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April 17, 2006

spring '06 studio tours

This semester's studio tours didn't turn out the way we'd hoped. The only design firm we were able to set up a tour with was Yamamoto Moss. We were almost certain we'd be touring Target as well, but they never responded to confirm a time. There was only a very small group of students that attended the tours. I went to Yamamoto Moss last year for studio tours, so I already knew what they were about and what their company was like. It was interesting to see what they had been working on since then. It was also cool because a UMD graphic design graduate, Abby, now works there. She was actually with when we toured YM last year so I knew who she was. They showed us around and gave us some helpful advice on our portfolios. I think everyone was satisfied with the visit, it was a good time.

We also hit up the Soo Visual Arts Center (Soo VAC) to see part of the Juxtapoz show. The artwork had very strange subject matter, not what I'm used to seeing, but most of the work was really good. It ranged from a painting of a ship with skeleton pirates, to a bloody chicken with its leg cut off, to lots of other weird stuff that can't really be described. I got to check out the shops along Lyndale Ave. too, which was really cool because I never get to shop in the cities. It's crazy how much more design in general you see in the cities compared to Duluth or Rochester (my hometown).

We stopped into Robot Love while we were waiting for the Soo VAC to open. It was a small store and they didn't have much that I would ever buy, but they did have some interesting magazines. They were also selling a few posters by Aesthetic Apparatus, who we toured in the fall. They make these test-prints using subject matter from their other posters, which become one-of-a-kind posters. These posters were selling for $100 at Robot Love! Crazy!

February 27, 2006

by design - mankato

I attended the By Design conference in Mankato this weekend, hosted by the MSU AIGA Student Group. They did an awesome job of putting the whole thing together, from the gift bags, to the speakers and workshops, to the delicious doughnuts. It was a really laid back gathering and the MSU students were really nice and helpful. We registered Friday evening and then heard a speech from Paul Wharton of Larsen Design. He first showed off some of the work they'd done. He then let us lead the rest of the lecture by letting us choose stories for him to tell about mistakes that have happened to him or people he knows, and then what he learned from those mistakes. Saturday started early with a nice assortment of doughnuts for breakfast. Needless to say, I probably got my money's worth right there. We had 3 workshops and a lecture that day. First I did a cd case workshop. We made our own little cd cases out of paper and matboard with a small foam ring for a cd to fit around. It was really easy and fun- a nice skill to know for the future. I can't remember the exact order of events, but we had a box lunch (which was also very good) and we heard a lecture from Kate Pabst and Emily Eaton. Their lecture wasn't about showing off work, but about the career paths they had taken since they were friends in college to now sharing a business. Emily started EatonGolden with her husband and Kate Pabst now works with them in that company. Their talk focused on interactive design and it was interesting to hear how they began working with web just as it was getting started. I also did 2 other workshops which were both on printmaking. One of them was supposed to be a presentation from Apple, but they were only available to do the morning session, so they changed ours to a printmaking workshop. That was fine with me because I haven't had any experience with printmaking and it was cool to learn the basics. The instructor for those sessions was really nice and helpful. Later that night we all hung out in the party room at Buffalo Wild Wings. Sunday morning was an informal "show and tell" of student work. I missed the print work, but i saw the digital/web work and some of that was pretty cool. They then had prize drawings for 2 iPod shuffles and a $25 gift card for iTunes which were awesome prizes! Overall it was a really well put-together conference and it was definitely worth the money and the drive. Luckily I was able to stay with a friend and I didn't have to be the 12th person to squeeze into that hotel room!