Study Abroad in India: “‘Namaste’ and a smile got me far enough”

“It’s culturally and visually so stimulating, the smells and sounds are all overwhelming in an incredible and good way,” says Photography Professor Jessica Wynne. She was mingling with the nine students she led through India as part of the International Photographic Study and Practice course this winter intersession. Upon viewing each others’ photographs at a reception outside the Great Hall, they talked in exuberant detail about their study abroad experience.

Photo by Serena Ho

“We took a boat ride on the Ganges at dawn. Just nine of us on the boat. It was magical,” says David Western, a Fashion Merchandising Management major. “There are men who ride around with bird feed trying to get you to buy it to feed the birds. There are people washing clothes and bathing” he says.

“We were going non-stop from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday,” says Prof. Wynne. “We started in Delhi, then went to Agra to the Taj Mahal. We flew to Varanasi, famous for the sacred pilgrimages to the Ganges.”

Photo by David Western

“The Ganges is a sacred river for Hindus. It’s the highest honor to be cremated there,” says Wynne. “Hindus believe if they are cremated on the banks of the Ganges River their soul will be free from the cycle of death and rebirth. It’s all happening at once; they bathe, wash their clothes, let children play, and at the same time they are burning bodies.”

Western, a rock climber and skier interested in travel and sports photography, said “It was an opportunity to learn more about myself as a photographer. I’ve photographed climbers in extreme conditions. This pushed me to work on different styles.” A theme he focused on was images captured through car windows.

Photo by David Western

“I wanted to explore how people react to the camera in the East versus the West,” said photography major Sophia Pavlatos, who decided to make the trip “because it was unconventional…It was incredible to see how open they were to my camera,” she said.

Photo by Sophia Pavlatos

For the photo of the man on the outdoor bed (above) Pavlatos said “I let myself into his backyard in rural Delhi and he welcomed me with a natural pose.

“‘Namaste’ and a smile got me far enough,” she says.

Photo by Pamela Stoicev

“Before photographing them we spoke, a mixture of facial expressions and light English. I met their families and asked to take their photos. It’s not posed. Their lifestyle allows for genuine photographs. They don’t have the media giving them an aesthetic–they give 100 percent of themselves,” says Pavlatos.

Photo by Pamela Stoicev

“I took a series of abstract photos, about 20 of just color and shapes of objects,” says Fine Arts major Pamela Stoicev. “I’m interested in the things people overlook.  In my painting class we’re doing a culture painting, referencing lore and culture. So it worked out perfectly. I’m very happy that the two classes merged,” she says.

Some mischievous monkeys captured the attention of Karina Demirciyan, a Communications Design major. “We went to a yoga studio and these monkeys were jumping up and down going from the roof to the ground and then to the next group of buildings,” she said.

Photo by Karina Demirciyan

“It was like Wak-a-mole. I stayed there with my camera and took the shot. It was perfect timing. Then there was a tarp they were poking in and out of,” hence another capture.

Photo by Karina Demirciyan

Ziara Rosario, a Fashion Business Merchandising major was struck by shapes and passageways. “I focused on architecture because architecture carries the same weight as other forms of expression of the culture,” she said.

Photo by Ziara Rosario

“I had a lot of fun looking at the in-between-stuff as you walk. This was leaving the Taj Mahal. There are alleyways, but you might not think to catch these places.”


Snapshots & memories from winter session study abroad in India

Click on link for more information on Short-Term Study Abroad programs.

All photos used with permission

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Behind Den Ly’s Pikolinos win: Good design. Good business acumen. Triumph over tragedy.

Den Ly

Seems simple enough. Talented BFA senior from Accessories Design sees contest opportunity. Submits a nice entry. Wins the top prize last fall for his beautiful sandal design, in a contest sponsored by Pikolinos.

Spain-based Pikolinos, one of Europe’s top brands, offers affordable luxury in the $150-$200 range. The company is known for its solid craftsmanship with shoes for men and women. It has a long history in Europe and is starting to get a devoted American following.

“Everything they do is very sustainable and with thoughts about the environment,” says Den Ly, 37. “That appealed to me because when you look at their stuff it looks like products of a tannery. You would think that must be toxic but Pikolinos uses mostly vegetable-based chemicals.”

Den Ly presenting his Pikolinos designs to the judges. Photo: Teresa Miranda

The competition was to make a summer/fall sandal. But the story is not just about stitching and lacing. Den Ly’s win includes uncommon business acumen and an unmatched life history marked by triumph over tragedy.

Pikolinos is Den Ly’s latest award. Others he’s won include a Two Ten footwear scholarship, an award from the Accessories Council for his AAS exhibit, plus two second-place awards for footwear and belts. “I enter as many footwear competitions as I can to pay for school supplies and expenses,” he says.

Den Ly

“I do all types of footwear but mostly menswear and hybrids. This was different because it was for women and meant to be a luxury sandal,” he said. There were 13 who entered for three cash prizes with the top winner getting a two week internship.

Thus, said Den Ly, it was like going on a job interview. So Den Ly, a Cambodian who came to the US as a child refugee, tried to learn a paragraph in Spanish. He said the Pikolinos representatives responded by saying “I’m glad you respected our culture.”

Den Ly’s 2015 collection and award

Pikolinos, he noted, wants to build on its heritage but bring a new atmosphere. To prepare for his contest presentation, Den Ly looked at pictures of Pikolino’s model on Google and judged her supposed lifestyle – “a luxury vibe,” he says, “but approachable.”

“Den Ly’s design displayed a modern take, and yet kept the brand’s artistic vision making it a perfect addition to our SS2018 collection,” said  Pikolinos Group President Juanma Perán.

Den Ly’s sneaker collection for a performance footwear sketching class

Den Ly says he wants to be a creative director of footwear. He hopes to direct a brand and eventually to create one of his own.

That’s quite a life change, and the change involves quite a story.

Not long ago, Den Ly was living in Cambodia teaching mixed martial arts for a living after an injury in Florida cut short his promising MMA career (11 wins, 2 losses and 6 KOs).

Den Ly’s shoe design for a private client used for Two Ten scholarship entry

He credits his pet monkey, Gizmo (from the popular 80s movie Gremlins) for the career change. “I had him strapped on my back so he wasn’t scared riding on my moped. I had unstrapped him to get a bite to eat and get something for him. He ran off into a coffee shop.”

When Den Ly found him, he had latched onto the hand of a beautiful barista, a young woman whose background was French and Vietnamese. “She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.”

Her response? “You have to watch your pet. You have to take him outside.”

Den Ly hiking in Cambodia where he worked as a mixed martial arts instructor

Den Ly says he believes Gizmo had knowingly played matchmaker. “He had a smirk.” Den Ly had grown up in a Cambodian refugee camp, but after years in Florida, boxing and working in construction, he was no longer fluent in Cambodian. “I spent months going to the coffee shop before I asked her out. She would not date me until I met her grandparents got their approval.” 

Gizmo, the matchmaker

Finally an introduction was arranged. “We go into this shop that was full of bespoke shoes. Her grandmother hands me a broom. ‘If you’re going to follow my grand daughter around like a puppy, make yourself useful,’ she said.”

“They started helping me learn to make shoes. I would come every other day. I quit teaching martial arts. Cambodia is an inexpensive place to live. It’s a landlocked Hawaii. Hawaii with landmines.”

Den Ly was there for two years but left after a tragic accident. “She gave me a bigger reason to do shoes,” he says about the woman he had grown close to.

Den Ly’s design for a nontraditional footwear class project that combines inspiration from the Natural Museum of History and an iconic shoe (Doc Martins with Dino scales)

Den Ly had barely graduated high school. In Florida he had focused on surfing and music. “I picked up odd jobs doing construction. I was good at it because I was always good at math and had brute strength.”

What he didn’t have was the academic history to prove he could handle FIT.  So the first step was to spend two years at SUNY’s Hudson Valley Community College to get his grades up and get core classes out of the way. With his perfect 4.0 GPA, FIT beckoned.

Den Ly

Den Ly is still couch-surfing, saving as much as he can. Excuse the pun, but it does indeed look like the shoe FITs.  “That’s perfect. I’m a lovable, practical joker, a helpless romantic, corny guy at heart,” says Den Ly.

“Den has such a courageous and inspiring story,” says Juanma Peran, President of Pikolinos. “We’re so happy to be part of his journey.” 

Photos of Den Ly with shoe designs by Rachel Ellner

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The “magical feelings” that led to Upper Worlds

The lions, wolves, lemurs, monkeys and birds from the “Upper Worlds” installation are gone now.  For six months they beckoned passersby from the Fifth Avenue display window of the Mid Manhattan Library. Their purpose was a different one from the famed lions, Patience and Fortitude, seated diagonally across the street at the entrance way of the 42nd Street NYPL. They are an expression of reverence for Earth’s creatures on the brink of extinction.  The creator of the Upper Worlds, artist and sculptress Professor Sue Willis, talks here with Fine Arts Chair Joel Werring about the installation:

“One of the most exciting things about the creative process is to find out where you’re going and what you end up with. You’re not always led where you think you’re going to be led. It’s the magical feeling of discovering something you weren’t expecting to happen.” – Sue Willis

Detail from Upper Worlds exhibit

“For me, Sue’s  installation at the NY public library was a heartfelt and compassionate statement on the vulnerability and diversity of life on this marvelous planet and that we as humans so often take for granted,” says Prof. Werring.

For more about the dimensions of  Upper Worlds


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The presidential election and aftermath: Alex Golshani’s “11/9”

What happens when you expect scenes of joy, and fate provides pathos instead?

“I thought I  would be photographing a celebration,” says Alex Golshani (photography ’16), about the evening of the presidential election.  “I expected to be making images of mothers and daughters witnessing an historic event and tearfully jubilant voters relieved after a close call with a nightmare scenario.”

Here are several of Golshani’s photos and comments about election night and the protests that followed. The photos are part of his “11/9” series that was recently published as a book.

Photo: Alex Golshani

“I was in the crowd outside of Javits Center and as the votes were being reported.  This woman (above) was the first person I saw tearing up. I took it as a sign of what was coming,” says Golshani.

Photo: Alex Golshani

“His portraits illustrate the face of the country at this moment of time,” says Professor Curtis Willocks of his former student.  “Alex is a thinker. He’s cerebral.  He’s always looking. He’s always thinking.  He is so observant of people and light. His work has always stood out.”

Photo: Alex Golshani

Outside the Javits Center, Khizr Kahn (above) and other prominent Clinton supporters gave speeches. “Mr. Kahn was of particular interest to me because of his role in the campaign and his bold opposition to discrimination and bullying,” says Golshani.

“Alex Golshani’s stark and moving black and white images of election night and the protests that followed poignantly and sensitively capture the mood of despair, disbelief and brewing anger of the moment. 

Ed Kashi acclaimed photojournalist and author

Photo: Alex Golshani

When the crowd cleared, Golshani walked to Times Square where he found a mix of supporters from each side. “People were arguing and yelling. That man (above) in the suit just looked stunned, like he couldn’t believe what was happening,” says Golshani.

“His portraits illustrate the face of the country at this moment of time…Alex is a thinker. He’s cerebral…His work has always stood out.”

– Prof. Curtis Willocks

“I was feeling distressed and wanting to call it quits and go home, but I didn’t. This was history happening all around me and it didn’t matter if I was scared I had to document it,” he says.

Photo: Alex Golshani

We stand at a crossroads and never in my lifetime have I felt the critical need of the media and visual storytellers to portray our nation with calm, dignity and truthfulness. Alex’s work represents an approach that I hope we see more of.” – Ed Kashi

The following night Golshani went to the protest rally that started in Union Square and marched to Trump Tower.

“There were thousands of people on Fifth Avenue. Many had signs and were chanting. People wanted their opposition to be heard. Many were climbing scaffolding and lamp posts.”

Photo: Alex Golshani

Golshani says that at FIT he explored many “applications” of photography.  “My work evolved a lot in four years. I  had the benefit of some great professors who informed my many interests.”

“I admired him from Day One,” says Prof. Willocks.  “He’d go out and experiment on his own with different cameras, with different film. We’d take the train to 42nd Street. Even on that short trip he’d be photographing. When I think of Alex Golshani I think of a Leica camera. He always had one around his neck. He knows his stuff.”

Photo: Alex Golshani

Golshani says he has been photographing protests since Occupy Wall Street  in 2011. “The protests I have documented have been about issues like the economy, police brutality, women’s rights and even protests for food purity. Making pictures has been my way of contributing,” he says.

Photo: Alex Golshani

“I think this series is a time capsule of how people were feeling about certain issues. Today they mean one thing, in 40 years they may have a different meaning”says Golshani, who plans to do related works on the upcoming inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington.

Photo: Alex Golshani

To see more of Alex Golshani’s work or to purchase “9/11” go to: Alex Golshani Photography

The photographic work and opinions expressed by Alex Golshani are his own. 

All images used with permission.


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Goodbye Sass!

Sass Brown

“The next picture I send you I’ll be on a camel”

The associate dean (and for five months our interim dean) of the School of Art and Design has left after 17 years at FIT for a warmer… much warmer…clime, in a city with really tall buildings and great high-fashion shopping malls and 24-hour air conditioning…Dubai.

Parting shots:

Goodbye words: “No, I didn’t get fired!”

Days between arrival and work: “I fly on (Jan) the 6th, arrive on (Jan) the 7th and start work on (Jan) the 8th.”

New title:  Dean, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation

Most important clothing she’s taking with her: “Something by Donna Karan Urban Zen. Coats will go to the back of the wardrobe.”

Most important books:  “‘African Origin of Civilization,’ by Cheikh Anta Diop, and ‘The Artist’s Way,’ by Julia Cameron.”

First experience at FIT: “I was brought in to teach American Couture. I used to laugh that they brought in a European for this.”

Favorite memory at FIT: Georgianna Appignani (director of International Programs) sent me to a conference in Rio on textiles. I’d never had any public speaking experience. It was attended by the president or VP of Brazil. It was another experience of leaping and hoping a net would be there. It opened my eyes to the opportunities in education. I’ve written two books since then, lots of papers and taught workshops and spoken all over the world.

Advice to self in re-locating to a new country: “You have to find the things that bring you joy very quickly. It’s a way of establishing your own supports. Whenever you move, especially where you don’t know anyone, you lose all the familiarities that make life comfortable. You’re going to have many lonely and stressful times.”

First one new thing of joy in Dubai: “A Lebanese restaurant I discovered.”

Other things of comfort: “My broom(stick), my crystals, things that I’ve picked up from places I’ve been, chairs from Ivory Coast, ornaments from Brazil.

Average temperature in Dubai “It hovers between 80 degrees F and 85 degrees F. ”

“I love the desert” she says.

Sass Brown

Sass with her last afternoon tea at FIT


Also check out:

Talking trash with Sass

Dean Arbuckle on Simone Cipriani & The Hand of Fashion series

Paul Dillinger of Levi Strauss kicks off Summer Sustainability Institute

Art & Design’s Sass Brown Appointed Acting Assistant Dean

photos: Rachel Ellner

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Kareen Fagan: DIY and beauty care “to the core”

When Kareen Fagan tells people that she has an AAS in Jewelry Design (2005) and that she runs a body and hair care products business, she imagines them wondering: “How does she go from creating artistic designs to making soaps and scrubs?”

Ms. Fagan, now at work on her BS in Entrepreneurship, tells us how she combines intertwining passions. She also talks about her enduring inspiration, her grandmother Enid, whose name is now synonymous with sweet smelling herbs, scented oils, and healing and beauty lotions.

Kareen Fagan working with ingredients in her Crock-Pot

“While I am an artist, my focus is on making products with nourishing ingredients from the earth to help treat or alleviate conditions such as eczema, sunburn or overly dry or oily skin,” she says.

Ms. Fagan describes herself as “DIY” to the core. “Along with making jewelry, I’ve made hair and body products based on my personal needs since I was a teen,” she says.

Soap bars in oatmeal

Having tried different moisturizers for dry skin, she researched and experimented with plant-based oils in her kitchen. She developed her Shea Body and Hair Butter, which she shared with friends and family who then requested to purchase more.

“I didn’t plan on starting a body and hair care business. My goal since I was a teenager was to have a jewelry company,” she says.

Part of the Enid B. line

In fact she was selling handmade jewelry when she was only 11 years old.  “On weekends I sold my jewelry at craft shows.  My parents allowed me to travel from our home in New Jersey to Manhattan to buy my beads and supplies at wholesale suppliers,” she says.

“A couple years ago I became passionate about helping people with my body and hair products. I  chose to use chemical- and preservative-free, plant-based oils like raw shea butter, organic olive oil, organic coconut oil and essential oils.”

The alchemist’s work station

Ms. Fagan named her company Enid B. in honor of her paternal grandmother. “She first taught me about using medicinal plants to care for our family,” she says.

Kareen Fagan with her grandmother Enid

“The artistry of jewelry making is incorporated in my body and hair care product making in different ways. I consciously choose plants that I infuse into oil in order to get different colors to have as my color palette, much the way I would use colored stones,” she says.

Jars of colored oil for Enid B. products

“My Thai Breeze soap is made in two batches and then combined. One batch has no added color, but takes on a cream color from the, which over time fades to a soft brown and then becomes the top layer of the soap.”

For the second batch, the bottom layer is infused with annatto seeds, a natural colorant used in foods like Spanish yellow rice. “It’s inspired by the rich colors of Thailand and the golden architecture that is part of the country’s landscape. Then there’s the blending of essential oils to create imagery I like.  I use lemongrass and ginger as the lead scents in my Thai Breeze soap.”

Enid B. soaps

Ms. Fagan began blending oils that she found to have healing properties.  “I have taken perfumery courses like Intro to Perfumery.” She takes other courses based on the needs of her business as they arise. For instance, she took Intro to Digital Photography and Still-Life Fundamentals for Fashion Stylists.

“Packaging design has become very important to me. I want the packaging to be an outward extension of the product’s purpose, which the customer will experience upon opening. My products are for the good that they will do, but also they are little luxuries that sit beautifully next to a favorite soap dish in the bathroom, or next to a collection of vintage perfume bottles in the bedroom.”

Ms. Fagan has begun using glass jars for her shea body-hair butters and face-lip scrubs like her Rosemary and Lemon Sugar Scrub.

“There’s a feeling that comes from the coolness as your hand glides over the smooth sides of the jars.  There’s also an elegance that plastic cosmetic jars don’t always have,” she says.

Blooming Rose Sea Salt Scrub alongside rose petals

With the help of friends and family, Ms. Fagan has honed what she calls her “design eye.” Early on, a roommate she had, pointed out the complimentary designs of materials she had chosen for the apartment. “There was a lace theme in my curtains and a couple of tops and a favorite skirt. The colors in my quilt were the same as my oven mitts,” she says.

Now Ms. Fagan gets feedback from her husband and friends. “They get to be my product test subjects, which they absolutely don’t mind!”

More information on Kareen Fagan’s skin care line can be found on her Etsy shop: Enid B.

All images used with permission.

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Meet Dave, Felix, Iggy, Elsa, Buster & Ginger

“First off, I am a dog lover,” says Illustration Professor John Nickle, to exactly no one’s surprise. While the award-winning illustrator’s spunky, high-minded animal characters for children’s books are 100% imagination, these hard-living pups serve as the illustrator’s live muses.  He knows their stories, predilections, where they hail from, accessories they look best in and the ones they chew through. Prof. Nickle tells of his experience with each of them here:
"Dave," by John Nickle
“Dave” by John Nickle
I was given a blurry, one-inch square Xerox copy of Dave’s ASPCA mugshot, attached to his rescue paperwork. Apparently the guys who found him, stuck a hat on him for the photo. I re-shot the photo reference for detail and lighting, and added a different hat but kept Dave’s stunned expression. 
My inspiration comes from the 18th century English painter George Stubbs, known for his animal paintings. I recently saw several of Stubbs’ horse paintings at the Met and was struck by how subtly weird they were.
Rundown & Felix
“Rundown & Felix” by John Nickle

Rundown is a big, solid Hamptons dog by way of Baltimore. Felix is my dog, a crazy Italian Greyhound. They see each other a couple of times a year when we visit our friend Stacey in Sag Harbor. When they play it’s like watching a weight lifter and a sprinter dance and trash talk.

My challenge is to push the paintings beyond straightforward animal portraiture and find a little twist to make them interesting.

"Iggy" by John Nickle
“Iggy” by John Nickle

Felix and I know Iggy and his owner Dani from Prospect Park. Dani says that Iggy’s face reminded her of a pansy. I had a hard time composing this with just one pansy, so a halo seemed to be a good and appropriate solution. Prospect Park is the background.

The series dovetails nicely with my illustration and painting classes at FIT. They are collaborative, like illustration assignments, and I use a classical approach to the making of the paintings.

"Elsa" by John Nickle
“Elsa” by John Nickle

Elsa is an Icelandic Sheepdog. Her “mom,” Annika and the family are avid skiers and split their time between Vermont and Brooklyn. Elsa is a fiery, focused, and vocal little dog, aka the “Bjork of Prospect Park.” I wanted to juxtapose her intense presence with the serenity of a snowy landscape. 

I encourage each client to tell me their dog’s story and encourage feedback during the photography and sketch phase. I take a lot of photos for reference and usually use about four final choices for the main reference.  One photo for expression, one for angle, one for color and one for lighting.

The final paintings are all acrylic on wood. I start with a monotone underpainting and then apply a combination of washes, opaque paint, and glazes.

"Buster" by John Nickle
“Buster” by John Nickle
Buster and Ginger are roommates in New Jersey. Rendering fur was the big challenge here, of Ginger’s flowing locks and Buster’s crazy patchwork. These are part of a three-part commission that includes the client’s son.
"Ginger" by John Nickle
“Ginger” by John Nickle

For each of the paintings, I made the background a bold, solid primary-ish color so that they could be hung close together as a triptych, spaced and hung as either a horizontal or a vertical set.

John Nickle has been teaching in the School of Art and Design for five years. In the undergraduate Illustration program he teaches drawing and painting, illustration assignment, and senior portfolio classes. In the MFA program, he split teaches the Exploring Media class.

To see more of Professor Nickle’s work go to: John Nickle Illustration

All images used with permission.


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Samantha Mayo’s Color Harmony Project

Samantha Mayo became interested in interior design in her junior year at Sayville High School on Long Island.  “I grew up going to antique shops in Pennsylvania and throughout New England. I had an interest and feel for furniture and accessories from different time periods,” says Mayo, now a first-semester Interior Design student.

“I used to wonder how the furnishings and pieces affected their previous owners’ lives. I thought about how to recreate the same feeling or perhaps a completely different one for another person’s life,” says Mayo.

“Now I think about the environment that furnishings belong in — how the colors will affect the perception and mood of the space,” she says about what she’s learned in Interior Design Studio I class with Prof. Phyllis Harbinger.

Samantha Mayo, first semester Interior Design student. Photo: Patrizia Messino
Samantha Mayo, 1st semester Interior Design student. Photo By: Patrizia Messineo

Her second project for this class was to explore moods and setting. “We were each assigned a different hue; mine was orange. I created a triadic color scheme for a therapy center. This is a hue that exudes a hopeful, happy and relaxing environment,” says Mayo.

Samantha Mayo’s Color Harmony Commercial Space

“What students learn,” says Prof. Harbinger “is not only the principals and theory of color harmony, but the practical application of appropriate materials. It’s not just about the right hue or color, but making sure your texture and patterns are all aligning with the overall scheme and provide function for that particular space.”

The commercial board (above) is a triadic color harmony.  That means three colors equidistant on the color wheel. The hues in an orange triadic scheme include purple and green. “We went to the Decoration and Design Building,  which has interior design showrooms, to find samples of materials that would be in our respective spaces. It was fun but challenging to find the right ones for a commercial space,” says Mayo.

Samantha Mayo's Color Harmony of Residential Space
Samantha Mayo’s Color Harmony of Residential Space

The project’s second board is of a residential space. “This is a master bedroom. I created a client profile of a young woman in Arizona who longed for cooler weather. Her bedroom retreat included the elements of her surroundings–the warm tones of orange, but also the cool tones of blue. Think cool ocean breezes!” says Mayo.

“Her boards were very professionally executed,” says Prof. Harbinger. “She’s coming away from this project with a better understanding of how an interior designer would work through the process of creating a color harmony.”

There’s more to come. “The interior design curriculum will help Samantha build a skill set that will enable her to understand, evaluate how to incorporate elements from various historical periods into a design that will fit the way we live today,” says Prof. Harbinger.

Mayo agrees. “Learning about color harmony and schemes will help me incorporate elements of different time periods into spaces that I’ll be designing.”


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Professors’ FIT invite wins prestigious design award

Communication Design Assistant Chair CJ Yeh and Professor Christie Shin won two of the 143 awards in the 2016 Communication Arts Typography Award competition. As is customary to say in this election year, “That’s UUUGE!” The CA Award is one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world. The professors’ winning design for the all-type design category was the invitation card for FIT’s first exhibit of student work from the department’s new Creative Technology minor.

“We got the design direction for the front of the card fairly quickly,” said Prof. Yeh. “But I got stuck working on the design for the back. The theme was typography in the digital age,” And then…

Winner of all-type design CA Award for their invitation to the Creative Technology exhibit “TYPE.”

“Prof. Shin started breaking the expected grid and used a diagonal layout to bring more energy to the design.

“I watched her move things around quickly on and off the art board. I said to myself  ‘Oh, the movement reminds me of a printing press.’ It actually looks like a misprint when it is left partially outside of the art board.

Communication Design professors & CA winners CJ Yeh and Christie Chin

“Misprint became our core concept. We were excited by this direction. The idea of a misprint exposes the technology behind the making of the invitation card. The textual content was rotated and purposely aligned on an angle to give a sense of movement, and the position was carefully calculated so the viewer has to complete some of the information by moving the eyes from one side to the other.”


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Cool factors of BFA majors & minors

We all live a little vicariously when we peek into a classroom where art and design creation is going on–whether it’s producing animations, illustrations, jewelry making, draping fabric, lighting a photography set or constructing a hat. All that focus and creative exploration! Every BFA Art & Design major has its allure, its cross-disciplinary components, and of course its solid course of study. Choosing one might seem monolithic. We picked out just a few of some of the cool factors overheard at this year’s BFA Fair, in hopes that it might help you clinch the deal.

Terry Blum, Director, John Goodwin, professor Computer Animation & Interactive Computer Graphics
Terry Blum, Director,  Prof. John Goodwin, Computer Animation & Interactive Computer Graphics

Computer Animation & Interactive Media Computer Graphics

“Kids come into our program with the idea of learning a quarter of what we offer, and they end up falling in love with a whole different section of it that they didn’t know about,” says Prof. John Goodwin. “There’s interactive media! Animation–both 2D and 3D! Game design!”

Extra cool factor: “Just with the prerequisites alone you can get a job in advertising. There are so many jobs out there in image presenting motion,” says Prof. Goodwin.

Camita Sanchez-Fong, Assistant Chair, Eric Daniels, Chair, Interior Design
Camita Sanchez-Fong, Assistant Chair, Eric Daniels, Chair, Interior Design

Interior Design

“People think we just decorate and don’t realize how technical we are and how close we come to architecture,” says Interior Design Assistant Chair Carmita Sanchez-Fong. “We go to the heart of construction by understanding building regulations, mechanical systems and advanced methods of construction. If you want to see your designs come to life you must understand the technical end of design.”

Extra cool factor: “To become certified designers, the BFA is a tremendous plus,” says Prof. Sanchez-Fong.

Craig Berger, Chair, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design
Craig Berger, Chair, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design

Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design

“We’re using digital technologies to create environments and objects in real space. It’s very multidisciplinary,” says Steve Ceraso, VPED Technician. “Students love the process of creating vectors and seeing their CAD images come to life, of seeing their digital designs formed into real materials.  It’s for people who want to use a lot of different media and mediums.”

Extra cool factor: “One of the biggest new things we’re doing involves the convergence of digital design and construction design,” says VPED Chair Craig Berger. “We’re invested a lot in the new software and hardware including a C&C router and a laser cutter while leveraging the Art and Design’s 3D printing capacity to integrate computer aided fabrication into the curriculum. The students love that stuff. It gets them jazzed!”

Toy Design students
Toy Design students

Toy Design

“We do a lot of work with kids. Story telling events, hands-on internships, working in day care centers, observing play patterns, and interactive experience as a teaching assistant,” says Toy Design Chair Judy Ellis. “Between their junior and senior years students have internships across the country. They’re full-time, paid, internships arranged through the department. Interviews are held during the Toy Fair.”

Extra cool factor: “Upcoming we have our event with Mod Haven charter school from the South Bronx,” says Prof. Ellis. “The children come for a story-telling session with a professional storyteller and drummer. They create an original story book. Students help with forming the story and illustrations.”

CJ Yeh, Assistant Chair, Communication Design
CJ Yeh, Assistant Chair, Communication Design

Communications Design

“It’s one of the unique departments at FIT because we have two different programs under the same roof–advertising design and graphic design, says Communications Design Assistant Chair CJ Yeh. “There is also a Creative Technology minor, which is a truly interesting program.”

Extra cool factor: “We’re currently doing a collaboration with the NFL. We have 25 students in the minor from nine different majors participating. We’re redesigning their visual system, which will be available globally on all the NFL merchandise.”

Professor Vasilios Christofilakos and Sarah Mullins, Chair, Accessories Design
Professor Vasilios Christofilakos and Sarah Mullins, Chair, Accessories Design

Accessories Design

Cool factor: “The BFA graduating student work is judged at the Next Generation Awards held in partnership with the Accessories Council,” says Accessories Design Chair Sarah Mullins. “The awards are sponsored by high-profile brands and industry leaders.  The event includes BFA collection and portfolio presentations that allow students to connect with members of the industry.

Chair Marianne Klimchuk and Prof. Sandra Krasovec Packaging Design
Chair Marianne Klimchuk & Prof. Sandra Krasovec, Packaging Design

Packaging Design

Says department Chair Marianne Klimchuk, “The intriguing thing is that this is about the first thing you touch in the morning–like toothpaste, makeup, shampoo, body wash perfume–and the last thing you touch at night–moisturizer, cold medicine, tissues. Packaging isn’t just about design, it’s about brand strategy, materials, manufacturing, production, global communication, consumer psychology. Packaging Design impacts the bottom line of a consumer product.”

Extra cool factor: “Because we’re the only packaging design BFA in the US, students are incredibly marketable,” says Prof. Klimchuk, “One hundred percent of last year’s class have industry jobs.” In a competition for Champagne last year, Packaging Design students won the first and second place out of 700 global submissions.

Prof. Michael Casey, Chair Eileen Karp, Prof. Mary Ann Ferro, Fashion Design
Prof. Michael Casey, Chair Eileen Karp, Prof. Mary Ann Ferro, Fashion Design

Fashion Design

“Our program allows students greater opportunity to design their own ‘journey’ that fits their interests,” says Fashion Chair Eileen Karp. “For instance, a sportswear student can take major area selectives and related area selectives in knitwear. Or a knitwear student can take some intimate apparel selectives. Or a special occasion student can take intimate apparel selectives.”

Extra cool factor: “We have a lot of study abroad opportunities around the world with our own program in Italy,” says Karp.

Textile Surface Design

“If you love fashion and art you’ll love textiles,” says Nomi Kleinman, Assistant Chair of Textile Surface Design. “People don’t realize they might actually be more interested in the fabric itself than the finished product.”

Sarah Pettit, Coordinator, Fabric Styling
Sarah Pettit, Coordinator, Fabric Styling

Cool factor:  “In Textile Surface Design you get to indulge in yarn, color, and design using wovens, screen prints, and mixed media. Students draw on historical and contemporary inspirations as well as develop their own personal aesthetic.”

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