Saturday, 18 July 2009

Jonathan Bartlett

Jonathan Bartlett is a Graduate student at SVA and was recommended to us by Marshall Arisman, and a good recommendation he was. Four English girls turned up at his door and he seemed at first shocked and then was more the happy to talk to us! He expressed the importance of learning on the job after his degree he took a job at a publishing house where he learnt a lot especially about design, he felt that this period of his life was immense for learning, unlike school where its all about classes and teachers, on the job there is a pressure and a reality that school cannot give, yet it is most necessary. He then decided to undertake a course at SVA and this a great school but also an expensive one but when questioned about was his schooling worth what he paid for he replied "yes" he said the money is ridiculous but the things he has learnt and the people he has met and places his been due to it all couldn't ever have a price put on them and that seems very honest and very true. its a shame that education has a price put on it at all but i guess we have little choice in it and just have to make the most of it. Jonathan is a really talented illustrator and designer and I know all of us girls had a great time at his apartment enjoying great conversation so thanks and good luck Jonathan!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Graphic Havoc

Another great interview in the afternoon which we were all lucky enough to be able to attend. We met with Graphic Havoc a design studio based in Brooklyn compiled of five members and we were lucky enough to speak with Randall Lane, Derek Lerner, David Merten and Peter Rentz. I have to admit we were all a little nervous to meet with a studio whose work we know and admire but they were all really great and put us at ease immediately and from then on conversation seemed to just flow. They had not all initially received a design education however expressed how by having a more open path of education it allowed for a more rounded person. Derek liked how he could effectively build his own degree by picking the classes he most preferred at Georgia Tech, Atlanta. They all agreed on the cultural diversity that New York gave them which even if after a time can be taken for granted is definitely a plus point to the design world. Randall was adamant that school was a time for play and experimenting, and they all showed a fondness and respect for British design explaining how maybe designers takes more risks as well as it having a deep design history that inevitably has an influence on its design scene. Lastly in response to "what's the most important thing you know and where did you learn it?" Peter believed it was all about making mistakes and learning from them and along with Derek's thoughts that if you set your heart and mind to something then you can achieve it we feel that that is pretty great advice. Thank you very much guys.

Anna Raff

A great day for interviews today. Firstly Bronwyn and I went to meet Anna Raff an illustrator from New York who has over 15 years experience at Harper Collins Publishers and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also completed a Graduate degree at the School of Visual Art New York. She was so willing to sit and talk to us for ages in a beautiful little garden in Greenwich Village. She gave honest and appropriate answers expressing how working and studying in the UK at one point made her feel empowered as a human being which is just as valuable as formal education. Also how it's important to be well rounded and that maybe you cannot put a price on education. The best answer was that she learnt from her mother and father that "you can go pretty far by not being a jerk" that made us both smile as its simple and the truth so there you go. Thank you very much Anna. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Sea Port

We went to the Bodies exhibition today in Sea Port. I think we all left more uneasy than enlightened. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, although it was fascinating.
Sea Port on the other hand was amazing. It looked like a little toy Victorian town just plonked under all these skyscrapers. All the red brick houses and decking and painted signs looked nice but a little contrived. We found an amazing stationers called Browne & Co which had a letterpress studio in the back of the shop and made the most gorgeous stationary. We all went a bit mad and our purses will be suffering for it now!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Michael Bierut - Pentagram

Michael Bierut was born in Cleveland, Ohio and studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Prior to joining Pentagram as a partner in 1990, he was vice president of graphic design at Vignelli Associates. He is also an active member of the AIGA an was president of the New York Chapter from 1988-1990.

The interview with him was really inspiring, he was very honest and came up with answers that really did hit the nail on the head. Explaining to us how his education really began after he graduated from experiencing through others and therefore becoming "culturally literate" He expressed how we as designers are problem solvers and that however no matter how much formal education we do or do not have it is our ability to listen to others as human beings and there more often then not will be the answer staring right at us, alongside a drive to learn  that is what will inevitably lead to our own success - "A good designer is someone who is passionate about learning".

He then gave an exciting and informative talk about some of the work in his portfolio. As design students it was a great experience to witness a designer in the professional world talk about his work. It was a great morning so a huge thank you to Michael.

Paul Sproll

While we were at RISD Chris Rose was kind enough to introduce us to a couple other members of staff including Paul Sproll. He was a really interesting guy to interview as he was British born and bred however after his degree at Corsham he then took a year long fulbright Teacher Exchange. This experience in the USA then led him to take further art education in the US. He now has a PHD from Ohio State and is head of department at RISD in a program quite unusual - teaching and learning in and through the arts in schools, museums and community settings. So one of his main focus' is Education. He expressed how teachers needed to be practicing in their fields as well as teaching, even though that can be difficult. He says teaching in art education cannot just be theoretical students need to meet people and that needs funding so possibly in the US that is where private schools benefit. Therefore by being government led maybe schools in the UK have more restrictions and the US has a much more "malleable hierarchy"? To end he talked about how the most important thing he knows is that "anything is possible" a lovely note to end on an extremely interesting interview. Thank you.

Chris Rose- RISD

Thank you to Chris Rose and his Wife Christine . They put Chloe and I up for a night and gave us a beautiful day in Rhode Island. The RISD School of Art is an impressive school with many influential people at the helm of it. It has a nature lab as well as an amazing museum. It is a school I could only dream of attending. Chris is an extremely intelligent man who has brought new ideas and questions to this project so a huge thank you to him and his kindness towards us.

More Ellis Island

Some examples of maps and train timetables and other type from Ellis Island.

Steven Heller

We all met with Steven Heller to interview him for our project. Steven Heller is an American self taught designer who has worked as an Art Director for the New York Times. He currently teaches on the MFA Graphic design course at the SVA in New York and writes and edits many design based books, including those on design education such as:'The Education of a Graphic Designer.', which was based on a conference entitled: 'How we learn what we learn'. Consequently Steven was a perfect candidate for our interviews.

Steven barely experienced a formal education. He applied to The SVA to escape being enlisted in the Vietnam War and on acceptance, he was soon asked to leave the course due poor attendance. It is debatable that Steven is 'unteachable' or without need for education to flourish however, when we asked him about this he claimed that everyone can be taught. In Graphic Design there are skills that can be taught, but you have to be patient enough to learn.
The subject of money verses design education has frequently been discussed during all of our interviews and by and large our theories about the differences between the UK design education and that of America, being as a result of different tuition fees has been dispelled. However, Steven did highlight that the current economic ball and chain would have an effect on Design and the education of it.

Ken Robinson says Schools Kill Creativity

We have been soaking up opinions from all sources in our quest.. Ken Robinson has some interesting views (2006)

Ellis Island

After visiting Steven Heller, we decided to go on a trip to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Ellis Island made a big impression on all of us, I could write about it all day! Two of us have had relatives pass through Ellis Island so it meant a lot to us. I thought that it was really significant to have this monument to racial diversity of America, and in particular New York. One statistic stated that when immigration was at its peak during the later 1800s up to 70% of the New York population was made of immigrants or the children of immigrants. There was a whole area dedicated to the statistical history of immigration and the impact this has had on today's population. 100 million people in the USA can trace back an ancestor that travelled through Ellis Island. Among all the sad and fascinating stories were rooms full of amazing artifacts and personal items. The above photos detail some of the tests that immigrants would have had to pass in order to enter the country. 
From top: 
1. Mental ability was tested via a series of logic and aptitude tests. The top photo shows children's drawings of diamonds, copied off a diagram. For some children it would have been the first time they had held a pencil.
2. Medical records. Immigrants could be sent home if they had chronic or infectious diseases. Many patients spent weeks in the large hospital on Ellis Island recovering before being able to join their families, who were also detained on the Island.
3. Literacy tests. As many immigrants could not speak or read English, literacy tests had to be carried out via an interpreter. 
4. The standard eye test adapted for people who could not read, or whose native language did not contain the standard English/European alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese etc)

Coney Island

Last weekend we took a day trip to Coney Island, just to see what all the fuss was about. We'd been told that it was like Brighton pier on acid, and we wanted to see evidence! What greeted us at the train station was a maze of run down fast food stalls, amusements, and an abundance of painted and garish signs. Personally, I liked the decaying charm of the place and all the tackiness. The painted signs were gorgeous though and we all took hundreds of photos. We went on the wonder wheel which turned out to be over 90 years old and a terrifying combination of ferris wheel and roller coaster! After soaking up the atmosphere, browsing the market (which sold exclusively gold jewelry, knock off DVDs and Michael Jackson t shirts) and listening to a latin jazz band, we went to the museum which was small and full of old signs, photos of 'freak shows' and archive footage of Coney Island in it's heyday. All in all I would say that Coney Island is worth a visit for the pure spectacle, if not the beautiful and bizarre type.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Coming Soon: Our visit to RISD (Rhode Island) to tour the magnificent facilities and speak with Chris Rose and Paul Sproll, Ken Robinson speaks about schools killing creativity for TED and we interview Steven Heller.

Marshall Arisman

Our second interview was with Marshall Arisman. An American Illustrator who originates from a farm and now lives and works in New York City. His ore inspiring almost spiritual paintings have been used in many major publications. He works to commissioned pieces as an illustrator and as an artist on his personal visuals. His mantra seemed to be that to be successful he felt he needed to paint what he had knowledge on and from this visceral images have been born. Marshall is also a lecturer of the graduate Illustration course at The School of Visual Arts in New York and so he was very useful in informing us about the American education system and his opinions on this.

These are just a couple of quotes taken from our interview with Marshall Arisman. Marshall really emphasized the role of the individual in education, which is often over looked by 'systems' and 'curriculum's'.

"In terms of the work, I’m not convinced that any school makes good work. I’ve been to Wyoming, South Dakota, I’ve been to places where the art school is very small and there is very good work being done there. I think what does matter, maybe, is the advantage we have in New York City. That’s a great advantage in the sense of who we have access to, we can reach out and touch all kinds of people who are willing to come in, and are willing to teach – so that energy does make a difference."

"I’ve been teaching for much too long and I think the one thing you can’t teach, is desire. No matter where you are, or who you’re talking to, or who you bring in the class, if there is not an addiction – that’s not a good word it’s a drug word – there has to be an addiction, there has to be people that can’t help but do this, and if you have those people, and they have that, the all of this makes a difference."

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Internship Day One

Tuesday 7th
As part of our internship for Andrea Purcigliotti, Millie and Chloe went to work on a talking heads show as part of the Michael Jackson memorial for BET Networks. We were mainly just spectating the events but it was a great event to be a part of. We met lots of interesting people from the camera man to the special guests on the show. It gave us an insight into production behind the scenes.