Design Studio

Inspiration for art and graphic design was the goal for students in Design Studio today as they toured MIA – Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Sitting in a 19th-century gallery, the designers studied a portrait of a young boy and looked for examples of symbolism. Gavin noticed flowers and a vine that climbed up a column near the boy. The clinging vine symbolizes the attachment of the living to the dead. Turns out, the portrait was of a youngster who had died, and, as was custom at the time, the family had an artist create the painting post-mortem. Teacher Ann Roman pointed out the child’s abnormally small feet which she described as the result of an undertrained artist. “Your foot is actually as large as your head,” she said. Several students abruptly pulled off a shoe and held it vertically alongside their head, measuring with their hands. “It’s true!” someone shouted. 

Liz learned a lot that she planned to use in her own design process. “I learned how art can symbolize a lot of stuff. Not a lot of people realize it, how the artist puts themselves into the art – puts how they feel,” she said. “If I’m designing art and people want me to do a chicken, I’ll make the chicken, but I’ll put something about myself in it. Something that’s my own design.”

Landon was curious about why artists created the images they did. He wandered over to a pair of desert paintings. “I like to read the descriptions to see why they did it,” he said. 

Prairie was struck by different atmospheres created by artists. “They do a lot with light and shadow. It’s what makes art look realistic.” 

Students carried a scavenger hunt checklist with them as they strolled through galleries looking for examples of imaginary, funny, or mysterious things. Adahlia pulled her checklist from her pocket and marked off “a place you’d like to visit.” “A place I’d like to visit is that,” she said, pointing to a landscape. “It’s so beautiful.” The 1865 painting by Richardt was a romantic landscape of a steamwheeler boat on the Upper Mississippi River. It’s very likely she could visit that beautiful place, although it would look very different today. 

When they’re not analyzing fine art, the artist-marketers in Design Studio partner with another Summer Academy class to create a logo to represent the class. For example, Padah’s client was the class Clay Studio. Padah went to the class earlier this week to survey students about their design. She asked them about preferred colors, images, and lettering. “I got a lot of ideas,” she said about the consultation. “I made some different logos in case they want to choose.” Her favorite design was a pottery bowl with ‘Clay Studio’ written on it in browns, yellow, and black. “I did some more colorful ones, too,” she said. 

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