Emory Douglas: Created a Culture of Resistance through Design

Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers from Dress Code on Vimeo.

Recently the AIGA honored Emory Douglas with a Gold Medal, he’s best known for his political posters and as the minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party during the 60s’ through the 80s’. In high school, I had a collection of Black Panther Newspapers—I kept them in my school locker, so I could easily grab them to share with my classmates in art class. In looking back his highly charged graphic drawing heavily influenced my art making and thinking in high school and in college. Douglas drawings, also inspired the mindsets of numerous black artists and graphic designers during height of the Black Power movement.

featured on Hyperallergeic by Allison Meier on June 9, 2015

“Art has relevancy, whether it’s to exploit you or pacify you, or to enlighten and inform you. It’s a language, that’s the power of it,” Emory Douglas, the artist who drove the graphic identity of the Black Panthers, says in a new short documentary. In just under eight minutes, Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers follows the 1966 rise of the black political group to its 1980s decline in the context of the newspaper and poster work by Douglas. (read more)


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06 2015

Justin McGuirk: Takes over as Director of writing and curating at Design Academy Eindhoven


Last week Paola Antonelli, curator at MoMA  tweeted “We need critics and curator” HELL YEAH!  She was jubilant over the news of Justin McGuirk, being named the new head of the writing and curating program at Design Academy Eindhoven, he aims to attracting new generation of talented younger writers and thinkers who can provide a much needed critical framework for design criticism.

McGuirk, a regular columnist for Dezeen, will work one day a week at the Dutch design school, where he hopes to attract talented young writers and thinkers who can help provide a new critical framework for design. (read more)







05 2015

Hot Art + Design Festivals happenings in May


May is starting out with a big  bang this month is jumping with loads of of art and design fairs and festivals all over NYC. The second week in May 8-19th starts off with a bang—it’s  NYCX DESIGN loads of events taking place in Industrial City in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Next up is WantedDesignNY and ICFF both take place from May 15th-19th, and luckily you can walk between the two venues. Since WantedDesign is happening in two locations they visitors can take the shuttle bus running between both locations.


Did I mention Art Fairs happening this weekend too, for the time ART FLUX in Harlem opens at the newly renovated Corn exchange Building on 125th Street. And if you love eating make sure to check out HARLEM EATUP both are surely to attracts loads of hungry people all eager to experience art and chow down at the best restaurants in the neighborhood.

Inside Out. Polish Graphic Design in the Making: From a pencil sketch to the final click – graphic design and illustrations in the making organized Culture.pl will present a extraordinary exhibition of works by Polish designers and illustrators during WantedDesign festival from 15th to 18th May, 2015 in New York. The curators of this stand out exhibition focus not just on the final product: a poster, a book, a dress, a plate or a package, but also on the process of the product’s development.

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05 2015

BRIDGET PARRIS: Dresses up your table


Bridget Parris holding one of her whimsical paintings.

Imagine sitting at your best friends dinner table more befitting of what you would expect from the  late Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen. The guest in a wildly festival partying mood and laid out before you is an outrageously hyperstylized table that’s arrangement is whimsical and subliminal flowing with oversized candle holders, odd shaped water goblets, and unusual textured linens. These same forces are what drives Bridget Parris imagination to create beautiful and outlandish tabletop and textile designs.

Bridget Parris has parlayed a fine arts degree in painting into an award-winning career in tabletop and textile design. As if that’s not enough, Parris has broaden her repertoire with another degree in fashion design at Parsons the New School of Design in Manhattan. Parris spends much of her artistic energy merging home décor with fashion, seeking out the best of each medium to implore in her work.

Bridget Parris’s studio located in loft-like building in the trendy Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The space is small, but welcoming bright white walls are graced with a series of colorful paintings depicting lively whimsical figures catch and delight the eyes. These paintings represent her love of everything French.

Strong themes weave through Parris’ paintings and home creations; blend, interlock, curl, and stretch your imagination. Her designs are cross sampling of painting and product design; add much needed color to drab place settings or dresses-up austere living rooms.

Bridget Parris was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today, her beloved former city is considered one of the hottest design places in the country touting company’s like Kohl’s, four major design schools and a slew top design firms. Growing up, Bridget admits this was not the case. Creative problem solving in Parris’ blood; her father a German immigrant worked as a Research & Development Engineer for Johnson Controls producing heating and cooling systems, and holds six patents and. Software copyrights. Her mother a high school mathematics teacher steered her two children towards local cultural activities and to follow their bliss.

Parris says, she was drawn to art at an early age and later supported by her high school teacher. Enrolling in Southern Illinois University, urged by her father to study art education convinced she would always have a study job. Bored in her first year Parris switched to Fine Arts studying painting, graduated in 1991. Eager to learn new things and explore she earned a MFA in painting and drawing in 1994 from Louisiana State University. That same year with only a drawing and painting portfolio, she moved to New York City. But realized that was not enough took textile design classes at School of Visual Art built-up her portfolio and supplemented her income with a temping job in Macy’s hard good department. Read the rest of this entry →


08 2013

Transforming Our Public and Privately Owned Public Spaces


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The students in my visual and information design 3 class were assigned a Poster Design project each charged with the task of reimaging seating in a public space (park), this also included Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). They then visited their selected sites, observed visitors experiencing the space; came up with a theme to recreate seating that would be interpreted as a poster. All wrote an essay defining the visitors experience and the space redesign. Some themes from assigned readings, online resources, website links plus a short film featuring Chris Holmes, user-experience researcher discussing his teams work with the Municipal Arts Society new POPS website. Such resources will enable them to further hash out themes for their design of the poster and seating, and essay, along with photos documenting site visits. From this a series of poster and seating sketches were developed, along with  examples of material. The final designs reflect a broad a mix of diverse themes and critical thinking. For example, students like Kelly McCrossin and Russell Howe chose the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center; (formerly Reebok Climbing Wall), which is a POPS site.

Bourlon_Kytzia_Project03_Poster Abesamis_Nicole_Public_Poster_AssignmentThese two students chose reclaimed wood for seating which perfectly compliments the swath of greenery that covers living plant wall designed by the award-winning firm Todd Williams Billie Tsien Architects. In contrast Daniella Shin’s waterfront environment the Chelsea Cove of Hudson River Park she created, “My Adobe,” a multifunctional bike stand with a table crafted from bamboo. Riders can easily access Wi-Fi to check email, or relax to drink water and eat or read while taking in the scenic views of the Hudson River. Jennifer Coppola selected the Highline; one block away from the waterfront in trendy Chelsea neighborhood this elevated pedestrian concrete style boardwalk stretches from 14th Street to 23rd street offers visitor’s majestic views of Jersey City and NYC landscape. Concerned by the lack of adequate sitting inspired Jennifer to consider adding more seating to make for a better visitor experience.

A few other students, Katia Bourbon and Nicole Abesamis worked on Paley Park a respite from the city. This small three-sided privately owned-public space located at 3 West 53rd Street. Upcycling seating made from automobile tires inspired Kytzia; the chairs cushions are bright green grass, retrofitted with legs made from reclaimed wood. Nicole crafts anthropomorphic shaped rock seating meant to invigorate Paley Park with organic spatial design, as if designed by nature. Both students disliked the Bertoia wire mesh side chairs which reminded them too much of lunch hour scene from Mad Men television show. Yet, they kept the theme of the streaming waterfall muffling the hustle and bustle of midtown traffic. 
Socrates Sculpture Park, is located in Long Island City in Queens, two students Jane Choi and Kelsey Bryden introduced seating resembling iconic symbols of the parks existing sculpture—transforming the parks urban decay to a more family friendly place.  
Each student wrote a 500-word essay describing the location, observation of seating, the functionality and social interactivity, and the spaces architectural design team. My goal was to get the student’s to look at the seating as an object; allow the object to define the space with the visitor in mind. There were concerns with concept development and not use history as a way of interpreting the reimaging. The student’s research along with what they wrote was not meant to be part of the poster text; but it did become a part of the process of solving the problem. And the writing helped them to see the larger context of the problem and shaped their design thinking. They framed the writing process in terms of experience (the user and visitor). Some of the essays focused on the outdated mode of furnishings, drab ambience or lack of eco-friendly materials; others on the lack of public art or poorly designed signage. My hope that the students understand the necessity for maintaining public spaces and how this has a profound effect on their daily lives of living and working in an urban environment.


Berlin-based MADE recently premiered their latest project, “REƧƎƎИ: A TRANSFORMATION OF VISUALISATIONS.” Eight creative individuals from different artistic fields were brought together for an exchange of ideas. Starting with the images of hip-hop photographer Jonathan Mannion, seven Berlin-based artists were given the opportunity to make their mark on an image of their choosing. In addition to Jonathan Mannion, the other seven creatives were Amine BendriouichChristian AweConny DreherEbon HeathGood Wives and WarriorsLukas Feireiss and Noelle. Watch as the eight creatives first meet up in Mannion’s NYC studio and then make their way over to MADE in Berlin with stops at each artist’s studio along the way. If you happen to be in Berlin make sure to check out the “REƧƎƎИ” exhibition going on now at MADE from September 4 through the 22nd, located at Alexanderstrasse 7 in Berlin, Germany.


09 2012

Daniel Minter: Two Worlds & The Colorful Story Of Okra

Daniel Minter began working in 1980 as a painter, illustrator, and computer graphics artist. Minter has illustrated nine children’s books, including Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story, winner of a Best Book Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, and The Riches of Oseola McCarty, named an Honor Book by the Carter G. Woodson Awards. Minter’s paintings and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums including the Seattle Art Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum, Bates College, Hammonds House Museum and the Meridian International Center. Minter is the founding director and vice-president of Maine Freedom Trails, Inc. He created the markers for the Portland Freedom Trail, which identifies significant sites related to the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Portland, Maine. He created the 2004 Kwanzaa stamp and the 2011 Kwanzaa stamp for the U.S. Postal Service. Minter lives in Portland, Maine with his wife, Marcia, and son, Azari Ayindé.


07 2012

Montserrat Daubon and Pedro Villalta Pod Sculpture Livens Up Lenox Avenue

Driving or walking north of 50th street on Park Avenue, you can’t help but notice the Park Avenue Malls Public Art installation. Now Harlemnites can rave about their own public arts project mounted by two local artists Montserrat Daubon and Pedro Villalta. The duo erected the first public art on Lenox Avenue and 124th Street median, sought help through the local community organization by submitting a proposal to the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, who aided them in securing permits from DOT, that also awarded them $1000.00. Requiring more funding from completion of the project, the artists launched major Kickstarter campaign raising $8,520.00, surpassing their goal of $7,500.00 needed to complete this project.

“The Pod” organic shape—made of hollow steel, viewers get to feel the rough surface texture layered with dripped bronze over the surface skin. Looming above trees and pedestrians the foreboding sculpture stands 10 feet tall, and 3 feet at its widest point and it’s mounted on a tiered series of steel plates. Sadly, the pod sculpture slotted for only 11-month, but its still exciting seeing public art on Lenox Avenue liven up Harlem’s booming cultural scene. I’m enjoying seeing “The Pod” on Lenox Avenue, and hoping the duo or other artist creates more exploratory artistic projects. Better yet, let’s create a Harlem Public Art Fund.



06 2012

Treasures of Pratt Institute

Watch Treasures of New York: Pratt Institute on PBS. See more from THIRTEEN Specials.

From its inception through the 21st century, Pratt has counted among its faculty those whose works became the lexicon of industrial design. Eva Zeisel’s Museum Dinnerware, Morison S. Cousins’ Promax Compact Hairdryer, and Karim Rashid’s reusable Bobble Water Bottle are all part of the archive of the Museum of Modern Art. Pratt also helped develop such versatile artistic sensibilities that included Pamela Colman Smith’s The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck and Jeremy Scott’s avant-garde fashion


06 2012

And Counting…And Counting More Ways