Adjunct Assistant Professor, Communications Design, Manhattan A.O.S. and A.A.S. Programs
Photo by Diana Pau
What exactly is the Jazz Foundation, and how did you choose the Jazz Foundation to act as the “client” for your Communications Design class?
My son’s friend’s father is a musician who was in an accident. He was in a coma for three months and was expected to die. But after several months, he was able to walk and talk, and the Jazz Foundation was there for his family, supporting them financially and spiritually. I went to a benefit concert held by the Jazz Foundation to raise money for him and his family.
While I was at the concert I learned what the Jazz Foundation was doing in New Orleans, how they help musicians with rent, mortgages, and medical bills and how they were helping musicians left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.
So I began to think that my class at Pratt could help the Jazz Foundation by designing materials for them pro-bono. I approached the executive director and told her about Pratt and my class — and the Jazz Foundation became our client.
What exactly did your students design for the Jazz Foundation?
Our students designed brochures, table tents, logos for use on t-shirts and mugs, and all kinds of other promotional materials. The Jazz Foundation was so happy that they invited the entire class to a concert at the Apollo Theater, and it was amazing.
Why do you so regularly have your classes do design work for not-for-profit organizations?
In the past we have presented work to the Helen Hayes Theater, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and to the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, as well as other local community establishments. Doing this work, the students learn to work with real clients. For the Jazz Foundation project, we broke into two design teams with a team leader for each group. The team leader’s responsibility was to make sure the group met deadlines. We sent two student representatives acting as account executives to gather information and bring it back to the design teams. The students learned how to present their work, speak to the client, work on real deadlines, and make sure that the work was good enough to show.
What else do you teach here at Pratt?
Besides Communication Design I have taught typography and publication design. I teach marker rendering for the Communications Design department at the Brooklyn Campus.
What is your design specialty?
Advertising and illustration. I was a former VP art director at BBDO Worldwide and a creative director for Jamison and Leary. I also owned an illustration firm Goode Graphics. I just love the field.
What first drew you to become a designer?
I have always loved the field of art and design, I was influenced by my high school art teacher, Mr. Charles Dyer, who took me under his wing. He taught me many things from designing interiors to magazine covers and of course drawing and painting. He would take me to his house and show me many things about art and design. It opened my eyes.
What do you do for fun?
I teach cartooning on the weekends for the Rockland Center for the Arts, in Rockland County. My students range from 6 to 11 years old and I have a packed class on Saturdays. I have also dedicated myself to writing a fantasy book. It’s a five hundred-page manuscript, which I hope to get published. Right now I am working on the synopsis, which is harder than I thought it would be. I have also written several children stories and will probably illustrate them. I love this field-- you can never be bored.