Week 11—Crunch Time

Anina’s definition of home (left): static, vs. my definition of home (right) dynamic. Sketch by Anina.

Time is going by so fast! There are so many things to do, and so little time.

This past week, I made some edits to KYR and also to the Hope booklet, and have spent most of my DP mindspace working on the final deliverables and documenting projects. The final deliverables for DP are as follows:
— 1 minute video promoting your DP
— written abstract to be handed-out during your DP presentation
— DP presentation (for day of the critique)
— process book

KYR is chugging along, and (in my exhausted opinion) the design is almost done! We are having it translated in other languages right now through DIIRI. The only thing still up for contention, is the cover (I believe). Hopefully Tom and Conrad’s feedback will be insightful. I know Brandon, Susan and Jessica are wanted for it to be done soon. Spanish copy is due next Monday I believe? During the Sanctuary City panel discussion

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This weekend, I documented all of the postcards Ruth and I have collaborated on thus far, edited the photos from Do Yun and my collaboration, and documented/edited Anina’s spoons. I have arranged to meet with Ruth on Wednesday in the afternoon to discuss our collaboration and final deliverable, and Anina and I will be meeting next week (after this week). I was able to catch Anina just as I was wrapping up the documentation in her studio. We shared a nice chat and she’s willing to sit down for another discussion and a-go at the book design now that the photos are taken and edited. I still need to document the Our America show, though. I’ll do that tomorrow morning.

Collaboration with Ruth
Collaboration with Anina

This evening, after meeting with Cyrus for my ISP in the morning and the second to last NUA session, I worked on writing my abstract and an outline of what I want to present for DP. It’s a lot. I think I will need to condense and edit the information down, or just speak quickly. It is a testament to the work I’ve done this semester, the conceptual thinking, but I can only hope the deliverables can live up to the theory, and that I am able to articulate and communicate the richness of the exploration in the presentation itself.

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I spent two hours typing the outline and abstract.

With two showcases/presentations coming so soon, it’s a bit overwhelming. ISP showcase (May 22nd) and DP presentation (May 25th). The postcards for the ISP showcase came in the mail today, and I purchased the envelopes from Paperworks this morning. Alex will be giving me a deal on the Mohawk paper for the Hope booklet (thank you, Alex!). And I am trying to wrap up most of the production-y side of things for both so I can focus on the presentation and visual design of the room, etc.

I was watching the DP presentation videos just now, and I was… (not to be offensive) but unimpressed? I don’t know. The videos seem very vague and abstract. Minimal. Maybe it’s because I’m taking type in motion right now, I’m extra critical? Or maybe because I assume a lot of effort needs to be put in it (not that the videos I watched didn’t have a lot of effort!). But it helps alleviate some of the pressure I suppose. Thankfully, type in motion ends this week and I can use that time in my schedule to work on the 1 minute video (1 minute is long!). Cyrus liked the animation I made of prensa, he said he was touched and his mother would be too. Sometimes he is overly kind in his critique.

We will be meeting with Tom in one-on-one meetings tomorrow. Because I missed last week, I hope he is not overly expectant for an abundance of new work. I do believe I have put in a lot of thinking and effort, but I am always unsure when ‘enough is enough.’

Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
—2 Corinthians 6:10

Pastor Sarah gave a really great sermon on friendship on Sunday; and it really spoke to a lot of things that have been on my mind. Mike struggled with it a lot during service, and it was a challenge for me to be a good friend (ironically) to him, but God pulled through for me. He always does. She also spoke about how our culture, both religious and not, has a lack of imagination for intimacy that is not sexual. And I found that really profound. I suppose one could argue we have “platonic relationships” but even then…

Writing the outline and abstract made me realize how much more seriously I take my faith now, and the impact centering myself on Christ in all areas of my life, especially my work through my DP and my ISP, have had on my life. Maybe Joanna is right in encouraging me to pursue baptism. I pray God that you would reveal the answer and that your will would be done.

I continue to search for the right opportunity for future employment; and am expectant that God has a plan. I interviewed again today but am still holding out for an email I was expecting last week. More and more people ask the proverbial question, I am not offended or anxious to answer. But it would be nice to know.


Week 4 Update – Snow Day!

The only written response I’ve seen thus far: ‘Home, let me go home.’ 15 West

The response from the second posting was very sparse. Many people tore off the quotes tagged at the bottom, but not many people (except 1?) wrote filled in the blank. I am not sure what the third posting will be…the second wasn’t as ‘successful’ or insightful as the first. However, it prompted me to design a survey that would solicit more of a response from people directly.

Promotional social media I made and spread on facebook

If you have not already, please fill it out through this link: https://goo.gl/forms/riQnGxSRocFlVAMO2

I got over 100+ responses! I still need to figure out how to translate the answers and analyze the data collected. I think I might push this and the illustrations of the houses further for Unbound (RISD’s printed book fair in April).

Ruth and I started our collaboration! Back-and-forth memory prompted postcards. I just received her response to the first postcard I sent, today.

Ruth’s first response

I made some progress on the posters describing the various directions of the Christian journey–prompted by my ISP advisor, Cyrus, I split the posters into four, one for each direction. I worked on the distance read this week and still need to decide and design/compose with more smaller text, and consider the 2 other reads (half-way, and close-up read). I am also deciding between dark-grey text on light-grey background, or light-grey text on dark-grey background. My illustration friends prefer the top row, and my GD friends suggested the bottom.

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Thumbnails of the directions posters

Tomorrow (Tuesday) our usual DP meeting day, is a major snow storm day in Rhode Island. Our meeting was canceled. I have other small projects I am working on, including: progress on NUA UNO (hopefully launching next week with Mel and Kah), a mini illustrated zine on the houses I’ve lived in, second meeting with DIIRI this week (fortunately the Know Your Rights workshop tomorrow is reschedule, so hopefully I can make the new day/time), Sanctuary’s new Discipleship class meeting this Wednesday morning, I have some new forms and content to work with.

I had a nice conversation over lunch with Jenice about our time at RISD, RISD Homegroup, and our current projects. She left me with the followign bible verse as a word of prayer over her this week, I can resonate a lot with it too:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8, ESV

Week 2 Reflection

written precisely two hours before Week 3 meeting

Slides for my week 3 presentation

I just finished writing out the notes for my presentation in section this week for my degree project–I am so amazed with how fast everything is going and how busy the semester already is. Juggling DP, job applications, sleep, and catching up with people (and sleep), has been a bit of a challenge.

However, I am enjoying my DP topic and the work I am making, even though the topic is still very broad.  Everything seems to be falling in to place–and it is exciting to have God lead and be so present in the work I am making. I am also enjoying working with many different types of people and sharing conversations and being inspired by other people’s experiences and insights. I have a lot to say–but also not.

Here’s a “brief” recap of where I am with my projects up-to-this-point:

Quick Exercises

*I’m not Amerian [sic], but I’m still home. This place isn’t just for Americans.

First posting was made last week–seemed to have a positive reception, of course some locations are more effective than others. There were some comments written on two of the postings about the connotations of ‘American’ and the song used–this is ‘Native’ land, not colonial land. It has made me think a lot about what it means to be American, and will feed a lot into my next posting.

Brainstorming on the term ‘American’

Made some quick origami explorations of language (Spanish and Japanese) through poetic form making.


First draft of poster – overcomplicated and will be simplified

Making progress on the posters about the Christian journey–finding home, creating family. Funny how interconnected everything–grace of God. Serena helped a lot with refining the design, and Cyrus had a great idea of simplifying the poster and making it a series of four, one for each direction: upward, inward, outward, and together. I like that idea and will get to work on that.

I have my first interview/meeting with Dorcas tomorrow!

Mel, Kah and I had our first group meeting about NUA UNO, and we divi’ed up the roles and are getting it started! I am excited to see it unfold.

I met briefly with Emily to discuss collaboration at church on Sunday–hoping to meet with her in person to see the work and discuss further our ideas.


A lot going on! But it’s all exciting. Hopefully the feedback from the presentation and critique in section will be good today. Here back from me soon.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:15–17, ESV

NUA Mentor Meeting | Ash Wednesday

NUA Origami folded structure

Today is Ash Wednesday, meaning the beginning of lent – the 40 days leading up until Easter. Although I was unable to attend the Ash Wednesday service at Sanctuary, we had a mentor meeting at New Urban Arts, and it was great to see and catch up with all the artist mentors. Besides sharing a meal together and checking in, we discussed project ideas and strategies in small groups.

Notes from Mentor Meeting and discussion with Mel about the NUA UNO deck.

Mel and I discussed the idea of making a NUA UNO deck, an idea Kah and her had been entertaining. Together we were able to devise a game plan for kickstarting this project. First, I will be working on a template design and then we are going to meet with Kah and plot out the idea on Monday.

Before the meeting started, I was observing some of the table graffiti and found this quote:

“Houseless not homeless” – Jay

I took this as inspiration for some quick form making in the studio – I folded it into an origami shape that hides and reveals the quote. The texture of the table makes the house look like a shack, ironically, while the folded structure allows for a reveal of the quote. The structure itself being the shape of a home, adds to the poetic meaning.

I was happy and surprised to see some of the little tags taken down from some of the flyers I posted yesterday. Unfortunately due to rain (and other circumstances or people), some of the postings got ruined. But the gesture remains. If one person was encouraged (and clearly at least a dozen people took a little tab, meaning more than that many people must have paused to read it), the project is not a complete failure. Whether it is a success, is another story. That is another concept I am hoping to come to terms with (or at least explore) through this degree project: “How do you measure the success of a socially engaged art/design project?”

Bonus! Old collaborative NUA alphabet Emily showed us, some inspo for a future project at NUA? I love the idea of a participatory alphabet with the potential of it being digitized and used in applications…

‘By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’
– Genesis 3:19, ESV

2nd Meeting – 1st Posting


1st Political Posting made and distributed across RISD and Brown. Small text reads: ‘No matter the color of your skin, your religion or creed, your sexual identity or preference, ‘where you are from’ or ‘who you are’… You are American. And you are home. This is our land.’

This week we met in pairs with Tom–May and I presented our first week’s work and discussed the progression of our ideas. Tom had some really insightful feedback describing the ‘Buddhic field’/’higher mind.’ It was a lot to process, but very interesting. I can see direct parallels between that and even what we discussed at Homegroup Connect last night with Sanctuary. The idea of stepping outside of one’s own mind and into the realm of the spiritual – trusting God, and being immersed in the process and God’s plan and not our own way of thinking (me extrapolating with a Christian perspective).

I presented my mind-map and new concept for my degree project, and I feel a lot more confident about project now. The idea of home and identity being in flux, and engaging in socially responsible design through the community in Providence. It satisfies my desire to be engaged with the community, and to really maximize my remaining time in this community. Tom also brought up the idea of designing for a greater community than just the client–which made me think about one of my early ideas of design as a civil service, or graphic designer as civil servant. After speaking with Albert from NEA and Grace, I really feel more confident in this direction. When else will I have the opportunity in my profession to so full-heartedly pursue design for social good, and activist/socially engaged design?

I am in email communication with Brandon from DIIRI, and sent a general email to Amos House. I am hoping to be connected with these new communities, while maintaining my work with NUA. Hoping to iron out that schedule as well. I hope I am not biting off more than I can chew.

1st Political Posting – at Brown University

I made my first political posting today, based off of the song This Land is Your Land, and inspired by the current political climate and the hate-crime that happened at RISD recently. Hoping to spread a word of encouragement and hope. Of course it is hard to truly gauge the “success” of such a project, but I think this quick making exercise will be fruitful for my process and help keep me making and thinking about my topic. I printed 50 posters, and they were posted across RISD and Brown’s campuses. May had the suggestion of having them available as a digital file too, so people can print and make them themselves. I think that is a great idea, and I’d love to have an archive of files I can share as a part of the ‘end product’ for my Degree Project.

I am excited for the direction I am taking, and God be willing, we will where see where this goes. The three directions I am taking my DP can be summarized as:

  1. political postings
  2. religious encouragement
  3. nonprofit activism

Of course they are not mutually exclusive, and they will all inform each other. I hope I can balance this with my other studio and ISP.

The posting had little tear-offs, which read: ‘You are loved.’, ‘You are accepted.’, and ‘You belong here.’

‘And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.’ Luke 1:23, ESV

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