Monthly Archives: February 2014

SPIKE LEE VISITS FIT TO DISCUSS DO THE RIGHT THING

Director Spike Lee visited FIT recently for an interview following a screening of his 1989 film Do the Right Thing. A frigid February night proved the perfect time to watch a movie that takes place on a scorching-hot summer day in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Lee said he was inspired to write the script in part because “I noticed that in New York, when it gets above 95 degrees, people lose their minds.”

spikelee

One student said she was impressed with Lee’s stylish UGGs. (He wore them to stay warm in the stadium during the Super Bowl). David Hamilton, president of FIT’s student association, holds the microphone.

The college’s Black Student Union organized the event as part of Black History Month (“the shortest month of the year,” Lee wryly noted). David Hamilton, president of FIT’s student association, greeted a packed house in the Haft Auditorium with the observation, “Black history is everybody’s history in America.”

From a show of hands, a sizable portion of the packed house in the Haft Auditorium had never seen the movie, which has held up beautifully over 25 years. The characters’ artfully crafted hairstyles, eyewear, and Day-Glo-colored outfits (for which Lee credited his costume designer, Ruth Carter) were redolent of the 80s. Still, some current students came similarly attired—and looked pretty chic.

At the climax of the film, a riot erupts. After the screening, one audience member asked whether Lee intended to stir up trouble. Lee answered, unequivocally, no. “That was a criticism of the film—that it was going to incite riots. There was a fear that you’d see the movie and run out and start smashing things. I don’t think Chuck D [of the band Public Enemy] who wrote the song ‘Fight the Power’ for me [it opens the film] was talking about taking up arms. It was more like mental stuff.”

Toward the end of the night, Lee invited students in the audience to talk about the obstacles they faced as they trained for creative careers. Many described their parents’ objections. “My father went to Harvard and my mother went to Columbia, and there’s no way they’ll pay my tuition to study fashion,” a student said. Lee counseled everyone to stick with it. “Parents,” he said, “kill more dreams than anybody.”

Lee revealed that the “Love and hate” speech given by the character Radio Raheem (above) was inspired by a scene in Charles Laughton’s 1955 suspense classic “Night of the Hunter”:

The manager of films for FIT’s student association also helped organize the event.

TATTOO ARTISTS IN MOTION, PART ONE: VICTOR MODAFFERI

Hue’s fall 2013 issue profiled five FIT alumni who have become some of the most successful tattoo artists in New York City. In addition to being interviewed and getting photographed, each one offered a brief tattooing lesson on video. We’ll be posting one a week for the next five weeks.

First up is Victor Modafferi, Illustration ’94, who shows viewers his tattooing setup.

Modafferi tattoos exclusively in black and gray, which allows for subtle shading. An artist working in color would have a different set of ink caps.

Enjoy! — and let us know what you think.

“NEW VIEWS” IN THE REARVIEW

Time has run out on seeing FIT’s excellent 2014 School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition, New Views. This year, to accommodate oversized artworks, the interdisciplinary show was moved from The Museum at FIT to The John E. Reeves Great Hall. It was up for just a week; fortunately, Hue peeked in before it was too late.

Wandering among the 90-plus artworks, from paintings to accessories to garments created by faculty in the School of Art and Design’s 17 majors, was a bewitching experience.

The "cover" of John Goodwin's animated retelling of the Cinderella story.

The “cover” of John Goodwin’s animated retelling of the Cinderella story.

A girl’s voice called out from the hum; it was an animated retelling of the Cinderella story by Adjunct Assistant Professor John D. Goodwin. A young girl narrated as animated silhouettes of ugly sisters and fabulous dressmaking flitted by on digital pages. It was hard to look away.

Hue was moved by Associate Professor CJ Yeh’s “Perfect 10,” an “augmented reality” commentary on unrealistic beauty standards among Asian girls. When the viewer stands in front of the mirror and shouts, a collage of Asian actresses’ and supermodels’ faces begins to be applied to the viewer’s. Hue is quite happy with the non-augmented reality of our own face, thank you very much.

CJ Yeh's "Perfect 10," a video screen that toys with the viewer's natural beauty.

CJ Yeh’s “Perfect 10,” a video screen that toys with the viewer’s natural beauty.

New Views was up February 8 to 16. If you missed it, you can see the works on the exhibition website.