Category: Student Exhibit

Illustration students go 3D with Kidrobot Munnys

By , February 12, 2013 6:24 pm

What are they doing there and how did they get there? That group of intriguingly weird, artistically cartoonist, sometimes beautiful and occasionally ghastly little Kidrobot Munny figures huddled under the display case in Pomerantz D3.  They sprang from illustration Professor Leslie Cober-Gentry’s off-the-2D-beat-and-path class assignment.

Ranky Huang

Kidrobot is a retail store that carries toys created initially by well-known artists.  When Munny is heated with a hairdryer, the vinyl becomes pliable and can be cut away and then molded said Cober-Gentry.  ”Students get tired of the 2-D thing. So the 3-D project is really exciting. They’re stimulated by the new thought process.”

Rebekah Bennington

The instructions went something like this: paint a do-it-yourself Munny from Kidrobot; illustrate a background environment for the Munny — medium of the student’s choice.  ”After creating and enlarging numerous thumbnail sketches, students created their own custom Munnys in their own environment,” says Cober-Gentry.

Emily Arlngton. Inspired by a mug shot, or most-wanted poster

Emily Arlington’s Munny was based on a 1960s mug shot with “humor and history.” She chose black and white to represent the time period and for its pronounced quality. “There is a working base where the Munny can turn as if posing for a mug shot, and there is a gun hidden in the women’s cat-covered undergarments,” she said.

Ian Hansen

“Ian paints beautifully. His pictures are truly meticulous,” says Cober-Gentry.

Veronica Stone

On the East Coast there’s more emphasis on (illustrating) publications,” says Cober-Gentry. “California is more entertainment–movies and videos. This type of assignment shows the students there’s a world of opportunity out there. They will have to go out and look for different directions to show their abilities.” 

Kaitlin Gugel

“Kaitlin took my advise on values and composition throughout the semester. She came up with something wonderful,” says Prof. Cober-Gentry

Samantha Coatoro

“The Munny project provided students  with a common 3-D canvas to create something unique while working on identical items. A lot of students found their voice with this project. It was a fun way to shake things up at the end of a long semester.” - Emily Arlington

Kylie Derby

“Making the Munny was really fun,” says Michael Wong “The process took me back to my childhood, cutting papers and fabric, gluing things, molding. It was an exciting end result. I initially thought I would fail, but it actually went better than I thought. I learned new applications for illustration, and that different media is not just paint, ink, papers and canvas; it can be anything!”

Jennifer Tlkachov


Michael Wong

“I love that Michael worked within the box. They looked for all kinds of material and came up with incredible solutions,” said Cober-Gentry.

Catherine Notto – A young and old man

“Students often ask ‘What does this have to do with illustration?’ But it’s not just about 2-D publishing. It’s an assignment-based project. They’re answering the assignment — that’s what illustration is all about. It’s similar to something you’re asked to do,” said Cober Gentry.

Nina Moore – Strawberry Man

“It’s amazing what students do when they really love an assignment — when they’ve been working passionately throughout the semester, taking in critiques, studying established illustrators and noticing what’s being created around them. They become stars in the end,” says Cober-Gentry.

Alexander Rosenberg – cave carved out of styrofoam

photos: Leslie Cober-Gentry

The Way to Art Basel

By , January 28, 2013 3:51 pm

As Melissa Starke saw it, Art Basel provided an opportunity to try a new approach for students to participate in a world renowned art show.  Instead of a contest with a panel of judges, instead of it coming down to either: You’re in, versus “maybe next time,” students would participate in a mentoring program designed to prepare them for an exhibition of such a large magnitude.

For Melissa, coordinator of the Fine Arts department it meant an onrush of work and excitement. “We functioned as if we were an established gallery,” said Melissa who is also adviser for Urban Studio, an School-supported artists’ collective based out of the fine arts department.

Melissa Starke, coordinator of fine arts and adviser to Urban Studio

Here are some of the steps that Melissa and 20 students, faculty members and alumni followed that led to the culmination of their participation in Art Basel Miami in fall 2012.

1. End of spring 2012: Melissa sets up the student mentoring program with the goal of applying to Art Basel. Faculty mentors critique and hold “a dialog” about the collective work. “That’s what met the initial eligibility criteria” said Melissa. Students were also given assistance with practical matters, like writing bios and artists’ statements.

2. Students work throughout the summer 2012 into the fall on individual pieces that would be exhibited at the Art Fair. 

Students fundraising to cover costs for Art Basel

3.  Students fundraise during the months of preparation, to help cover costs for the trip to Miami. There are tote bag sales, a flea market and a raffle. 

Constructing a public art piece at Art Basel

4.  In addition to the exhibit, a proposal had been approved for a large-scale sculpture to be build in one of the public spaces. “We built an entire public art piece from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.” said Melissa. The installation was a 20’ x 12’ metal rectangular form filled with cocoon-like shapes suspended above a swimming pool. Each artist filled a “cocoon” with objects of personal significance

The night before the VIP Art fair opening, students meet with Melissa, FIT grads and faculty member Joel Werring to discuss how to best approach patrons and visitors, as well as go over gallery materials.  

Urban Studio’s exhibition room

The day after they finished the public installation, Melissa and FIT alum Garrett Klein curated and installed the exhibition. The VIP opening was that same night.

Garrett Klein welcoming visitors

“You can see that this experience could not have happened without the commitment and collaboration of a small village!” said Melissa. “Having exhibited during Art Basel was an invaluable experience for everyone. It’s possible that an artist might not have this opportunity in their lifetime.”

It was the fourth successful year for FIT involvement in Art Basel.  To read about last year’s appearance go to: Urban studio creates a splash at Art Basel

Participating artists from the FIT community included: Greta Anderson, Katrina Avino-Barracato, Valentina Burzanovic, Mario Cardoza, Dimitri Dimizas, Slavko Djuric, Eric Gottshall, Brittany Gray, Jisu Kim, Garrett Klein, Chadbourne Oliver, Lydia Pfeffer, Jessica Planter, Rin Shen, Julia Sinelnikova, Joanna Skora, Melissa Starke, Jennifer Torres, Marcin Wlodarczyk, Joel Werring

Photos used with permission


Chanel Mehyo becoming fearless

By , December 21, 2012 2:50 pm

“Natural, instinctual and quick” is how fine arts student Chanel Mehyo describes her chalk pastels, charcoal and acrylic paint drawings that appear in the Junior BFA “Selections” exhibition in the Pomerantz Building lobby. Mehyo completed the series in experimental drawing class, taught by Prof. Stephanie DeManuelle, chair of fine arts. The class says Mehyo “helped me become more fearless.”

“You can see in Chanel’s work what an amazing sense of color she has. Her whole shape sensitivity is also amazing,” says DeManuelle. “She uses really beautiful color juxtapositions.

Chanel Mehyo chalk and acrylic drawings

“Chanel uses dry and wet media, charcoal, acrylic paint and chalk. It’s the impulse of the project to develop a vocabulary that is used throughout the series with mixed media, ” says DeManuelle, who encourages students to explore contemporary drawing techniques. “Students are meant to develop multiple works using similar strategies in each of the pieces.”

Chanel Mehyo’s series cont.

Mehyo wants to continue her studies post graduation to become an art therapist.

The Selections exhibit will be on display until January 28, 2013.


Contents of Pandora’s box re-captured

By , December 13, 2012 6:51 pm

There are two garish babes bursting with vanity and a gloating cross-legged, primed prima dona. There are the furious fat spider, a he-man who boasts, and a lecherous pair of wide-open mouths sporting minks’ teeth. An ominous, famished figure sits eerily among them while a lazy daydreamer lies pathetic and inert.

 Jealousy, vanity, famine, greed and rage are on display in terrifying, cartoonish proportions on the 3rd floor of the Pomerantz center. These creatures originated in Professor Dan Shefelman’s contemporary media class.

Lauren French

A group of very self-absorbed, miserable louts share space together.

Brittany Falussy

Pandora’s original box came with a heavy lock. These evils are contained in a plexiglass covered display case.

Adam Bohemond

Danielle Fee

The dysfunctional contents of Pandora’s Box.


photos: Dan Shefelman


Kieran Dallison: Beyond the Grand Canyon

By , July 30, 2012 5:31 pm

To be young, full of restless drive and talent and have studied at FIT. That’s Kieran Dallison, the inaugural winner of the GILT/CFDA All-Star Scholarship Award.  Dallison was poised yet full of excitement in describing the import of the award – having his womenswear collection produced and sold by, an exclusive online fashion website. The experience was “surreal,” he said.

Kieran Dallison with his scholarship winner collection. Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency

Fashion writers swooned in to learn more about the vision of the boy from the Grand Canyon. “I think the pure ‘un-fashion-ness’ of northern Arizona has totally affected my life in fashion,” Dallison told Lucky magazine. “We’re designing clothes with an end purpose—they have to be wearable…I’m from a ski town—it’s actually a highland desert. So I draw on a lot of those desert colors in my work.” Dallison’s  mom is a dancer, so “Movement and how clothes react to the body is hugely important to me…I also use a lot of “dancerly” fabrics and leotard-like necklines.”

Dallison, who was recently hired by ICB as an associate designer for its NY office, told us about the “great response” to the collection.  ”The sale was only up for two days. While it was up, about half of the pieces sold out, which is incredibly exciting.  I wanted to create  a collection of clothes that were easily understood, brightly colored, and super fun to wear. I like to put into my work lots of great pieces at affordable prices that still have a lot of the attention to detail and overall design aesthetic.”

In preparation for the CFDA award, Dallison told us he received an “incredible amount of support and guidance” from the Fashion Design Art department.  ”Those professors made themselves available to me at any time, and are spectacular people.  They really helped me gain the confidence in my own work that has been crucial for me to get to this point.”

Dallison attended the awards with co-founders Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson. “It was incredible to attend the awards with them,” he gushed.

Kieran Dallison with his scholarship winner collection. Photo courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency

Dallison advises FIT students: “make it a priority to do as much outside of class as you do in class.  Internships are crucial, as you will inevitably need to foster positive relationships with your co-workers as you leave school and start to search for a job.  Contests are a fantastic way to improve on your work as well.

“If I just went along with the curriculum as it is, I would have never had the opportunities I’ve enjoyed over the past couple years.  Fashion Design is more than just a major – it’s a total life-commitment.  It’s hard work, but it definitely pays off.”

For more media coverage on Kieran Dallison go to:

Harpers Bazaar:

Lucky magazine:




Catering to Barbie’s every whim and loving it!

By , May 16, 2012 8:12 pm

With Barbie now ensconced in her parlors, bedrooms, and other habitats, and with a wardrobe to kill–and with Ken looking on–it was time for thinking of food and pink!  An awards ceremony recognizing those who catered many long months to Barbie’s every fashion whim took place May 10 in the Katie Murphy Amphitheater.  Cotton candy, pink cupcakes, popcorn, pink drinks, watermelon and strawberries were served to a jubilant gathering of students, parents, FIT faculty and Mattel representatives.

pre-award photo op w/ student finalists

“Play with Fashion” encompassed student work from five Art & Design departments. For the Visual  Presentation and Exhibition Design (VPED) department, their installation “The Pink Issue” serves as the graduating exhibition.

Prof. Ann Kong of VPED with students

Barbie luxuriates in her many settings and styles in the lobby of the D Building.

Maor Tapiro's winning Shopaholic design. "Barbie & I share the same shopping addiction."

Veronica Zhou beside her winning shoulder sparkle design

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the pinkest of them all?  Admirers (l-r) Colette Wong, Chair, Karen Scheetz, Assist. Chair, and Prof. Eileen Karp all of Fashion Design caught fawning over Barbie’s new digs and finery.

Elyse Falato next to her winning little girl’s jewelry box containing Barbie’s shoes and accessories

A proud VPED instructor Prof. Glen Socoli with winning students Mike Jonhston, & Phoebe King

 FD Chair Colette Wong,  and A&D Dean Joanne Arbuckle toast the event 

The evening celebrated Barbie’s new looks and environments created by Art & Design students

Binh Nguyen who won for "A Helping Hand" photos inspired by girls without dolls

Katie McTammany and her proud dad. McTammany won for Barbie's "green" digs. Her Interior Design showcase was made with reused and repurposed old clothes and accessories.

Jessica Mazur winner of "Timeless Barbie Powder Room" and Eirc Daniels Assist. Chair from Interior Design

Plenty of pink to go around: Prof. Johannes Knoops and Asst. Chair Eric Daniels of ID, with Craig Berger, VPED Chair


Luci Alpers' "Strike a Pose" bedroom for Barbie

Barbie finally gets  a moment to kick up her heels.

The Barbie exhibit will remain on view in FIT’s D-building lobby, corner of 27th & 7th Ave, until September 3, 2012.

photos: Rachel Ellner

Some style & media in your life

By , May 15, 2012 2:05 pm

Fellow students, proud parents and professional photographers came to critique and admire final prints displayed in D351A from the Advanced Style and Media class.  The course, taught and designed by Curtis Willocks,  is required for BFA photography majors.

Willocks served as King of Clubs for one of the photographs based on a character from a deck of cards. “I wanted to take a portrait as a character — something that person is not, and  see what happens,” said Jennifer Santastaso of her portrait of Willocks.

Jennifer Santanastaso's portrait of Adv. Style & Media instructor Curtis Wilocks

“It became clearer to me from this class that ad campaigns are the type of photography I want to do,” said Santastaso.

These occasions also lend themselves to picking up some photography know-how. “I used three grids (lights) in the studio here and shot with a Hasselblad digital back. I cornered off a space in the studio to keep it intimate,” said Santastaso. For added character and definition of features  she used Vaseline and black grease makeup and “a touch” of eyeliner. ”It never comes out exactly as you envision, but I was pleased with the outcome,” she said.

“There’s some strong work here” said Professor Tony Gale who dropped by. “It’s good to see what students all over the City are up to– to see what they’re doing in a broader way than what you’re exposed to day-to-day,” said Gale who teaches Studio & Light at Parsons.

Art & Design Student Exhibitions — It’s happening now!

By , May 11, 2012 3:36 pm

Helpful info:

Student Exhibitions

School of Art & Design Student Shows

The School of Art & Design “Graduating Student Exhibition 2012″. This exhibition is free and open to the public. Works on view are at multiple venues throughtout FIT’s campus. For a complete list detailing which majors are being shown in each of the venues, and for location-specific hours go

Accesory Design:

Accessories Design Senior Exhibition “FIT Icons the Likeness of US“. Opening reception & Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre in the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center (D building).

Advertising Design & Graphic Design:

“18th Annual One Show Student Exhibition” (Advertising Design students & Media Design Club). On May 7, 2012 from 5:30 to 8:30pm at Eyebeam, 540 W. 21st Street.

“Graphic Design Junior Survey” junior Graphic Design students showcase their junior year work. On May 17, 2012 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm at the Fred P. Pomerantz Art and Design Center (D building) in rooms D522 and D524.

“Media Design Club Annual Exhibition showcasing the work of the seniors in Advertising Design & Graphic Design & the Media Design Club. On May 24, 2012 at Center 548, 548 W. 22nd Street.

Computer Animation & Interactive Media:

“Computer Animation & Interactive Media Senior Show”. Opening Tuesday, May 8, 2012 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at The Museum at FIT, lower level gallery. Thesis Presentations on Friday, May 18, 2012 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Show is on view from Wednesday, May 9, 2012 – Tuesday, May 22, 2012 the hours are Tuesday-Friday, 12:00pm till 8:00pm and Saturday, Monday 10:00am till 5:00pm, Closed Sunday.

Fashion Design:

BFA Fashion Show “The Future of Fashion” The best work of FIT’s graduating BFA Fashion Design students is presented every spring in a professional runway show. Specializations include sportswear, special occasion, knitwear, intimate apparel, and children’s wear. Critic award winning garments can be seen at The Museum of FIT.


“BFA Illustration Exhibition 2012″ website for online viewing.

Packaging Design:

“Packaging Design Senior Portfolio Event” is on May 16, 2012 from 5:30pm to 8:00pm in the David Dubinsky Student Center (A building) alcove.

Textile/Surface Design:

“2012 BFA Portfolio Collection Exhibition” opening reception is on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm at David Dubinsky Student Center (A building) 8th Floor. For additional information please contact the Textile/Surface Design Department at 212-217-5140.

See you there!

Historically referenced and original

By , February 10, 2012 7:29 pm

Drawn to the sculptural works that hang, glide and soak up the sun in the D lobby,  Stephen Gemberling, a local artist and sculptor stopped in for a closer look.  He had some critical observations to share about the student show “Sculpture–Syntax.”

“The pieces are thought out—there’s art historical references, but not copied from the pieces. You could say they saw the show of Picasso guitars, but it owns nothing to him other than it’s a guitar,” said Gemberling of Annelise Trezza’s guitar-like sculpure, “Natural Sounds,” made of found wood.

"Natural Sounds," by Annelise Trezza


Student work in the D-lobby exhibit

“The Dada piece—[the furry egg] it has a likeness to Meret Oppenheim’s cup and saucer covered in deer fur. This has fuzziness to it but it’s not that cup,” says Gemberling, himself a former gallery owner.

"Womb" by Olivia Taylor

“I could go on—It’s not a steel, but it’s inspired by it–Linda Benglis, (the American scuptor), she did a lot with wax-embedded things,” said Gemberling about Gabriella Giaconia’s piece “Lotus.”

"Lotus" by Gabriella Giaconia

“These are using the same materials but again, not stolen from art historical pieces. It’s using the materials they used but in their own way. I’m very impressed. In other schools they’ve been taught to make something that looks like an art exhibit, but the content isn’t always there.”

hanging sculpture by Eric Gottshall

“Like Braque (the fine artist) it has a brutish kind of elegance,” said Gemberling of the white plaster hanging by Eric Gottshall. “This is a delightful combination of stuff. Look at how this is strung. This is a worked out piece.” 

"24/7" by Marcel Bornstein and Harold Hernandez

“It’s so much further advanced than the stuff in the galleries around here. It’s better quality than what’s in the galleries. There isn’t anything here I’d be ashamed to show in a gallery,” said Gemberling taking one more look around before heading out.

Thank you, Stephen Gemberling, for sharing your thoughts and perceptions with us.

photos: Rachel Ellner

Urban Studio creates a splash at Art Basel

By , December 8, 2011 3:36 pm

“Art Basel is to the art world what Fashion Week is to the fashion world,” says Melissa Starke, advisor for the FIT Fine Arts club Urban Studio.  This year Urban Studio was selected to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach, a contemporary art exhibition held every December since 2002. Art Basel is referred to as the “Olympics of the art world.”

Urban Studio created and installed a 16-foot sculpture, partially submerged in a pool of water, for ArtNow/Red Dot Art Fair, an exhibition site at Art Basel.

"Stroke and Poke" installation by Urban Studio

The installation is ingeniously held by sand bags attached to the bottom of the sculpture and strung by cable at the top to adjacent roof tops.  Its concept comes from “Schopenhauer’s Porcupine,” a book by Deborah Anna Luepnitz, which explores the “push-pull of intimacy and its dilemmas,” says Starke. The porcupine, with its “protective spikes,”  is the metaphor for the contradictions of human intimacy.

"Stroke and Poke"installation being hoisted by Urban Studio members

Students Brittany Gray and Eric Gottshall, along with sculpture technician Pansum Cheng, lift the sculpture into the water.

“It’s an extraordinary experience for the students to have this ‘hands-on’ opportunity to work on an endeavor of such enormous prestige. It helps them see the connection between their studio practice and what actually happens in the art world,” says Starke.

Urban studio participant Eric Gottshall got the connection.  ”It proved to be the moment where our education met the real world playing field,” said Gottshall. “I’ve never been part of a collective where the universal strive for creating something new and different was more of the essence. Because of it, this experience will always stand out in my life.”

photos provided by Melissa Starke

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