Professor Ellenbogen’s MIT Stay Wows the Boston Globe!

Science and art have more in common than most people think. A great example of this is the collaboration of FIT photography professor Keith Ellenbogen with MIT physicist Allan Adams. The Boston Globe has taken notice with a story about this innovative partnership.

We know there is beauty almost everywhere. Ellenbogen turns to the depths of the ocean, while Adams measures the dimensions of black holes. Their work shows that there are a lot of collaborations waiting to happen. What it requires is a few pioneers like Ellenbogen to bridge the gap, to make some of MIT’s relevant work known to FIT, and likewise, our campus’s work known to MIT.

Screenshot from The Boston Globe

Ellenbogen is a visiting artist at MIT’s Center for Art, Science, and Technology. Along with MIT’s Edgerton Center Associate Director Jim Bales and theoretical physicist Allan Adams, Ellenbogen is exploring new high-speed photography and underwater imaging techniques.

Almost every photographer on the planet owes a huge debt to Harold “Doc” Edgerton. The electronic strobe is just one of his many inventions and contributions to photography. For example his iconic high-speed photographs of crown-like splattering milk drops, and of bullets piercing balloons and cutting playing cards in two, are legendary.

“When you put people together and you can create a place that allows ideas to really grow, it’s the most wonderful thing,” said Ellenborgen in an MIT News article.

Screenshot from MIT News

“As a photographer I can create a level of compassion and engagement in my images that is further supported by science and conservation efforts,” he says.

As technology enriches ever more of the design world, opportunities for collaboration like those between FIT and MIT can only increase.

 To see and read more about Ellenbogen’s riveting high-speed images of a lionfish, blacknose shark and a ballonfish go to:  “Ellenbogen films what the eye can’t see”

Posted in in the news, technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A bewitching holiday party!

It’s not a President’s holiday party without some alluring bewitchment from the Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design department. The scene’s creators, professors Anne Kong, Mary Costantini and Glenn Sokoli are seen here getting the cold shoulder from their well packaged ice queen mannequin.  Inside, President Brown gave staff and faculty a very warm reception with many tasty treats from sweet to savory!

MARY COSTANTINI Anne Kong, Glenn Sikolki
Mary Costantini, Anne Kong and Glenn Sokoli with their ice queen!

Wishing you a great year ahead! Thank you President Joyce Brown!

Holiday party 2015
Holiday party 2015

Check out previous coverage of the President’s Holiday Party

photos: Rachel Ellner

Posted in Event | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2D to 3D — It’s more than adding a dimension

At one time they were sculpted with chisel on marble. In Prof. Sue Willis’ 3D Design Fine Arts class, the recreation of ancient Greek reliefs are made with foam core, masking tape, glue guns and X-Acto knives.

“The challenge is to recreate the reliefs in foam core,” says Prof. Willis. “Natural variations occur as students strive to build organic form from flat geometric shapes.”

Yuyong Park

The assignment is meant to familiarize students with the fundamentals of 3D design: planar relationships, composition, light, shadow, line and texture.

Students work from 2D prints of ancient reliefs. “They cut and score foam-core, and practice techniques for creating volume and shape…and for discerning the volumes and axes of planes in relation to the whole,” explains Prof. Willis.

Yuyong detail
Yuyong Park

In the process the relief takes the 2D image part of the way into a 3D reality and then fleshes it out with complete sculpture in the round.  In doing so, the students interpret the original 2D print, adding volume, physical texture, and real shadow to create a sculpture.

Yuyong Park’s piece (above), says Prof. Willis “honors her aesthetic choice to simplify surface texture and intensify light.”

Taehyeon “Timothy” An
Tim at computer
Taehyeon “Timothy” An

Timothy’s sensitive, elaborate, planar construction (above) plays off light against shadow.

Tiffany Franklin

Tifany’s dynamic composition also functions abstractly, says Prof. Willis.  It is a great example of how students can move toward abstraction, even when starting  with literal Greek sculpture.

Tiffany detail
Tiffany Franklin

Kassandra Papa’s project (below) “rhythmically pierces space.”

Kassandra Papa

Patricia Downs (below) shows “astute attention to detail, planar axes and texture,” says Willis.

Patricia Downs
Patricia Downs

Patricia added graphite to emphasize tonal variation, and thus the three dimentionality of the work.


Posted in student work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Holiday Road Trip to Help Beat Cancer

The big draws of the Holiday Road Trip pop-up shop in the Pomperantz Center lobby are the designer and vintage finds. Chanel, Shoshanna, Manolo Blahnik, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch can all be found there.

But one can’t overlook the stylishly themed design of the shop itself, built by by Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students.  A brief ceremony Monday recognized the weeks of design and production that went into the joint School of Art and Design-Memorial Sloan-Kettering venture. The ceremony was attended by students, professors, FIT President Joyce Brown, Dean Joanne Arbuckle, VPED Chair Craig Berger and MSKCC volunteers.

Holiday Road Show pop up shop in Pomerantz Center lobby
Holiday Road Trip pop up shop in Pomerantz Center lobby

“It’s really about the abilities of our students to create a lively, professional retail environment,” says Joanne Arbuckle, Dean of the School of Art and Design. “It’s fun, exciting and obviously successful in the corner of a very public space. And it’s all for a good cause.”

Dean Joanne Arbuckle with students and MSKCC affiliates holding scissors

“The take-away is so rich, when you consider how much design happens on the computer today,” said VPED Prof. Anne Kong.

Dr. Joyce Brown cutting the “ribbon” with help from students

“To take it to a space and have it realized three dimensionally, and then watch consumers shop, is an experience you can’t find anywhere else,” says Prof. Kong. “We really offer something very special.”

Professors Mary and Anne Kong
Professors Mary Costantini and Anne Kong with Dr. Joyce Brown

May the shopping continue…until Friday at 3 pm.


For complete pop-up shop hours and more info go to: Holiday Road Trip at FIT

Photos: Rachel Ellner

Posted in Event | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

For Raissa Oliveira-Silva, a #ChalkFIT drawing imitates a viral sensation

There’s no better place to state your claim about  cultural domination than on the 7th Avenue in New York City.

A 3X6-foot chalk representation of the meme “Chloe” by Illustration senior Raissa Oliveira-Silva is still going through finishing touches on the outside wall of FIT.  Photos of Oliveira-Silva’s work have been posted to social media causing a second viral wave, and attracting the notice of Chloe’s mother.

“Chloe,” by Raissa Oliveira-Silva

“This really proves my point. Social media is taking over the world,” says Oliveira-Silva, with brush in hand. Hers is one of nearly 50 chalk drawings that are part of #ChalkFIT that address the theme “Innovation.”

A YouTube video of Chloe and her sister become an internet  sensation shortly after being posted in September 12, 2013. It was then picked up as a popular meme.

In the YouTube video Chloe’s mom, Katie Clem, suggests to her two young daughters that they “ditch” school and go to Disneyland. One daughter is so happy she cries. But Chloe looks .

If you can be unmoved by going to Disneyland before having outgrown a car seat, you can own the world. Or at least with social media, you can attain beyond 15 minutes of fame.

“Katie Clem, Khloe’s mom, has been in touch with me and loves it. She’s commenting and posting the image on social media,” says Prof. Shefelman who assigned and is overseeing ChalkFIT .

To see more chalk images follow our Twitter account @FIT_artdesign.

Photo: Rachel Ellner

Jacob Morse helped with the reporting for this post.

Posted in ChalkFIT, Event, student work | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dean Arbuckle on Simone Cipriani & The Hand of Fashion series

“We’re so excited to have forged this collaboration with Simone Cipriani and the Ethical Fashion Initiative,” said Dean Joanne Arbuckle following Cipriani’s talk last night with Nina Braga, Director of Institoe E. “His discussions with renowned speakers address critical aspects of design, projection and social responsibility.

Simone Cipriani and Dean Joanne Arbuckle
Simone Cipriani and Dean Joanne Arbuckle

Cipriani heads the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a flagship program of the International Trade Center, which is a joint agency of the United Nations and World Trade Organization.

“The engagement between the audience, Simone and our speakers reflect our rich relationship with the broader fashion community both locally and globally,” says Dean Arbuckle.

Last night Ms. Braga, Cipriani’s second guest in the series, spoke about the environmental evaluation of fabrics native to Brazil. One of the more unexpected “fabrics” is fish skin from a native species that would otherwise be a discarded byproduct.

“There is a logic to the collaboration with FIT and the UN,” says Associate Dean Sass Brown. The UN promotes education to fulfill it’s mission. “Without education you don’t have peace and prosperity. As part of the state university system our mission is to be accessible to a diverse population of students.”

There’s so much more to come from Simone Cipriani’s “The Hand of Fashion” speaker series at FIT. For schedule and speaker bios go to: The Hand of Fashion. And remember to RSVP!

photo: Rachel Ellner

Posted in Hand of Fashion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Misery loves company in the Pomerantz Center

The world’s evils, appearing in 3D, are currently on display on the third floor of the Pomerantz Center. It was Pandora of Greek mythology who disobeyed Zeus by opening a box of evils. Prof. Dan Shefelman finds evil to be the perfect character design assignment for students in his Illustrating for Contemporary Media class.

“Greed,” by Nicolette Pasumbal

“It’s always exciting to see where this assignment takes students,” says Shefelman. “It taps into this visceral reaction to the troubling parts of life. It runs the gamut from horror to humor.” This is the fourth year Shefelman has assigned the Pandora project.

"Misery," by Caitlin McDonagh
“Misery,” by Caitlin McDonagh

“These unique imaginings are based upon each student’s experience as an artist and a person,” says Ed Soyka, Chair of Illustration. “Each image is a compromise from among all the options and choices available through the creative process.”

Illustration student Caitlin McDonagh modified Ken doll pants above for her “Misery” figure. The “Hunger” figures  below by Tenzin Gonpo are made of modeling clay so they won’t dry out.

“Hunger,” by Tenzin Gonpo

“They’re mesmerizing,” says Kristin Chidiak an Advertising and Marketing Communications major, as she starred intently into the display case. “You can see their perspectives. It’s what I love about Illustration majors. I really believe in all their futures!”

“Hunger.” by Kayelyn Wright

“I thought  Kayelyn Wright’s figure (above) is a different interpretation of hunger than one might expect,” says Shefelmen. “She’s hungering for empowerment.”

Chidiak agrees. “I’d like to see the story behind Kayelyn’s ‘Hunger’ in a Pixar film. Some claymation concept would be really cool!”

“Pain.” by Cindy De La Cruz

Cindy De La Cruz’s character is “minimal but communicates pain,” says Shefelman.

"Hunger," by Jessica Lauser
“Hunger,” by Jessica Lauser

“I picked famine,” says Jessica Lauser. “I pictured a skinny, gangling monster with a big mouth but wired so it couldn’t eat.”

"Disease," by Alexandra Lobo
“Disease,” by Alexandra Lobo

“His tooth keeps falling out but it seemed appropriate,” says Shefelman about Alexandra Lobo’s “Disease” character.

Dan Schfelman holding "Murder," by Tareque Powaday
Dan Shefelman holding “Murder,” by Tareque Powaday

“It’s just so cuddly you want to pick him up,” says Prof. Shefelman of Tareque Powaday’s character. “It’s the classic murder doll in the Chucky tradition.”

“Misery,” by Jianrong Lin

Jianrong Lin’s rendition of Pandora’s Box is carved out of balsa wood, lit with LED.

“It’s an awesome assignment. It’s very open for interpretation,” says first-year Illustration major Jacob Morse who looks forward to the Pandora assignment. “The myth says famine comes out of the box. But what does it look like?  The 3D form really indicates what each trait is all about.”

“Famine,” Kelsey Egan

“She went to the wilderness of Michael’s” says Prof Shefelman of Kelsey Egan’s display “Famine.”

So the results of Pandora’s disobedience were not all bad after all. Every cloud has a silver lining…but until now it’s been ugh to illustrate.

To see earlier evils from Pandora’s Box go to: Contents of Pandora’s box recaptured


photos: Rachel Ellner

Posted in student work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simone Cipriani’s student invitation to “The Hand of Fashion”

Simone Cipriani has worked worldwide on behalf of responsible, sustainable industrial development in emerging economies. His deep expertise is in fashion, an industry that is often the first stop as a country develops a manufacturing and logistics base. His pioneering toils at the World Trade Organization have taken him to inform broader United Nations programs, mainly related to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Cipriani is an Italian citizen residing in Switzerland.

Simone Cipriani’s speaker series at FIT begins October 26. For speaker bios and schedule go to: The Hand of Fashion


Posted in Event, The Hand of Fashion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A book fair for devotees of art and design

Last weekend’s Designers and Books Fair brought a capacity crowd of students, faculty, and a great many other design devotees for book browsing and presentations.  It was a star-studded Art and Design School affair. The Who’s Who and the Who‐Will be Who’s of the publishing design world were in attendance.

Attendees came to leaf through and touch (yes touch!) the pages of stimulating and daring design books, many available at hefty discounts. Among book signers were Steven Heller, Demetrios Eames, Chip Kidd and Andre Leon Talley. To no one’s surprise, Milton Glaser brought down (so to speak) the Katie Murphy Amphitheater with audience enthusiasm and admiration.

FIT Communications Design Prof. Keith Godard of typography and environmental graphics at the Les Trois Ourses (The Three Bears) book table with three helpers.

“As visual and tactile practitioners, it was great for us to touch the books,” says Dean Joanne Arbuckle. You’re making a more personal connection to the books’ content and glorying in  the design and thought process.  Some of the books were even designed to be touched.”

Typography and environmental graphics professor and author Keith Godard (above) manned the Les Trois Ourses table. “They are most unusual books in form and shape, at heart interactive and playful with a simplicity that appeals to children” And, we might add, to deans and professors!

Andrea Kiliany Thatcher of Schiffer Fashion Press holding two of the publisher’s giveaways.

Many established publishing houses stylishly showcased design books that beckoned creatives. “We’re always looking to discover new artists and new writers,” said Andrea Kiliany Thatcher of Schiffer Fashion Press.

Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed
Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed

Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed, partners in the design firm Pentagram, signed copies of their reissue of the 1970s MTA signage design manual. The last of its kind it’s currently available in full- and compact-size.  Speaking on a panel about crowd-sourcing campaigns for publishing design books, Smyth said “The subject matter  is esoteric for a general audience. It’s understandable it’s not a fit for a traditional publisher.”

Said Craig Berger, Chair of Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design:

“It was great to see designers who have dedicated part of their careers to introducing great design of the past to the world. Of particular note are Smyth and Reed who discovered one of the great design treasures and endeavored to make it accessible to the world.”

PatrickJoanne -l_6671

Attendees and guest speakers received gracious welcome from FIT deans Joanne Arbuckle of the School of Art and Design and Patrick Knisley of Liberal Arts.

“It’s wonderful to have great colleagues who support such broad initiatives like this,” says Dean Arbuckle. “This brings together visual, scholarship and the huge talent from the design world for a lasting experience.”

Wendy Goodman, design editor, New York magazine with Dean Joanne Arbuckle, School of Art and Design

“It’s so gratifying to connect with those who write so eloquently about design talent especially here in New York City, FIT’s home,” said Dean Arbuckle following the Architecture and Drawing panel discussion.

Fair-goers hunkering down
Fair-goers hunkering down

“I came to get my Milton Glaser fix,” says Suzanne Anoushian, chair of Communications Design. “He talked about the newer iterations of books and where they will go. He continues to talk about design and things I need to hear.”

Milton Glaser seated, with Steven Heller
Milton Glaser seated, with Steven Heller. Photo: Rachel Ellner

“The idea of something existing in the mind and making it material is most exhilarating…Drawing is about inventing what you’re looking at.” – Celebrated graphic designer Milton Glaser

Communications Design student Julian Acevedo with designer DJ Stout
A keep-sake of the experience Communications Design student Julian Acevedo created from meeting renowned designer DJ Stout

Said Communications Design student Julian Acevedo:

Being around old and recently published books, as well as hearing Milton Glaser talk, was a way for me to get involved more deeply in design. I go to as many events, lectures and galleries as I can to keep my work fresh. But I also spend a lot of time at the bookshelves looking at works from past movements of art and design. One never knows what will spark inspiration’s fire. I got a copy of DJ Stout’s just-published, ‘Variations on a Rectangle,’ which showcases some of his work from the past 30 years. I find it very inspiring.”

Designer & Books Fair attendee book clusterers were at every table in the John E. Reeves Great Hall
The crowd at Designers & Books Fair 2015 in the John E. Reaves Great Hall
The crowd at Designers & Books Fair in the John E. Reaves Great Hall

“I know I spent a small fortune. There were too many great books and fabulous opportunities,” says Associate Dean Sass Brown. “I’m still carrying them home!” Laurence King Publishing had Ms. Brown’s two books on eco-fashion for an unprecedented half off.

Gail Bichler, Michael Famighetti, Charlotte Strick with Lucke Hayman
Charlotte Strick, Michael Famighetti and Gail Bichler

A conversation about design is not complete without old media magazine and newspaper design directors and editors. From left to right, The Paris Review art editor, Aperture magazine editor, New York Times Magazine design director.

Graphic design writer Steven Heller brought to the audience’s attention Czech-born Ladislav Sutnar, founder of information design and a “lost master.” Heller’s facsimile of “Visual Design in Action,” a book Sutnar originally self-published was available at the Fair.

Czech-born legendary designer Ladislav Sutnar

Philip Pearlstein who worked with Sutnar talked about Sutnar’s involvement in the Bauhaus movement and having started his own school based on practical design. “His greatest contribution to civilization are the boys and girls symbols for restrooms.” Other designs he invented that we take for granted include the area code parenthesis and airport symbols, less meant for glory than helping humanity. “His credo was that design could improve life.”

Ben Yarling, Ryan Essmaker, Molly Butterfoss, Peter Meehan, Ruth Jamieson
Ben Yarling, Ryan Essmaker, Molly Butterfoss, Peter Meehan, Ruth Jamieson

The emphasis on ink was cathartic for many. A session on “What it Takes” included Indie pub editors and an art director (from left to right above) American Chordata and The Great Discontent, Pitchfork, and Lucky Peach, moderated by author of “Print Is Dead. Long Live Print.” They discussed culling expertise and funding, design versus photography (“also cartoons are cool,”) and how big your staff should be.

One takeaway: Lucky Peach does not yet have the funds to hire the likes of David Foster Wallace to write about lobster. But all hope to offer contributors good pay. Finally, “Don’t not be on the internet because you want to be cool,” said Meehan. “It’s faster to find an audience online.”

Book lovers browsed leisurely to the last minute.

Book lovers browsed leisurely up to the last minute…


While the next generation kept a keen eye on design and book sales.

Photos: Rachel Ellner


Posted in Event, FIT staff & faculty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Designers & Books at FIT Day 2

Dean Arbuckle and the School of Art & Design invite you to Day 2 of

Designers & Books Fair 2015!

Milton Glaser (sitting) with Steven Heller
Milton Glaser (sitting) with Steven Heller

“Drawing is not about replicating what you see. It is about inventing what you see,” – Milton Glaser

“The public is finally recognizing the ‘creative’ in the modern design and innovation world. There are so many creative people at FIT and its neighborhood.” – Dean Joanne Arbuckle, School of Art & Design

The crowd at Designers & Books Fair 2015 in the John E. Reaves Great Hall
The crowd at Designers & Books Fair 2015 in the John E. Reaves Great Hall


Photos: Rachel Ellner


Posted in Guest Speaker | Tagged , , | Leave a comment