Saturday, September 24, 2011

Field Trip, NYC Style (2011)

(Matteo Bologna @ Mucca Design in Soho)

(click collages to enlarge)

As part of PCA&D's yearly trip to New York City – along with department chair, Pam Barby – I put together a day of art and design for our graphic design students. We split up into 2 groups; my group stopping by Mucca Design for an agency visit and Pam's to 2x4. These studios represent two of the best in the city and both students and faculty alike were thrilled at this opportunity.

For the record, Mother Nature did her best to rain on our parade. Literally. However, let it be known that although she succeeded in roughing up our plans and soaking all of us to the core, she failed at dampening our spirit.

I headed up the Mucca Design visit and we were able to spend nearly an hour with founder and principal, Matteo Balogna. Filled with all the vim and vigor of an Italian ex-pat and an undying love of custom typography, design, branding, and style – Matteo delivered an inspiring talk about all things modern graphic design. Before leaving, I shared with him a few locally made "thank you" gifts Pam & I put together; namely 2 PCA&D mugs, Wilbur Chocolate Buds, and 2 half-pounds of cheese made here in Lancaster County. Good stuff.

Although we then stopped by one of my favorite families of galleries in that of Morrisson Hotel Gallery, I did not take any photographs there. Just know that if you're ever in NYC, find one of their locations and hit it up! Only the best in music photography from the likes of Jim Marshall, Hendry Diltz, Danny Clinch, Clay Patrick McBride and more.

(@ the AIGA Design Effectiveness exhibit)

After walking to the fountain in Washington Square Park, we dispersed for 2-3 hours in order to grab lunch, shop, and dry out in cafés. Myself, Sally, and Kirk made our way over to one of my favorite restaurants in the world; Vegetarian Paradise. Pure bliss, great company, and lots of excited discussions about art, design, education, and family.

We met up again and forged forward in the (thankfully) lighter rains as we made our way up 5th Ave. to the AIGA Design Center. Launched this past week was their 365 exhibit; Design Effectiveness. The students were immediately immersed in every single piece of the display, which thankfully allowed you to pick up each work for a truly hands-on inspection and experience. And although the exhibit was curated with effectiveness as their first and foremost trait, the design aesthetic was incredibly high. Overall, an inspiring and fun exhibit that left an impression on the whole lot of us.

(@ the AIGA Design Effectiveness exhibit)

The final "official" stop of the day was the Center for Book Arts in the Fashion District. Loaded with several, excellent small exhibits that opened only 2 days before we arrived – the Center also surprised all of us with a fully-functioning letterpress print shop. We spent a bit of time comparing our favorite ampersands from the drawers of lead type and enjoyed hand-made books featuring gorgeous wood block prints, custom-process music packaging, paper works by Su Blackwell, and more before we settled on plans for the final 2+ hours before the bus was to pick us up.

I decided to march nearly everyone up to Times Square (a tradition in the making, mind you) for people-watching and to share in the spectacle that is one of the most famous couple of city blocks in the world. This year, we ran across Japanese television cooking shows being filmed (think "Iron Chef") and a big ABC promotion for the upcoming "Pan Am" television series.

This trip, like several other events throughout the school year, offers a chance for me to lift the veil off the classroom and to form a deeper bond with both students and fellow faculty alike. Already my head's already spinning on what to put together for next year… starting with a Sunny, 70º fall day!

(@ Center For the Book Arts [top] and Times Square [middle, bottom])