STATEMENT:» I am a designer who is committed to the integration of concept, form and technology to communicate in an insightful and expressive manner as I explore various design problems. I utilize a thorough understanding of digital media and technology coupled with a maturing command over conceptual and theoretical practice to explore complex problems related to design and visual communication. As I complete my first year in the MFA program, I note that one of my primary concerns, as a designer is to consider and explore how design can have the potential for altruism and/or societal benefit.
Altruism and/or Societal Benefit are…
BACKGROUND:» After earning a degree in Human Services (psychology) from Montreat College in North Carolina, I traveled throughout Europe for the better part of a year. Much of this time was spent writing and reflecting on an educational center I wanted to start, where groups of all sizes could come to learn about teamwork, team building and leadership.
» Upon returning home in 1998, I was living with my parents and painting office buildings while contemplating “the school idea.” Depression and confusion gave way to a helpless life-stance that stifled nearly all of my creative output. This depression I am certain was the result of not pursuing what had always been a very important aspect of my life, creative communication. In 2000 I again changed gears and launched Creative Root, a design consultancy that provides cutting edge corporate creative solutions.
» Yet again, restlessness and dissatisfaction invaded my life. Pushing pixels and working with design as only a commodity was leaving me empty and basically bored. This time I countered with the move to attend graduate school. Creative Root continues while I pursue this MFA. In this way, I can be a part of a larger, richer experience which embraces the cross fertilization of the professional practice of design with the academic exploration neither of which are mutually exclusive to each other. This continued involvement allows me to employ what I learn here in the proof of concept.
OBJECTIVE:» My objective in pursuing an MFA is two-fold. First, I seek to strengthen my formal and conceptual skills and ground them in a stronger theoretical framework. I strive to have an open and discerning eye for the human (natural and unnatural) and cultural hints that so many people cannot perceive or generally overlook. Second, I desire to investigate personality, emotional intelligence and academic maturity within an ethnographic framework. I feel that stable and productive members of society are a result of simply understanding themselves, their position in life, their culture or the world around them. With a careful and capable voice, I will attempt to visually exemplify these concepts.
FIRST YEAR:» This has been a year of discomfort, challenge and growth. I have worked tirelessly at identifying and labeling my inherent traits, then cross referencing them against what I perceive to be a strength or weakness. From this effort I am in the process of creating an internal database of what I can offer a student, my department, the university, the world and myself. The theme of this year has been that of education research, design sensitivity and thought provocation. I have accomplished this through research into educational practices, teaching (a challenging assistantship assignment), research application development and then writing about these experiences and practices. I have taken risks this year on a conceptual level, and have worked to explore new methodologies, including most recently participating in the Mexico Program to explore ethnographic methods as they relate to communication.
NEXT YEAR:» Next year I strive to further explore and employ ethnography with regards to design, thought provocation and time-based media.
» Ethnography: All that I do is an ethnographic study. My design centers on the minuscule (human) and grand (cultural) clues that elude the eye and flit around in the wind. I want to further understand and communicate these highly important glimpses into human nature.
» Thought Provocation: I will do this by constructing a serious of “O-Matic” research engines. The O-Matic research, data-warehouse and propaganda tool is a web-enabled, database driven application that allows a researcher to ask a series of questions, house the results and then through viral marketing (in this case e-cards) build awareness to their cause while challenging others to think about the issue related to the specific O-Matic engine.
» Time-Based Media: In some cases two-dimensional design is limiting as a medium to present my work. I feel that a multi-disciplinary, multi-media approach provides the needed flexibility, portability and appearance some of my research requires for proper transmission.
INFLUENCES:Biafra, Jello ideas
Cocom, Juan Castillo ethnography, anthropology
Davis, Joshua creativity
Edison, Thomas creative genius
Franklin, Ben creative genius
Gondry, Michel - concept
Garrett, Jesse James information design
Morrison, Jim - nihilism, excess
Rice, John educational and democratic ideals
Shedroff, Nathan experience design
Smith, Winston aesthetic, communicative art
Thomas, Allen - freethinker
Zeldman, Jeffrey design web design, standards