All posts filed under: Research

Kinetic Vis Comm: Where My Research is Leading Me

I have lived, played, or worked in Visual Communication in some way for nearly 30 years, since the days I discovered I had to draw in order to stay sane. I have been through the waves of self-development and technological change and now that I teach these skills to others, I am always looking for ways to give the most high-impact lessons at the right time. Now, as I find myself drawn to physical computing and other modalities, I have to regroup and figure out how to show my students how to engage as beginners. Once I started teaching at the college level, I taught straight-up web design for a number of years–it taught me process, code, order, and clarity. Now that web design has been tamed rather a lot, I am anxious to find another compelling way into the conundrum of how to show students what is truly possible without overwhelming them from the start. The rub is this: how can I awaken my students to all that is possible without immediately lashing them to the …

Why Printmaking is Important (And Always Will Be)

I have been getting a lot of questions about bringing the arts back into classrooms of all sorts, so I have begun a series of articles I hope to compile into an eBook for instructors. As an ardent S.T.E.A.M. proponent, an artist, and an interaction designer, I feel we must be able to give our students a wide gamut of experiences in our classrooms in order for them to succeed. Printmaking is a huge part of my personal approach. Printing $500 Bills I still remember when I pulled my first print: I was 22, working on my BFA, and I had no idea what printmaking actually was. I knew I couldn’t afford the supplies for the painting classes and that my allergies had cut short my ceramics career (darned clay dust), so here I sat in a musty basement studio chipping away on some linoleum. It was a simple one-color linocut: I created a composition, transferred it to my block, and carved it out as best I could. I inked it up, ran it through the press, …

Living Lab Symposium

I presented my work to my fellows at City Tech during the event From Microbes to Stars: A Living Lab General Education Symposium. My presentation centered on the ways that high-impact teaching practices had influenced my instructional style, specifically in terms of collaborative research projects. Symposium Agenda 10.23.15

The Game of Love Lives On!

It’s been a couple of years since I created this piece and lo and behold, it has more legs than I ever expected! My Game of Love was used as a part of a Valentine’s Day lesson in a school district in Vietnam. I am now reworking the game to make it more interactive and may finally revive the coded version as well. Thank you so much, Language Link Vietnam! The instructor has sent some great feedback and I am busily doing my second edition.

Portfolio: Research

My research is all about finding ways for myself and others to create strong, socially constructive work using whatever tools at hand. As my students are mostly young digital natives, there are specific issues I must untangle and conquer in the classroom. In order to get them to loosen up as much as I need to, I use altruism and compassionate research as a means to carry them farther into the new than they ever thought they could go. The samples below show some of the work and presentations I have done in order to test, discuss, and promote my work among my peers. Altruistism as Your Medium: Printmaking I have a workshop wherein I teach students to come together, come up with a cause for which they can show support, then design and print a simple protest/support poster using screen printing. The premise developed to being more about creating a poster that would help encourage the change you hope to make in the world. I have found that when I ask my students to think of …

Altruism as Your Medium

As I develop my practice as a design educator, I find there are some core ideas that I find I must get across to my students: Work with the tools you were born with before the ones you buy Play without fear every single time Good enough is not good enough when you can do better Give a damn every day and you can change the world This all really started back when I wrote my Master’s Thesis in the form of a personal manifesto for the 2D Design program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Here follows a shortened version: MONSTRESS MANIFESTO Repeat each day you are a cultural producer. I state the (personally) obvious. I remember the audience is my equal. I remind the audience we all choose what we believe. I invite evaluation and interaction. I sell no empty dreams of Perfection. I believe and believe. I CHANGE THE WORLD. This creed has served me well as a professional, as a parent, and as a citizen. It has been the core ethos I …

EAT Lab:
Experiential Art & Technology Lab

I and Dr. Xiaohai (Richard) Li are starting a collaboration at the New York City College of Technology and have dubbed this effort EAT Lab: we are hoping to blend our separate disciplines into a cohesive whole, wherein we will create projects that incorporate emerging technologies using the criteria of installation art in order to create truly moving and potentially transformative experiences. We are still developing the idea, but steam is certainly building. Our mission: EAT Lab exists to use emerging technologies and the sensibilities of art in order to build novel experiences while enabling the user to become full collaborators.

From the Haptic to the Virtual

I have been chosen to run a workshop pertaining to my research at the 9th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices and the Design Principles and Practices in Chicago in March of 2015. From the Haptic to the Virtual: Teaching Metacognition to Designers This workshop explores the application of current educational theories through hand skills lessons to help design students improve markedly in a college setting. Specifically, metacognitive strategies are taught through printmaking, drawing, and other haptic projects in order to reach and support students in a variety of design classes. These lessons help students overcome difficulties to find connections to new material, thereby providing them with the confidence and context they need to succeed academically. As more students come to us with less exposure to hand skills, we need to be strategic and judicious in how we ramp them into the computer-driven design space so they are not seduced by interfaces and features but able to conceptualized whatever the modality at hand. Attendees will go through actual tested exercises, discuss methods, and walk away …

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 Incubation Colloquium 1.0

I presented my research on printmaking as one way to ramp students into typography at the very first meeting of Design Incubation. AIGA Slideshow Thursday, June 5, 2014  |  2:30pm-4:30pm AIGA  |  Minnesota conference room, 3rd Floor  |  164 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010 Design Incubation is a think tank for educators and practitioners of Communication Design to discuss their design research and practice. Our aim is to create a community in which graphic designers can assess creative work through a lens of scholarly activity and academic review.