Fall 2014 classes at MCAD

Another semester, well, summer of being so busy that we didn’t even notice that classes were starting in less than 2 weeks. Regardless, we’ve got great classes happening this fall. Each one is something we’ve taught before and we’re psyched to offer them again. 

Experimental Image-Making (10 sessions)

Starts Thursday, September 11th! Registration closes September 8th.

It’s time to make something new.Photocopy, scan, photograph, trace, light, cut, layer, make prints with your car’s tires, freeze a sculpture in a container of milk. Whatever you can think of.

It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your art-making, whether you want to inject your work with new ideas, or you “can’t draw” but want to make a body of compelling images. In this class, you’ll develop new approaches to producing pictures and explore the role of free experimentation (or, play) in artistic progression.

At the end of the class, each student will have new work—striking, fascinating images that can live on their own—and new processes to enrich their art and design work

Schedule: Thursdays, 6:30–9:30pm; September 11–November 13
Instructor: Namdev Hardisty
Non-Credit Tuition: $380.00
1 Credit Tuition: $750.00

More info and FAQ here.

 

Illustrated Typography (10 sessions)

Starts Thursday, September 11th! Registration closes September 8th.

This class is for both creative professionals and hobbyists who want to explore ways to bring the energy and expression of illustration to their typographic work. Methods will include both hand-rendered lettering techniques and computer-aided production.

Students will be exposed to various traditional and nontraditional mark-making tools and methods. The class will also engage with historical and cultural letterform inspiration. Experimentation is strongly promoted and students are encouraged to develop their own methods for creating forms. In addition to typographic compositions, students will create custom alphabets and apply them to a final layout.

Schedule: Thursdays, 6:30–9:30pm; September 11–November 13
Instructor: J. Zachary Keenan
Non-Credit Tuition: $380.00
1 Credit Tuition: $750.00

More info and FAQ here.

Intro to Typography (10 sessions)

Starts Tuesday, September 9th! Registration closes September 5th so you’ve got a minute but not much more.

It's one thing to make a message legible—clear to another person and beautifully typeset (meaning how the letters have been arranged)—but quite another to render that message so that it has emotional and aesthetic qualities. The ability to do so is grounded in a thorough understanding of the history of typography. In this class, students will learn how to do just that. They will explore the development of typography and then apply what they've discovered to an engaging series of assignments and projects.

Schedule: Tuesdays, 6:30–9:30pm; September 9–November 11
Instructor: Namdev Hardisty
Non-Credit Tuition: $380.00
1 Credit Tuition: $750.00

More info and FAQ here.

Large dark-roast with room, please

The photographs hanging in my local coffee shop are beautiful. Minnesota landmarks are captured with evocative lighting and that slightly-too-detailed-HDR thing that people are into these days. The pictures are not my thing but I get why someone would buy one and hang it in their home.

I’ve also seen them a million times. Its the same style that has overrun Flickr in the last 8 years. I’m sure I can go on YouTube and get a step-by-step breakdown of how to achieve the same look and what the optimum times to shoot are.

So dude’s work doesn’t stand out. There’s no contrast between these images and any other photographs hanging in a coffee shop nowadays. This might seem like a problem. Maybe she should switch her style up. But what if she really likes his style? What if she’s a year or two (or 10) away from a breakthrough where she manages to do something new with this look?

Maybe she should just quit?

No. Her photos are my design work, your resumé, and his sculptures. We all try our best (or so we tell ourselves) but we’re not the best. We’re not the most original and we’re not the first. And even if we tried to be the most original, the most high-contrast to our surroundings, what are the odds that we succeed? And what are the odds that we don’t just end up with some bullshit that’s original for original’s sake? If you want to make “original” music dubstep-polka-with-operatic-vocals would be a novelty but you’d also be an a-hole desperate for attention and the world would be done with you after 100,000 YouTube views. Striving for originality or “greatest of all time” is simply not an option in a world where billions of people can pick up a camera, go to school in your same field, or start making sculptures (and share them online) and immediately become your competition for attention, sales, jobs, or whatever resource you’re trying to get.
Should you quit? No; you’ll still have to compete with the whole damn world on some other front anyway.

So, what should you do?

Embrace the evils of branding and marketing.

Not as a job but as a mind-set. If you don’t want to radically change what you’re doing to be new then the key differentiator between your work and someone else’s will not be quality or talent. The difference is you and the story you tell about yourself and your work. This is also known as “branding” and it has nothing to do with logos or graphic design. Branding is your answers to questions like “Who are you?”, “Why are doing what you’re doing?”, “Why are you here?”. Or, put simply “Why should I care?” (and if your answer is “Because I am the best undiscovered artist in the world” you better come up with some proof that makes believers out of people). These answers then feed into marketing which I define as “engaging a market (voters, consumers, gallerists, HR people) so that it adopts an idea (cause, product, company, you). Adoption requires engagement. And while I don’t believe there is such a thing as a key differentiator—a magic bullet that separates you from the masses—it is a major factor. Do you only engage the press but be purposefully mysterious (the music press looooves this)? Do you make it a mission to meet everyone who buys your art? Do you give away all your trade secrets? Do you make it difficult to buy your sculpture? Do you start public fights with famous people? Each of these strategies is a way of telling your story and its also a part of your story.

This might seem contrived or inauthentic but if you love what you do, if you think its best expression of what you’re capable of, then you have to engage the market and it can’t just be to hang more photos in a coffee shop. Because there’s a story there, as well, and its boring as hell—“Yet another local photographer that I don’t know hangs nice-but-banal pictures in generic frames in a coffee shop. They’re not expensive but they’re not exactly cheap. Large dark-roast with room, please.”

Diggin’ in the Crates, Volume 2

We keep filing bins, magazine boxes and 3-ring binders full of printed ephemera and scrap bits of paper, some for no other reason than “huh, weird” and others because they’re amazing. Here’s 5 posters from the crates designed by Edward Fella, Chad Kloepfer, Linda Byrne, 2x4, Elliott Earls and Wigger Bierma.

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