1st Week of DP

Slide from my Design Brief presentation – ‘Everybody’: Tibor Kalman/Scott Stowell

Last Tuesday, February 21, was our first DP meeting. We briefly went over the syllabus and structure of the studio, and then each of us gave a ten minute design brief presentation on our project. It was interesting to see/hear everyone present their ideas and what they are interested in. We have a strong section of 10 people with a wide range of project topics. Some highlights include: information design/data visualization (Andrew), creativity and innovation (May), deafness and cochlear implants (Shinhae), and the z-axis (Alice).

I presented my project idea–which I titled flux; about the social responsibility as a designer and engagement with the community of Providence. While I was commended on my presentation, I was questioned and challenged to make a more clear connection between the title of my project and its relation to my interests. I, myself, at the time (and currently?), was unsure of what the next steps moving forward were.

Slide from my Design Brief presentation

This week, I reflected further on my project idea and made several mind-maps in relation to my topic(s), the title of my project, and my interests in accessible design, social responsibility, community engagement, and political activism (whew!). Tom gave us an introductory assignment, giving each of us a ‘mystery object’ to be used to inspire and generate ideas about our degree project.

The object–a grey rock-reminded me of the Design Studio I project sophomore year that I did with Tom as my section advisor. We each chose an object and used poetic language to illustrate the word that we titled our assigned object. At the time (5 semesters ago), I chose my prayer rock from California. I titled it ‘stone’ for the project.

This connection between the ‘stone’ of sophomore year and the ‘rock’ (if you will) of senior year, encouraged me to look back at my reflection documents and sketchbooks from when I first got into graphic design 2 years ago. I observed the fresh and wide-eyed confusion I had when I approached design–but also, the underlying themes in my work which trace back to before even coming to RISD. The desire to pursue and use art/design for social good-to make a difference (whatever that means)–and the essence of community; the themes of home and family, and exploring the sense of belonging in temporariness and impermanence–multitudes of home and identity. I also was terrible with run-on sentences back then, as I am now.

This lead me to move forward with more mind-maps and choosing to reconnect my DP and the topic of ‘home/community/belonging.’ Titled: flux: sense of home, feeling of belonging; Providence × AmericaThis has been a significant theme underpinning my work–and a topic of great interest to me as a fourth generation Japanese-American (yonsei), from Los Angeles, living in Providence, and most importantly–a child of God. Pastor Andrew’s service Sunday, and Sanctuary‘s Homegroup Connect yesterday really emphasized the idea of privileging that identity.

It is also important for me, to maintain a message of hope and encouragement in my work, to create things that are accessible, political and positive. I think this topic has greater significance with respect to Providence being a home to many different types f people–students and young professionals, Rhode Island residents and people from Providence, immigrants, refugees, international students, people of all races and ethnicities, sexual orientations and preferences, religions and creeds, etc. America truly is a melting pot culture, regardless of what the current administration or government is trying to do or say about it.

Layout of my mind map – derived by the ‘rock,’ structure folds into a house-like shape

This week, i.e. today’s meeting, we are meeting in pairs with Tom to present our first week’s progress and our ‘rock’ (not ‘stone’) interpretations. I feel as though I have a clearer direction of where I am going now–I feel more confident after talking to Grace (in ID) about it yesterday, and I was actually able to come up with a poster/posting design. Last night, God really provided with some ideas when I really needed it, but I am also looking forward to His wisdom speaking through today’s meeting.

‘In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?’ John 14:2, ESV


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