All posts filed under: Writing

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 …

Criteria for Internships/First Jobs

You may be new to the industry and inexperienced, but you need not suffer through useless or exploitative internships or first jobs. Yes, we do have bills to pay. Yes, we do need to pay our dues and earn our stripes–but there is no excuse when an employer mistreats you just because it can. Here are some tips gleaned from years of my own mistakes and observations. Criteria for Opportunities It offers a variety of work experiences, if that is what you are looking for. Smaller studios will be looking for people willing to do many things, so keep that in mind. It offers the opportunity to dive deeply into a subject, if that is what you are looking for. Larger studios will slot you into a team where you may not get to do a lot of different stuff, but you will get to have lots of specific experience in one or two things. There are great people with whom you can network and connect. This is the true benefit of these early experiences: the network you …

Presenting Your Work:
Ever Ready Info Kit

This is a massive subject, so read through everything and pick one facet to start on. DO NOT PANIC. Files to Always Have Ready: Varsity Level This is what I always have on cloud storage in case I find an opportunity. You can build up to this. General written documents, as Google docs: Your designer’s statement: why are you a designer? What do you want to do in the world? Have a point, do not be afraid to have a point of view!! One guide for writing one Some designer’s manifestos: 10 Examples  |  100 Years of Manifestos Contact information Professional email address: yourfullname@gmail.com Unprofessional: hottkittenz133$%4@aol.com Only give the basics: phone and email. Sometimes giving your address can make you less a contender if they think you live too far away or in a bad part of town. Your CV, with in-depth listings of all shows (solo and group), residencies, internships, publications, etc. This is a overall file of info you will use to create the smaller resumés CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, and it is basically a …

Asking (with Class) for Recommendation Letters

This summer, I was asked by several students for recommendation letters for jobs and other such opportunities. Each request resulted in a slightly different journey and I learned a lot from them all. I realized I need to come up with a policy for writing them, so I sent out word to all of my professor friends and did some research: there were a lot of horror stories and funny anecdotes. I could easily illustrate this essay with lots of eye-roll-inducing tales of badly mannered students and lazy professors, but I am taking a more positive approach: I am writing this essay for all of my former, current, and prospective students in hopes that I help you make better choices in this area. You are worth the effort, to a one. One thing: I mention “class” in the title. I am simply referring to the fact that you can, right here and now, choose to treat the people around you with respect and thereby slowly sculpt your life’s trajectory. You can be circumspect and polite, …

Art in Odd Places: GSS Interview

I had the honor of being interviewed by our lovely peers at Art in Odd Places about the origins and intent of the Gowanus Studio Space. It feels odd to quote myself, but this part I thought was really true: Honestly, my joining GSS has been essential to my reviving my career as an artist after 12+ years weathering a career in interaction and advertising design. I consider it an ideal setting for my rehabilitation back into the wild after all those years alone in a cubicle. It’s also helped me become a better designer in my professional practice, thanks to being exposed to all the brain power floating around./blockquote> I cannot state clearly enough how important GSS is to those of us who work there. It is ramshackle at the edges, a bit roughshod at times, but always a place where proactivity is rewarded.

Why do I design?

I create because I believe people are essentially good. Before you click away, just wait. I’m not saying every person in the world behaves in ways that are always good. That is not possible, and I know that. I am saying that each and every one of us has the potential to be and do good. That’s the whole reason I get out of bed in the morning, make stuff, and generally live. It’s important to check in with your core motivations once in a while–that way you can tell if you are still on course, as it were. My logic goes like this: People have the potential to be and do good. In fact, unless we are stunted in some way, we just naturally tend to do and be good. Any person can do good by reaching out and helping others learn to tap that potential. The entire world gets incrementally better the more #2 happens. There will come a day when everybody born will have a reasonable chance to be and do good. This is …

Bread-and-butter work can make or break a designer

Think of this as a primer for the novice designer and a call back to arms for the experienced art director. For those of you unfamiliar with design work, there are different chunks to be done. There is the high-level thinking where you come up with ideas, there is sketching where you develop your ideas visually, and finally there is production, where most of the thinking has already been done and all you do is implement the design. In general, production is viewed as the least challenging from a design point of view, and it usually falls upon the lower-level employees to complete it. For the most part, I call the routine, lower-level stuff bread-and-butter work as it puts a lot of food on the table. I used to work in a small agency where I handled all of the interaction design. Occasionally, I had access to interns who could do the grunt work for me, and certainly, these were respites from the crush of jobs. I started to think that perhaps I needed to find …