Tag Archives: current students

Best of Student Work 2011 – Part 2: The Pratt Show

Mozart at the Beach from Christee Curran on Vimeo.

Oh, the Pratt Show . . . it’s hard to believe that it’s been a full year since all the momentous graduation-related events were happening to me!  It was great to be on the other side of things last week… browsing new artists, sipping champagne and catching up with old classmates, without the stress of having my own work in the show.

This year’s class certainly didn’t disappoint in talent!  I was so proud to see many familiar faces represented at the show, from Sarah Mimo‘s swoonworthy clocks, to new textile prints from Alexa MacFarlane and new comics from our former Putnam intern, Kris Mukai.  I’m also jumping for joy to showcase Christee Curran‘s video storyboard project (above). How adorable is that kid at the beach?!

In addition to old friends, there were also a few new faces at the show.  Here were my favorite kids’/book related discoveries:

1. Alexandria Marie Compo / I loved her quirky animal characters, and combination of digital and hand-crafted work. In fact, we were all so taken with her 3-D figures that they almost “walked” away with us!  Very well suited for the pages of a trade hardcover picture book.

2. Michelle Lynch / Michelle’s range of work is crazy – I’ve honestly never seen a graduating student grasp the concept of licensing so well!  Her style may be “simple”, but she captures a bright, cute and fun spirit with ease, and then translates it to a wide variety of products, books and character designs.

3. Erin Maala / Erin’s intricate paper-cutting skills had all of us Penguin employees drooling over her book jackets like Wuthering Heights and The Bell Jar. Another classic book series in the making, perhaps?

4. Zoe Norvell / With smart, sophisticated humor, Zoe designs books that are seriously attention-grabbing.  I especially appreciated the wit and depth of information in her collections The Future Of The Book and OKCupid.  Oh, and – how could I forget? – she redesigned Harry Potter, and we liked it. A lot.


lil zines and silkscreens from jane mai on Vimeo.

5. Jane Mai / Her work might look like it could be for kids, but trust me . . . it’s grown-ups only.  But her irreverent, freaking-hilarious style translates perfectly to comics, zines and more – so make sure to head on over to her site for the full experience!

Updated Links and New Artist Alert!

Time for a little spring cleaning, aka. link updating. If you haven’t noticed, down the column on the right are a bunch of fantastic blogs that I read regularly, and I try to occasionally go through and add/delete links so the list stays fresh with active bloggers. It’s a great place to turn to when I’m lazy busy here at Walking In Public!

I’m sure I’m missing blogs, though, so if you’re reading this and want me to add yours or a friend’s, add a comment below (note: I try to keep it to blogs only, not static websites).

Speaking of friends, can we discuss how amazing are Pratt student Sarah Mimo‘s hand-crafted clocks (above)?  I’m astounded at her innovation and stunning detail . . . wow.  Talk about a senior project that deserves buzz. Her new artist blog is full of more clocks, as well as some lovely textural illustrations, so make sure to head over there, pronto!

New Artist Showcase: Alexa Macfarlane

Alexa Macfarlane

Blog: www.alexaillustration.blogspot.com

What projects are you working on lately? Anything you’re particularly excited about?

Currently, I’m working on writing and illustrating a children’s book about a brother, sister, and a fortune cookie. I won’t tell you what happens though… you’ll have to wait to read it! I’m also working on some oil paintings which I’m very excited about, and a handful of other little craftsy projects like textile designs, glassware/dinnerware designs, and some digital illustrations. I’m also in the process of getting a website up and running, but for the meantime have been using my blog to showcase recent work. I’ve ALWAYS loved art–at least for as long as I can remember–and am so excited to graduate from Pratt in the spring to start life in “the real world” as an artist.

How has your art evolved in the past year? Have you discovered anything new about yourself as an illustrator?

In the past year I’ve realized my passion for children’s books even more. I’m having a lot of fun writing and illustrating new stories. I’ve always had a love for illustration that intertwines with graphic design, like the prints and patterns on clothing and home goods, and am finally discovering how to incorporate that into my work. I would love to design for a company like Anthropologie. I am also completely obsessed with buying items of this sort! This past year has been a period of discovery and development for me; I feel that I’ve finally found my niche (what I enjoy doing, although of course I’m open to the changes/growth that will come in the future) in illustration.

What is your creative process like? What do you do to keep new ideas flowing, especially under stress?

I find that I get inspired most by reading books, listening to music, and looking at artwork. I think that always surrounding yourself in art, no matter what form, will keep the creative process flowing. When I’m stuck on an idea or can’t quite figure it out, I take a break and do something that is not related to what I was working on at all. Some of the best ideas come when you’re lying in bed or in the shower—when your mind has time to think freely or when you think you aren’t thinking about your art at all!

As a student leader, what advice would you give to incoming freshmen or young people pursuing illustration?

As a student leader, I would encourage young people pursuing illustration to draw, draw, draw. And then draw some more (and keep these drawings compiled in your sketchbook so you don’t lose them). As a young person, it’s easy to get off track with so many responsibilities, decisions to be made, and while living a new lifestyle, but remember to stay focused and on top of your work. As I said above, I’d highly recommend that young artists go to as many gallery openings, exhibitions, and shows as they can and keep themselves surrounded in art, especially if you live in NYC–we have SO many opportunities here and we should use them. But most importantly, have fun! You should be doing art/illustration because you love it… and if you made some money off of loving it that would be great too.

You’re about to graduate from Pratt this May. What would be your dream first year, career-wise?

I would love to have a children’s book published!! My dream first year would be to get a book deal, stay in NYC, freelance, and/or even work as a designer at a publisher or at a company for textiles, product design/illustrations for home goods, or a magazine. Basically, I’d be happy working in any of those areas and am open to many more. My number one goal is just to be able to support myself with my artwork and to have fun with what I’m doing.

New Artist Showcase: Christee Curran

Christee Curran

You’re about to enter your senior year at Pratt in the spring. Do you know what direction of illustration you’d like to go in for your final projects?

I’m definitely doing another children’s book, although I don’t know what yet! I’ll have to ruminate over winter break.  For my other senior project, I actually have no idea. I may just work on a series of promotional pieces to expand my portfolio, but I would like for the body of work to have a common thread. I know that in the Fall of 2011 I will be doing a lot of the characters that I’ve created in 3D, but not just yet for Spring! I’m really trying to find a way of working right now.

What kind of stories do you like to illustrate? Any favorite subjects?

I love to draw kids, especially in the classroom setting. I also love to play with drawing kids and animals together–except I put the animals on “human-level.” I think it makes a great story whenever humans and animals are nonchalantly interacting. I probably love to illustrate that subject so much because when I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to have some sort of animal who could converse with me in fluent English. That was everyone’s fantasy, right?

Who are some of your artistic heros?

Gosh there are a lot. Walt Disney and Pixar, for starters, not just for the art but for the amazing story and character developments.

Tim Burton’s animation, as well. As far as illustrators go: Norman Rockwell, Maurice Sendak, Chris van Allsburg, David Weisner, Mary Blair.  Two new favorites of mine are Suzy Lee and Peter Brown. As far as writer-illustrators, I will not ever respect any other poets as highly as I will ever respect Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss.

As a Peer Counselor, what career advice would you give to aspiring illustration students?

Well, I highly recommend that you take a class called “Self Promotion.”  Not only will it give you some really valuable information about getting jobs and internships, but it will force you to make a great resume, portfolio, and website. And you do NEED a website. I shouldn’t talk, because I don’t have one yet, but I will by the end of the semester!

While we’re on the subject of portfolios, make sure that every single assignment that you get in your classes is completed to a level of sophisticated finish. If that means that you don’t sleep for the night, that means you don’t sleep for the night. Trust me: when you are putting together your portfolio, and you have those great pieces, the bags under your eyes instantly become superfluous.

In addition, make sure that every single assignment that you do caters to your career agenda. Put it through your creative filter. Think of the assignment as a point of departure.

Do what you do. EVERYONE has a different “style.” Don’t get stressed. Look for patterns in the way you work or design a page. Sometimes just exaggerating these preexisting patterns can help you find your own visual language.  Stay more concerned with making each piece your best piece yet. You WILL be judged by the weakest piece in your portfolio.

Do NOT underestimate the importance of type. Take Type 3 or Graphic Design 1. Take it with a great teacher. You’ll go crazy during, but will be really happy you did afterwards. Seriously.

Make sure you know what’s going on at Career Services. The counselors are there to help you. Make connections with them and the teachers you love. Keep your eyes open for events posted on the bulletin boards around campus and friend “Peer to Peer” on facebook, because we totally keep you up to date on events you should be attending (like resume workshops, internship fairs, lectures from successful alumni, etc.).

Last one, I promise: This sounds weird, but always be friendly with people.  The kids in your major, the kids in other majors, the kids at other art schools. Strangers! Because guess what: A little kindness goes a long way and so does karma. Networking doesn’t start or stop at any specific time. NEVER cut off a potential connection. The person you flipped off on the way to your interview could be your interviewer.

What career advice would you give to yourself in the next year?

Dear Christee,

Hi, it’s yours truly! Don’t worry about sleeping, just worry about getting plenty of coffee and exercise. Keep pushing yourself and get an internship for this Spring. Focus on perfecting your portfolio and updating your website. Your getting really close to finding your personal voice; let it talk and listen to what it has to say, because then it will get stronger on its own. There are other things to keep in mind, but none that I can think of at the moment, except to keep worshipping Pat Cummings, and to believe in yourself.

Best,

-Christee

PS: Remember what E.L. Doctorow said (about writing, but it applies to careers in general):

“It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”