Category: student work

In Meagan Meli’s portfolio: A Forest Princess, Cyclops & Valentine

By , September 24, 2013 2:29 pm

Within many of Illustration major Meagan Meli’s creations are a potpourri of themes, imagery and cultural references. Several of Meli’s illustrations are playfully dark and scary in an Edward Gorey sense. None of the design elements are left stranded – they relate to each other by way of complementary colors, placement and equal doses of quirkiness.

“Valentine” by Meagan Meli

There’s the juxtaposition of the human heart next to floral Victorian shapes. There’s the incorporation of hippy era mushrooms, a Native American-dream-weaver, Day of the Dead and woman-as-wolf symbols. Canines, feminine skeletal parts, beaks and third eyes are to be found in her works as well.

“Meagan is well into the process of developing a unique visual communication style,” says Chair of Illustration Ed Soyka. “She has a very personal approach. It appears she’s really benefited from a fine arts foundation.” 

“Cyclops” by Meagan Meli

“‘Cyclops’ is disturbing and arresting and thought-provoking,” says Illustration Professor Dan Shefelman of Meli’s illustration. It has a copper plate acid etching feel to it.”

Meli considers it to be her most “bizarre and gruesome” piece. “This is based off of a real congenital disorder called Cyclocephalus, otherwise called a Cyclops,” she says.

“Dream” by Meagan Meli

In another, a knotted bunch of wildflowers somehow fits in delightfully beneath a skeletal torso. The bottom pelvic area of the torso looks to have two fingers touching in an “Om” shape.

“I combined my favorite types of imagery into one piece to make my “Dream” illustration into something special,” said Meli. 

“Forest Princess” by Meagan Meli

“I saw this woman’s face in my head for a while before I drew her,” says Meli about “Forest Princess” (above). This is more of a sketch but I worked hard enough to say that it is a finished piece!”

Meli, who is completing her BFA in illustration, received an AAS in fine arts at FIT. “They are different worlds,” she says of the two disciplines. “Going from working abstractly to the push to working very tightly is a leap!

“Experiences in my major have helped me find who I am as a young, developing illustrator. Professors John Nickle, Don Sipley, and Dave Devries contributed to the illustrator I am today. They are incredible talents.”

“Barn Owl” by Meagan Meli

“‘Barn Owl’ is the most popular from a series of five called “Osteology of an Animal,’” says Meli.

“I can’t believe how far I’ve gotten in two years,” says Meli. “I can’t wait to see what becomes of me after these final two years in the FIT Illustration department!


Photos used with permission

FIT temporarily exports Dean Arbuckle to Taiwan

By , August 6, 2013 4:26 pm

Dean Arbuckle, C.J. Yeh , int’l faculty & Asian Univ. of Taiwan students w/ their collaborative projects

Call it creative ingenuity across disciplines and cultures. And call it the product of a long flight to Taiwan!  Last week under the direction of Prof. C.J. Yeh from Communication Design, students from Asia University of Taiwan participated in a four-day workshop with a visiting assortment of international academics, including Dean Joanne Arbuckle.

Collaborative projects with an unusual mix of disciplines — including fashion, communication and industrial design — were judged on the last day of the workshop.

Dean Arbuckle led a group that used its fashion and product design skills to produce hats.  “It’s an exciting process when you bring students together from disciplines that don’t traditionally work together,” said Dean Arbuckle. 

No strings holding down Goodwin’s animation students

By , July 15, 2013 9:15 pm

To make their animation projects look like miniature movies that come alive, students in Professor John Goodwin’s Computer Animation course (CG213)  flip through their sketch books as the process is filmed. They then choose a page to animate in After Effects, which is then returned back into the book.  The challenge is often not the technology, but choosing from seemingly endless possibilities that the software allows.  Helped by a lot of laughter and guidance, such dilemmas are usually happy ones.

“The class is super fun,” says Luca Mak a Hunter College student currently taking Goodwin’s. “Despite all the different options and layers, After Effects is surprisingly easy to manipulate. Animations that could have taken hours by hand can be done in less than a minute.”

“I love the class. I am truly having a blast,” says Mary Capozzi, who is also currently enrolled in  CG213. “I want to animate everything!”

The hard part is “executing their ideas” says Goodwin. “They can have great ideas,  but they need to pick something the software does well.”

Capozzi, an FIT faculty member, animated puppets that dance to the tune “I’ve Got No Strings,” sung by the Supremes. The lyrics seem to match Capozzi’s enthusiasm: “I’ve got no strings/To hold me down/To make me fret/Or make me frown.”

“There is so much to learn and it’s so exciting I wish there was a second course to take,” says Capozzi.  “John Goodwin is a great  professor, he is encouraging and engaging.”

Goodwin says Mak and Capozzi “use the software beautifully. They’ve clicked into how to use the software. The wonderful thing about Adobe Suite is everything is layered; it’s built in Photoshop and can be animated separately. If you know Photoshop you are halfway to knowing After Effects.”  

“Using the skills I learned in this class, I want to make animations for TV shows and movies, and further my personal animation projects,” says Mak.

“I simply took the class for fun and would love to take it again. I can walk away from class with a little confidence but I know I still have way more to learn” says Capozzi. 

One Night Only! “Tempo” media design exhibition May 30!

By , May 29, 2013 2:32 pm

What kind of song and dance will it take to get you to the Media Design Club’s “Tempo” exhibition? Well we’re glad you asked.

Here is your video invite: (Note: The Communication Design Professor C.J. Yee character was not impressed with this, but you will be!) 

There will be food, a panel discussion, important people, and inspiration. Sorry for the short notice.

The Media Design Club’s “Tempo” exhibition is ONE NIGHT only. Catch it at: Helen Mills Event Space & Theater located: 137-139 West 26 Street, NYC.

Thursday, May 30, 2013, 6 p.m – 10 p.m. It’s free.

The art and design show, “Tempo,” explores the the relationship between time and visual communication.


Interior design grads providing “new memories”

By , May 15, 2013 3:51 pm

      “When you leave the space…it should give you a new concept, a new memory.”   Interior Design senior Minsoo Kim

Find out what your next music hall, brain research center, interactive cinema, special children’s hospital and boutique hotels will look like. From FIT’s interior designers of the future!

Plans for these and other projects were on view last Thursday and Friday in Pomerantz building conference rooms, where seniors spoke of their visions for buildings of the future.  

Minsoo Kim’s “Momentum Immersible Cinema”

“I think interior design is not just about function or a convenient space, but should provide a unique experience,” says Minsoo Kim, graduating ID student. “When you leave the space, not only should it have been comfortable and functional, but the space should give you a new concept, a new memory.”

 “My project is a music hub with the purpose of bridging the gap between the artist and the fan,” said senior Amanda Hibbs. “The design intent was to make music tangible by applying elements that relate to both music and design.”

And then there was Sarah Hatch’s brain center project, which is naturally interactive.  “The integration of design with technology can change the way spaces are perceived and the way we operate within them,” says Hatch. “Spaces can operate for us, responding to our actions, and soon enough, maybe even our thoughts.”

Amanda Hibbs presenting music hub “Interlude” project

Recalling the past four years during which sleep was a “true luxury,” ID senior Hayley Park described the culmination of her studies:

“During the seventh semester we developed what’s called our design programs. It was for an envisioned facility of our choice in an existing building in the tri-state area.”

There were frequent all-nighters leading up to the presentations. “We had to write an approximately 150-page book describing our project, its purpose, justification, type of space, the facility required, and an analysis of the individuals who would be using it,” said Hayley. “For instance mine was a mission center to raise next generation missionaries. My building included educational facilities, a worship area and residential component.”

Hayley receiving the Decorator’s Club award

At the end of the 56 presentations, Hayley was “relieved it was over.” But ID chair Andrew Seifer said “It’s not over yet,” and began reading an award letter. “At first he thought it was a present for himself!” said Hayley.

It was an excellence award in the form of a white iPad from The Decorators Club,  a private interior design organization.  It was for Hayley!

“I was crying the whole time,” said Minsoo. “I was so impressed with her project. Every one was so into the spirituality of it”

Sarah Hatch rocking the house with her thesis project “NeoCortex”

Says Minsoo, “I want to start my career in New York and open my own interior architectural firm for commercial and retail spaces. I also want to do not just permanent space, but exhibition and public instillation interior design. The interactive event between people and their space is what interests me.” 

 Click here to read about Hayley’s Pave-winning men’s store

Photos:  Johannes Knoops 

Eitan Gamliely’s first runway takes

By , May 6, 2013 3:01 pm

Photography student Eitan Gamliely got his first opportunity to photograph a fashion runway show, the Future of Fashion graduates collection on May 1. He captured a wide range of looks. There was:


Child’s play

photo: Eitan Gamliely


photo: Eitan Gamliely


photo: Eitan Gamliely

Almost office-like

photo: Eitan Gamliely

and that little black dress

photo: Eitan Gamliely

“It was a fun coming in early to see how everybody goes through makeup and hair, and then do a dry run on the runway,” says Gamliely. “Everybody was professional and knew that a big part of it all is to be photographed. With the backstage pass I was able to move around, photograph at any location, and eventually get the photos I wanted.

photo: Eitan Gamliely

It was not without some pre-show jitters. “Nerve racking”, said Gamliley. “We understood that you only have that one second to catch the model when she poses at the end of the runway…The whole experience was great. Cant wait till the next show!”

To see more of Eitan Gamliely’s photography go to:

Knight in crocheted armor

By , April 30, 2013 3:01 pm

When Communication Design student Paola Pachon isn’t stressing over homework assignments, like coding websites for Web Design class and getting crafty with 3D design projects, her quick fingers don’t stop.   For her boyfriend Michael Sheron’s 21st birthday, Pachon designed and crocheted a knight’s helmet.  Sheron, a SUNY Farmingdale programming student, gets loads of comments on it. He especially enjoys the visor, which he can raise, lower or remove.  “I love it because my girlfriend made it especially for me,” says Sheron.  “People stop and tell me all the time that it’s cool.”

Michael Sheron’s mug shot. Crocheted knight’s helmet

Sheron’s favorite video game is League of Legends.  He also enjoys other “role playing games” where he can play a knight. “He’s obsessed with knights,” says Pachon. “I got inspiration from a crocheted baby’s knight outfit on Etsy.”

This was Pachon’s first crocheted item. She relied on help from “La Madre,” her grandmother in New Jersey. The self-taught La Madre, says Pachon, is  a master of  intricate knitted and crocheted designs.

A crocheted helmet made with help from La Madre

“Now everyone is asking me for hats,” says Pachon.  Sheron’s father and two brothers all want ones of their own.

“Random people are complimenting me. I feel awesome because of it,” says Sheron.

Pachon is clearly tapping into a trend.  Photo: Rachel Ellner

Pachon’s response to this design featured in the FIT’s 2013 Future of Fashion Show: “Knitted knight-wear is clearly the way of the future!”

But for Pachon, Sheron is her one and only true knight.  “He’s my knight in crocheted armor,” she says.


Hat photos provided by: Michael Sheron


Kiosk at GlobalShop displays student portfolios

By , April 29, 2013 3:09 pm

Veronica Romano is known for solving just about any quandary with a spectacular design solution. The Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design professor is also known for her ability to champion student work.

Romano was intent on finding a way to better showcase this year’s student portfolios at  GlobalShop, a leading convention for the retail and brand environment industry. She put her foot to the design pedal and brainstormed with her department chair Craig Berger. Soon they were searching their phones for sponsors.

Kiosk loaded with student portfolios from around the world

This year on the GlobalShop exhibition floor stood an enormous, show-stopping, orange-topped interactive kiosk with a 47” monitor, tended to by FIT students. It was loaded with student portfolios from around the world.

Double-sided screen allowed for increased viewing

“The energy of the students working the kiosk made industry pros want to connect with them,” says Romano. “They landed great job leads. It was the hot thing. Industry leaders were literally telling me that it was one of the most innovative experiences at GlobalShop.”

“Veronica is the biggest cheerleader of student work,” says VPED professor Anne Kong. The kiosk isn’t just about FIT, it’s about design students globally.”

FIT students interacting with industry

 “GlobalShop is a rare one-time event for FIT students to show their work to high-level industry professionals,” says Berger. “The kiosk was a unique way to accomplish this in a very public space.”

The kiosk’s inception: Last summer Romano had planned to incorporate interactive technology into her portfolio class. Wouldn’t it be a great idea, mused Romano, to exhibit all the portfolios in a traveling kiosk? A challenge was sent out to students around the globe to create digital portfolios to load into a kiosk.

Romano worked with Mona Lisa Tan, a previous winner of the PAVE [Planning and Visual Education Partnership] Student Design Competition to design the kiosk.

Digital rendering by Mona Lisa Tan

Visitors to the kiosk were able to touch a region of the world on the screen to locate design schools and select individual student’s bios and portfolio pieces. The interactive kiosk was loaded with portfolios representing 14 schools from 5 countries.

“I put together the group of sponsors who helped build and program the interactive kiosk,” said Berger. Each had an individual role and donated in various ways: Fresh Juice Global provided the technology; Panasonic the screens; PAVE helped coordinate; GlobalShop the space for the kiosk; B+N Idustries built the kiosk structure from Romano’s and Tan’s designs; and FIT kicked in for some expenses.

Ready to ship to next student porfolio launch

The student digital portfolios are available for viewing online at PAVE’s web site, The kiosk is coming to FIT to be adapted by students and faculty to feature future FIT student work.

“My passion is to enable students to create their own unique ‘visual presentation,’ get industry to engage with them, and to promote their talents effectively,” says Romano. “The kiosk accomplished all of this.”

Brianna Silva’s fashionably nerdy apartment

By , March 14, 2013 11:43 pm

Happen to have a collection of Victorian top hats, vintage ray guns and industrial bird sculptures? If so, you’re in luck. Second-semester interior design student Brianna Silva has created a space to display steampunk art and artifacts in a renovated New York City apartment. Her choice of furniture is in keeping with steampunk ethos.  Steampunk takes Victorian design elements and applies them to modern and semi-modern devices.  For instance, the Victorians didn’t really have ray guns, but if they did they would probably be steam-powered.

“For my unique second-semester project for our interior design studio course, I created a retro-futuristic apartment fit for a fashionably nerdy client,” says Silva. “I pulled inspiration from films like ‘Hugo,’ ‘Howl’s Moving Castle,’ and ’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’”

Collection of steampunk artifacts

The assignment, given by Prof. Shannon Leddy, was to combine two apartments in New York City. “We were to imagine our clients’ personalities, histories and needs and design the space accordingly,” says Silva.

“I am interested in designing for the less-considered types.  When you think of designing for a client, the more nerdy-inclined doesn’t come to mind as often as the upscale client with refined tastes surrounded by luxury. I can relate more toward that side, having attended the rather nerdy high school, A-Tech in Las Vegas.” 

Brianna’s rendered interior perspective of an apartment fit for fashionably nerdy clients

The interior is a “mixture of the ornamental and the hard-lined, which still feeling very cohesive through the color palate of rich browns, orange, reds and blues set in a more industrial enclosure,” says Silva.

“Brianna actually taught me something by introducing me to the SteamPunk genre,”  says Professor Leddy. “She challenged herself from the beginning of this project and the return on her efforts is an exciting, contrasting yet harmonious solution. The photos are great here in this post, and indicate how Brianna has grown with less than a year under her belt in this program. Her work ethic certainly shines through.”

Victorian, Victorian-inspired and industrial furniture for the retro-futuristic apartment


“In retrospect, I am glad with the way my design came together,” says Silva. “I was worried about the outcome of mixing these styles, but it all came together into one cohesive piece.”

Come to think of it, we all could use a good ray gun to shoot down those angry mechanical birds.


photos: Brianna Silva

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

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