All posts filed under: About

Biography 

Sharon E. (Libby) Clarke is an artist, designer, and educator living in Maplewood, NJ. She received her BFA in Printmaking and BA and French from James Madison University and her MFA in 2D Design / Printmaking from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Artist As an artist, Libby has produced a series of multi-media conceptual products under the name Monstress Productions since 1996. In 2000, she was awarded a project grant from the NEA to produce the first major showcase of these, the Monstress Activities Box. Her work has been exhibited and collected internationally. Educator Libby is the Director of the Studio School at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. She began teaching around New York City at FIT, NYU, AINYC, and GSS, teaching subjects such as web design, typography, drawing, and printmaking.  She served as an Assistant Professor at the New York College of Technology in Brooklyn, New York. for five years. She has given lectures on her work at the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center, California State University, the Southern Graphics Council International Conference, and …

Service Philosophy

Service (work you do for the good of your community, organization, or polity that is unpaid and often uncredited) is where I put the entirety of my work and life experience into practice. It is where I have to bring all I have learned to bear in the most humble way possible. It is slow, hard, and often feels unrewarding in the short term. It is usually done from within a committee, with people who have other methods, agendas, and motivations. It is infuriating, then amazing, then infuriating all over again. Make no mistake – for these and so many other reasons, I absolutely love service. Service work is the ultimate in design, people. Do service. Always do some service. It keeps your head the right size while sharpening your every skill. If you can’t find service work to do, pick up one juicy pro-bono client. GIVE BACK and you will give yourself so much more. It reminds you that you cannot always be in the game for money or fame. If you can be of service …

Research Statement

I push every facet of my practice towards helping myself and  others to become self-actualized and cogent cultural producers. I create, design, and teach in order to make the world a better place. My focus is the cultivation of emotional and intellectual metacognition. If I and my viewers learn more about how we process the world around us, we are far better equipped to live overall. This philosophy has imbued my every effort: my teaching, research, art-making, and design. Beginnings After I earned my BFA in Printmaking from James Madison University, I went on to Cranbrook Academy of Art where I studied 2D Design under P. Scott and Laurie Haycock Makela. They taught me to use my overriding obsession as a lens to look at the world, which utterly reworked my creative process. After years of trying to get my diaristic studies to catch take off, I developed a whole new body of work wherein I combined my activist urges with a love of typography and package design. This evolved into the Monstress Productions line …

Design Philosophy

To design is to care, to educate, and to facilitate. I design to make myself a better person within a better world. I design to be of service to all around me as the design process teaches me circumspection and empathy every new day. The design process has given me a means of developing my ethos to an actual working system: I face every part of my life using it to guide me. If I frame the issue at hand as an issue I could

Artist’s Statement & Portfolio

I create work that bridges the haptic and the virtual in order to change the world, one person at a time. In order to clarify this statement, I’d like to give you some context: I became a printmaker in college and it electrified me with the inks, the substrates, and the collaboration with the materials. Then there was the phenomenon of print as a social force: the legitimacy of the printed word and the power of the poster. I dove into all the processes I could, experimented with voice and began to find my way. The work I produced was diaristic and figurative but I could feel a centrifugal pull outwards, beyond my own needs. I pursued an MFA in Printmaking, only to find the department at my school in painful flux: the department head chose to shed a lot of equipment in order to make room for a proposed radio station and additional computers. It was a hard lesson: we as printmakers are the keepers of seemingly outdated technologies and sometimes struggle to prove …

Teaching Philosophy

I teach to empower my students and to enlighten myself, day after day after day. I have come upon the single core element I believe is essential for a successful creative life for any person: the practice of fearless play. The logic I try to get my students to internalize is this: if I cannot take risks in my learning, I will never innovate. If I cannot let go of the familiar or secure long enough to make bold conceptual leaps, I will never excel. If, however, I learn to give myself permission to be as bad or awkward as I need to be at something for a while, I will master the skill and move on to the next one. If I become proficient at this cycle of learning, I will be unstoppable no matter what I encounter. Teaching, in my mind, is full-on activism: I teach to help build the world in which I want to live. To this end, I strive to make my classes safe places so my students are secure …