November 28, 2012

Life After Pratt With Editorial Assistant Kate Gavino

Kate Gavino at Black Balloon Publishing
By Britt Gettys

Kate Gavino, a Pratt Writing Major, Class of 2011, graduated just a few years ago, but she’s already found a niche for herself in the writing world of New York.  She currently works as an editorial assistant for Black Balloon Publishing, a small independent publisher co-founded by former Pratt professor, Leigh Newman.  Gavino regularly blogs for Black Balloon, posting book reviews from the perspective of her “perennially grumpy hedgehog named Clementine,” documenting The A to Z Guide to Spending Your Adolescence on a 90s-Era Band Forum, and even discussing how to celebrate Vonnegut’s birthday with Bond girls.  Her main mission, aside from managing wide eyed interns and correcting grammar on posts before they go live, is to come up with more wacky and entertaining ideas for Black Balloon’s blogging team to blog about, and she does it all with a quirky sense of humor.     

“After I graduated I went through the mandatory two months of unemployment and depression-induced gluttony,” she jokes.  However, upon discovering Black Balloon, she immediately knew the company was everything she was looking for: “small, determined, and extremely creative,” and she emailed them regarding an editorial assistant position.  For Gavino, it was the many internships she held that assisted her in figuring out what type of work she wanted to do after college, as well as the type of company she wanted to work for.  “I interned at Random House for two years. First, at Random House Films, where I read manuscripts and determined whether or not they would make a good screenplay. Then I moved to one of Random House’s biggest imprints, Knopf. I read submissions, built Tumblrs for their publicity team, organized photo layouts, and eventually filled in for one of the managing editorial assistants while she was on vacation.”  Despite enjoying the work she did for Random House and their “amazing office supply closet,” Gavino found herself wanting to work for a smaller company.  “I wanted to work for a company that was small enough for me to be able to work with all aspects of publishing: soliciting, editorial, marketing, publicity, even design.”        

Apart from interning, Gavino’s experience in Pratt’s Writing Program also helped her discover who she was as a writer, and the type of writing she wanted to do professionally.  “Studio workshops definitely made me aware of how much I enjoyed the editorial process,” she says.  “I’ve always liked recommending my favorite things to people, so being able to do that on a writing and reading level was interesting. Critiquing someone’s writing –even if it’s just an endless succession of smiley faces on the margin—was a fun process at Pratt, and it was exciting to learn that I could do that for a living as well.”    

“The great thing about the writing program is that you’re living and breathing fiction all the time. It’s wonderful. Sadly, after graduation, that isn’t always the case. If you’re not interested in immediately pursuing an MFA, you’ll have to get a job to pay your bills – and that doesn’t make you any less of an artist.  I chose publishing because it involved reading and writing, but it also happens to involve administrative work, multiple trips to Fed Ex, and crawling around on your hands and knees looking for the closest electric outlet. Yet, I still enjoy it.”  

While enthusiastic about her day job, Gavino also makes time for her own writing projects.  Since graduation she’s been expanding her senior thesis into a fully fledged novel.  Almost everything else she’s written has been published in online magazines and blogs, a growing trend these days, and her work includes an ongoing graphic novel regarding small town life in Texas, the state she hails from.  “It’s hard to find a job that will let you be creative all the time,” she admits, ”which is why you should appreciate your time at Pratt. Writing isn’t always a feasible day job, so you’ll have to find something that will make you happy and leave you with energy to write at the end of the day."

Click here to find more of Gavino’s work.

Interviewed by Britt Gettys November 15, 2012

November 7, 2012

Graduate Printmaking

By: Carolyn Osorio , Theory, Criticism and History of Art Undergraduate Student (2013)

The Fishbowl Gallery currently displays a survey of work from the Graduate Printmaking program. These Pratt MFA students show great variety in their techniques, subject manner, and artistic vision. From etchings to silkscreen to more traditional oil on canvas, the mediums explored add to the multiplicity of this exhibition.
Jes Hughes, The Eyes of All, Relief on Veneer, 4' x 4', 2012

             The relief work by Jes Hughes titled The Eyes of All is a unique layered work atop a large slab of dark wood veneer. The black and white floral motifs starkly contrast with the natural and seemingly organic background of the veneer. The colonial style house located in the center of the work serves as an almost unsettling focal point as it rests on purely white floral motifs that stand out from the bouquet. The attention grabbing words framing this central scene add a sense of narrative to the work, making the viewer contemplate their meaning. The artists overall mixture of elements that don’t traditionally work together makes the piece truly stand out. 
Nelson Plaza, Elevation, Oil on Canvas, 2012

             In a more traditional medium, oil and canvas, Nelson Plaza creates an innovative world of free floating space and shapes. Elevation (Big) shows the deterioration of a body as its essence moves out into space. Blending the lines between realism and the abstract Plaza creates an innovative scene of both the physical and psychological combining. The viewer is aware of a multitude of textures as well as lines, shapes, and certainly colors. The wide range of techniques adds to the chaos of the world Plaza has created and yet somehow combines in an almost harmonious way. These elements work together so that no part of the canvas seems superfluous, but rather integral to the whole.
Holly Graves

The nine works displayed in this exhibition show great range and freedom in creativity. Holly Grave’s quaint villages beneath mountainous landscapes show how simplified details can prove extremely effective in creating atmosphere. An analysis of the changing cycles of the moon by Lynn Sung Hae Baik shows an interest in the transcendental. This exhibition is filled with themes and symbols that appeal to an artist’s sensibilities while the diversity of mediums ensures the universality of the show as it appeals to artists from all fields.
 photos by Patrick Rowe, 2012

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.


Pratt in Venice Exhibition

By: Carolyn Osorio , Theory, Criticism and History of Art Undergraduate Student (2013)

The Pratt in Venice Exhibition showcases the works of students done this past summer over the six week program period. In addition to art history students, fine art students in printmaking and painting also make the trip to Italy! By blending history with fine arts, these students get an amazing opportunity to explore Venice and find inspiration for their work!
Rush Hour by Mazzei
Mazzzei’s Rush Hour shows the unique boating transportation apparent in the city of Venice. The artist captures an everyday moment for Italy and transforms it into a fascinating experience for others. The complexity of space carries a lighthearted quality with the inclusion of a rather overheated looking dog. The large scale of this work makes the viewer feel involved with the scene while the unique angle of the point of view further emphasizes that point. Mazzei’s other notable work is titled Good Morning and depicts two women on bikes having a relaxed conversation. The artist seems to capture only a moment of calm in the busy streets of the city while these women share a quick word.
Colin Hewitt’s work, part of Jennifer Melby’s Printmaking program in Venice, features the architectural elements of the beautiful buildings of Venice. From entire structures to the minute details of simple sculptures or facades, Hewitt seems to find inspiration in the intricacies of architecture.
Colin Hewitt
From the windows of Jenkins to the landscapes of Melina DiMarco and Colin Hewitt, the art created by the Pratt in Venice program explores a variety of subject matters that serve to recreate the experience of the bustling Italian city.
Jenkins, Window Series 1-9
Max Tover, Untitled Watecolors
The Pratt in Venice program is a six week summer program that occurs every year during June and July. Students studying painting, drawing, printmaking, and art history have the opportunity to learn the techniques of Venetian art in Venice itself. If you’re interested in the program email

photos by Carolyn Osori, 2012