March 30, 2011

Pratt Show 2011: Amanda Thong

This innovative, versatile piece by Industrial Design senior Amanda Thong is for all the going green artists out there. Amanda transforms the red plastic cup, a staple to nearly every college student, into not only art, but art we can use. These smashed cups can be linked together to form different fun objects- a light, wall art, containers, or even a room divider.

See more cutting-edge work from this year's graduating seniors in all areas of design at the 2011 Pratt Show. VIP reception for industry professionals: May 10th, 6– 9pm. For tickets and more information visit

The Pratt Show
May 10th– May 13th
Manhattan Center
311 West 34th Street
New York, New York

March 29, 2011

Starting Your Career as a Freelance Photographer by Tad Crawford

Starting your own business is scary. Especially if you have no background in business! It’s easy to make mistakes and feel overwhelmed when getting started. That’s where this book comes in: Crawford gives incredibly helpful advice on not only how to get started, but how to manage your own studio. Although some of the more specific advice is given with an audience of photographers in mind, anyone who is thinking of running his/her own business ought to check out what this book has to offer. Some of the insights Crawford mentions are:
  • How to do your taxes correctly
  • Health and Safety management (darkrooms)
  • Legalities, your rights, and how to copyright your work
  • Pricing your work and successful negotiating
  • Establishing and protecting your business (leasing, insurance, etc.)
  • Sample invoices, contracts, and tax forms

March 25, 2011

Pratt Show 2011: Jina Lee

This year's first Pratt Show post comes from Jewelry senior Jina Lee. Her ring set, which can be connected or worn separately, is made of silver and crystal beads. Lee draws her inspiration from mysterious organisms under the sea, represented here by tiny, delicate repeated elements. She seeks to capture the buoyant, weightless sense and intriguing colors of a magical world.

See more cutting-edge work from this year's graduating seniors in all areas of design at the 2011 Pratt Show. VIP reception for industry professionals: May 10th, 6– 9pm. For tickets and more information visit

The Pratt Show
May 10th– May 13th
Manhattan Center
311 West 34th Street
New York, New York

March 23, 2011

Peer Book Report: Art/Work

Art/Work—Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career
by Heather Darcy Bhandari & Jonathan Melber

This is a true workbook for serious artists: Fine Arts majors, pay attention! This book covers
everything from doing your taxes, to packaging your work, to interviewing with gallery
directors. On almost every page, there are side panels full of anecdotes and advice from
established art directors, curators, art historians, professors, other fine artists, dealers,
journalists and critics. Art/Work’s information is also brilliantly designed: there is so much
information and advice from industry professionals to take in, and you won’t even realize it
because the layout is so varied and dynamic that your eyes easily flow from page to page.
  • Sample Invoices for Fine Artists specifically
  • Tax, Insurance, Legal, and Copyrighting advice
  • How to price your work
  • How to promote yourself
  • Advice on choosing which work to display and how to display it
  • Portfolio Review advice from a gallery curator
  • The 4-1-1 on residencies and grants
  • Sample Consignment, Commission and Gallery Representation Agreements
To see other books in our library, see our collection at

March 10, 2011

The Portfolio Show

At Pratt's Brooklyn Campus Library

Open through April 8, 2011

This exhibition highlights the steps that designers take to put together a successful portfolio by displaying the work of Pratt students and recent alumni. Work is arranged by major, with relevant portfolio tips accompanying the work from each department.The show spans the three floors of the library and includes an interactive display. Library resources in the New Books room supplement the exhibit.

March 9, 2011

Special Alumni Feature: Cooper Miller

Graduating from Pratt majoring in film/video in 2004, Cooper Miller has created a good career for himself. In 2009 he established his production company, Demonstrous, which works in all aspects of media production including graphic design, product branding, and motion graphics. His clientele has covered a wide gambit such as politicians, local shop owners as well as major advertising firms.

Transposition - a working class portrait from Cooper Miller on Vimeo.

The documentary portrait Transposition focuses on the life of Jeff Richey. This piece exploring the intertwining lives of one man trying to sustain his living and make his art in Denton, Texas was produced and edited by Miller. Another feature of the documentary is the subject, Richey, who is the father of the filmmaker, Juliette Richey, also a Pratt alumnus and Miller's wife. Moreover relationships with artistic friends have allowed for his artistic development. Miller had worked for many years with a visual artist who helped develop his understanding of how far reaching art was in nearly all professional industries.

As far as doing mainstream work some of Miller’s clients have included Sony Music and Royal Caribbean International. Having worked in the commercial world he has experience with the regimented demands of contracted work. Miller though prefers work that leads to collaborative opportunities with other creative individuals. Creating the tools and mediums meant to fulfill needs and desires is what he cites as the most exciting challenge in his work.

Though his professional work has allowed him to travel and work in exotic places he by choice remains based in Brooklyn. Miller is highly active in local community movements and arts scenes. He openly endorses projects that are meant to engage community and support DIY culture.

Being able to work on one’s own terms is the mark of a good artist according to Miller. Even more importantly being able to make creative compromises is what he considers to be the mark of a successful artist. Surrounding himself with like minded creative individuals Miller has found to be what has advanced his success.

March 7, 2011

Peer Book Report: Graphic Designer's and Illustrator's Guide...

The Graphic Designer’s and Illustrator’s Guide to Marketing and Promotion by Maria Piscopo

When I took this book off of the shelf, I was a bit skeptical—why? because the cover is pretty heinous (got to love that irony). However, upon reviewing it, I found that it was a treasure trove of valuable information and well organized, easy-to-read instructions on how to get your self promotion and marketing journey started.

You probably know of some really talented designers and illustrators who have beautiful work, but not many clients. Likewise, you may know of some designers and illustrators who aren’t very good, but who get a lot of work because they are excellent businesspeople. This book really delineates how you can have both creativity AND clients. Some great features include:
  • Plans of action for marketing, advertising, selling, and promoting your work
  • Lists of phrases to avoid being filtered as spam
  • Sources to getting art director contacts
  • Finding your mission and marketing message
  • Targeting new clients
  • ∙Designing advertising campaigns
To see other books in our library, see our collection at

March 1, 2011

"Body Image" Group Show in Fishbowl Gallery

Review by Gail Victoria Braddock Quagliata

Sponsored jointly by Pratt’s Health and Counseling Services and Career Services, The Body Image exhibit currently on display in the Fishbowl gallery unites a variety of dissimilar artistic practices to promote discussion and reflection on the concept of self-image. As stated by the press release, “The culminating point forces us to consider how body image issues cut across the lines of gender, sexuality, cultural identity, age, and time.”

Michael Johnston, The Provider
Silver Gelatin Print, 12.5 x 9.25", 2010
Michael Johnston’s “The Provider,” 2010, depicts the artist as a grim-eyed young man staring almost stoically out a glowing window, the background enveloped in darkness. An awkward training bra is strapped across his chest, with what appear to be bed sheets stretch tautly across his lap. The implications of intimacy are apparent beyond simple signifiers of his bared torso and rumpled bedding, but his almost disdainful, detached gaze speaks of something more visceral than just an intimate moment intruded upon with camera. Johnston states, “This photograph is a documentation of how homosexual males are often looked at as being more female than male,” explaining that the image speaks to the struggle of discovering a sexual identity in conflict with socially dictated gender roles.

Amanda Barker, Untitled, oil on canvas, 2010
Amanda Barker’s untitled self-portrait discusses a similar sense of trepidation, albeit in another gender and shade of insecurity. “For me, this painting is about my constant battle against weight loss and the struggle to feel comfortable in my own skin. The pose is also a representation of the fact that I am involved in a sexual relationship in which someone is able to view my body in a way completely different from the way that I view it myself,” writes Barker. All neutral hues and rather unforgiving oil paint, the artist depicts herself on hands and knees, apprehensively eyeing the viewer as though she may suddenly crawl away or, safe in the gaze of her loved one, remain in this vulnerable, tentatively seductive pose.

Adjacent is Kieran Brennan Hinton’s uneasy, epic-sized, 48” x 72” painting, “Till Human Voices Wake Us, And We Drown.” The artist depicts himself alone in a field of darkness, his skin and garments almost luminous, the white outlines of his bones visible beneath the surface, like a grim rendering of that board game, “Operation,” minus buzzers and jokes. Hinton’s rendering seems a symbol of irrefutable human unity – that, in his words, “beneath our flesh we all have the same colored bones and blood, and all face the same struggles of identity, mortality, expectations, and alienation.” Likening his discomfort in his own skin to wearing someone else’s suit, his image seems to hint at those universal elements that transcend mere surface.

Kieran Brennan Hinton, Till Human Voices Wake Us,
and We Drown,
oil and urethane on Canvas, 2010
Sarah Gordon’s photographic series tackles female body shame with frank, brutal imagery. “Series 1: Untitled” depicts the artist isolated, stripped bare of protective clothing, surrounded by those casual terms of misogyny so pervasive in common speech, like an endlessly screaming schoolyard full of bullies aimed squarely at the soft, vulnerable ego. “Series 2: The Hazing” describes a less subtle phenomenon. “These images,” says Gordon,” are based on a popular hazing ritual done in fraternities and sororities,” in which the aggressor highlight’s the victim’s physical flaws with a Sharpie. Her images depict the cowering recipients of these humiliating marks.

Amanda Elsbree’s “Rogue” reimagines the familiar object of the fashion magazine cover, engaging the viewer in a dialog about the true nature of what we are consuming between those glossy pages. Elsbree states, “At first, the image and layout is appealing to the eye, though when viewed a bit more closely, it takes on a more disturbing nature.” Her impeccably made-up model is crying and visible pained, and the text reveals hideous subtexts, here laid bare in titles discussing the unrealistic standards and bizarre aspirations our culture devours and attempts to assimilate from popular media.

In “Mask-Ara Un-Covered,” Diego Torres combines an array of imagery intended to evoke themes of tribal identity and ritual into a subtle digital collage. Figures pose together in formation along the bottom of the image, as though reaching upward, while disembodied, diaphanous painted faces float above, under the gaze of yet another group in headwear appearing as though caught mid-ceremony. “Here I play with the idea of projecting our camouflaged selves, as if being examined through an x-ray or soaring from the ritualistic smoke,” states Torres.

Lanie Smith’s trilogy of feminine absurdities, “Wonderbra,” “My Short Skirt,“ and “Cover-Ups,” examine the lengths to which women go in pursuit of socially constructed beauty ideals, defying nature and often logic in the process. Where “My Short Skirt” refers directly to the concept of woman as empty object to be viewed, “Wonderbra” frames this infamous undergarment as object to be questioned. Smith layers caulk and enamel to the bras in a process she states adds unnecessary layers to the bra’s own unnecessary layers. “Cover-Ups” find Smith wrapping limestone in pantyhose and lipstick, reference, she says, to the fact that, “nature does not mask or attempt to conceal and minimize its ‘blemishes,’ nor should we as women be airbrushed to hide our own markings.”

Elizabeth Quick, Self Image, Charcoal
andBrown Paint on Cardboard, 2010
Elizabeth Quick’s self-portrait, titled “Self Image,” portrays the artist in tense gestures with charcoal. Her description is a poem, stating, essentially, those perceived figure flaws and details that linger in the mind of their owner when she imagines herself. The artist’s hand seems to convey all frantic lines and motion, as she depicts herself in a vulnerable pose, arms raised to expose her bare torso and hips, her expression almost seeming pained as though the viewer’s scrutiny is overwhelming.

Marta Gonzalez takes a less overt approach to the concept of self-image in her photographs, “Self-Reflection #01,” and “Self-Reflection #02.” These abstracted views seem to depict grit ad muted color, all but abandoning any representation of the figure. The focus on subtle textures intermingling seems to represent a state of mind more than an overt illustration of the artist’s actual, physical self. Gonzales states, “Through these images, the viewer is able to observe my rejection and disconnection from the human form.”

Courtney Astrid Mendenhall’s “The Beautiful People” series dissects the concept of beauty and celebrity through the appropriation of rather iconic movie posters. Mendenhall removes the star and inserts a less glamorous, real character. She says, “The idea of these movie posters is to challenge society’s conception of beauty by replacing the so-called ‘sex symbols’ with real people I found around the city.” In “Some Like It Hot,” Marilyn Monroe’s famed visage is displaced by one sagging and elderly, albeit treated with similar care and adulation, for, says Mendenhall, they are “beautiful in my eyes,” regardless of social notions of what should be celebrated as such.

This exhibition is part of the Student Exhibition Spaces Program coordinated by the Center for Career and Professional Development at Pratt Institute.  All current students can submit work for inclusion in future exhibitions by emailing for more information.