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 others, they can learn techniques so much more easily: we are naturally pretty decent and want to do right by the world. What better way to learn a new way to create?
I have presented this research as workshops at California State University at Northridge and the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center. One added benefit is that i get to teach artists how to work in a team to get a project done, which is a skill I find is never touched on in art school.
Altruistism as Your Medium: Interaction Design
I have had immense success teaching the principles and techniques of interaction design (apps, environments, and web sites) using my ideas about altruism. We can have great conversations about the darker side of design wherein we create things that might reveal prejudices or presumptions. I can highlight circumspect research and fine technique and the students are so concerned about their cause they forget to fear learning something new.
I have used this vein of research to help me speak on and teach Interaction Design at City Tech, Parsons the New School, Fashion Institute of Technology, and New York University School of Professional Studies.
Haptic to Virtual: Typography and Printmaking
Nascent designers are often so fascinated with the ability to play with the design programs that they are blind to the fundamental issues of negative space and composition. This can hamper their work for years if not dealt with in a convincing and welcoming way. I have been teaching Type 1 for many years and have developed an approach that helps a student grasp all of the main spatial opportunities of typography (composition, kerning, leading, tracking, and word-spacing) in one or two simple, hand-son printmaking lessons.
I have presented this research as a presentation to the Southern Graphics Council Conference.
Haptic to Virtual: Typography and Metacognition
I first developed my approaches in one particular Type 1 class that was filled with a group of students whose school suddenly went from culinary to design school. They were miserable, angry, and failing. I have to develop ways to activate them quickly, so I came up with exercises that played off of innate abilities and previous experience.
I have presented this research as a workshop to the Ninth International Conference on Design Principles and Practices.
Art as Open Collaboration
I have predicated my entire creative life on the idea that a piece is not successful if it does not actively engage the user. As such, most of my work is posited as open collaborations with the audience. I am a populist to my core: I must reach out to others in a spirit of open exchange or I risk becoming stale and stilted.
My work has been exhibited and collected internationally.