always be working on your technique – and have a lot of patience!” exclaimed Garner.