Decorative Debris

Rochester, NY

My design work explores the boundaries between old and new technologies. I recognize the need for change and expansion, and I feel that designers are continually reinventing what has come before—either by evolving print design into digital technologies, or by going back to more analog techniques such as letterpress or other printmaking techniques. My research activities concentrate on areas of print that relate to book design, image-making, book making, web design, time-based projects and graphic design history.

My interest in the poetics and beauty of words has been life-long. As an English major, I learned not only to read words on the page, but also to closely examine patterns, juxtapositions, and connotations in texts. In graphic design, I apply these same skills. I view my job as presenting content with visual interest and textual clarity in order to develop deeper and more nuanced concepts in the text. Through image-making, I use the interplay of image and type to underscore the complexities of the book or article at hand.

An ongoing major project is entitled Decorative Debris. Playing off of the concept of “ephemera,” I redesign and reorganize transitory written and printed matter from the first half of the 20th century to show the persistent beauty of items originally intended for quick disposal. My pieces refashion these items in order to preserve an aesthetic depth not originally intended in their construction. Most of the imagery I collect relates to the portrayal of the female figure, particularly messaging that is created and aimed at women. In addition, I have an interest in images that relate to transportation and technology. Together, these sets of images underscore the theme of “transition,” or what is “ephemeral,” i.e. what is viewed as contemporary today is quickly subject to being outdated tomorrow. Yet, this repurposing and re-fabrication of “old” 20th century imagery paradoxically gives these items new life in a 21st century artistic context. I find this creative work especially useful for my research in design history. As I come across items from the early 20th century I am often struck by the details and processes for which they were created. This curiosity pushes me to research where items were printed (domestic or foreign) and figure out their original uses.

To this end, my process is crucial. I make numerous iterations of an idea by hand, playing with materials (mostly paper), and then digitally scan these iterations and break them apart on the computer. I find it incredibly important to manipulate materials as a playful, creative activity with often unexpected results. I find that the form of my work evolves through this process, depending on the type of project and the materials available. These forms may include books, paper collages, layered glass collages, and/or offset printing on brushed aluminum.

Letterpress is also a form that I have been interested in and have some experience with. I currently own a 3” x 5” tabletop press that allows me to play with typographic designs on a small scale and I look forward to pushing the boundaries of the press and incorporating those typographical experiments into my work. I am also interested in expanding my work into web-based media utilizing After Effects. I am interested in transitioning my 2D work into a 4D realm to create pieces that animate and give a new and exciting form to my hand-made collages.