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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Com Arts Student Work

Graphic design, advertising, and illustration the three majors that form the Communication Arts Department are exciting but also demanding. The department strives on a strong visual language that each student must master to be successful in their future career. This is the goal of the Comm Arts department and an idea Kali Nikitas, the communication arts department chair, reiterated in our interview.

Kali Nikitas
Kali Nikitas is one of the most noted graphic designers in the country. Her clients have included; The School of Architecture at Northeastern, The Walker Art Center, Southern California Institute of Architecture, The Weisman Museum, and SOO Visual Art Center. She has also received awards from the ACD, AIGA and the Type Directors Club. 
Q: What does the Communication Arts department do for their students

A: We are committed to have our students get in touch with the skills they have and will learn to use them in their future professions. We stress the method of showing your process and how you ending up to that final result.

Kali's AIGA poster

Q: What are you trying to accomplish in each major (Advertising, Graphic Design, Illustration)? 

A: It’s important for the students to be their self, working in their field and in the community to become part of a greater whole. 

Q: What makes this department different from others?

A: This department is unique in the sense that we push minimum requirement for maximum electives. We want you to gather as many skills as you can during your time here. 

Q: Are there any events, activities, or classes no Comm Arts students can partake in?

A: Every year there is an Opportunity Fair that all students are welcome to attend for internships. There are also numerous workshops such as the Printmaking workshop, Silkscreen workshop, and Graphic Design workshop on Thursdays. We provide an Entrepreneur course that I highly recommend everyone to take; the class takes you through the steps of creating your own business and the ways to make it successful. 

Q: What made you want to become a graphic designer?

A: I love the arts and when I set out to study it was fine art that interested me. Then I took a typography class in college and I have not looked back since. I love collaboration and I love problem solving.

Q: Is it hard being a graphic designer?

A: No. It is hard when you strive for perfection and constantly aspire to do better and better with each project. It is hard to believe in yourself. There are so many levels within this amazing profession that many people find success. The question is "what does success mean to you?" That is the hard part. And...I do not think specific to graphic design but rather specific to seeking purpose and meaning in the workplace.
Advertising Student Work
Q: Over the years as a professional has the industry evolved in any way?

A: Many many many many ways. For one, when I was in undergrad, there were no computers! Can you imagine? In graduate school, the Mac was introduced which made a difference. More importantly, the field has changed not just in the tools we use but in the opportunities to work within the world as a graphic designer. For my earlier years, the venues were limited (in general): graphic designer within the field of printed matter. Now, graphic designers are writers, curators, self-publishers, entrepreneurs. They work in digital technologies, environmental design, they collaborate with sciences, etc. Designers are recognized as important players in the world of problem solving as well as the building of visual culture.

Q: How is the graphic design market today in your opinion?

A: The opportunities to be hired into the positions that already exist are great if you have: the skills to collaborate; a teachable attitude; kindness and respect towards others; dedication to projects; the attention to craft and detail; and willingness to take risks (to name a few). In addition, the world is open to any single person or group of people interested in taking their talents and applying them in ways that we have not yet seen. This to me is the most exciting. When I became an Academic Administrator, I had no idea just how important my training as a graphic designer would be to the new job. A problem that needs to be solved is a problem that needs to be solved. Research, critical thinking, risk taking, people management, translates into so many venues that it turns out that if you are trained as a graphic designer, you can do so many things. Amazing!

Q: Where does a typical Otis comm arts student end up after they graduate?

A: Some students work for advertising agencies or movie studios, or magazine companies and post production houses. Some work for small design studios or cultural institutions. Some go to graduate school (hopefully ours), and some alumni open up their own studios. All in all, I think Otis Alumni are taking over the world!

Q: What is the process and steps you personally take to reach your final piece of work? For example the book design for ‘Letter Perfect’.
Kali's book design

A: Each project is different. In general, I work both on and off the computer. The “Letter Perfect” book featured incredible work done in the last century. There was a lot of pressure that I placed on myself to design that book. My contribution could 
never rival the books and posters featured in the publication but it was important to create a template that did not conflict with the content. The cover was letter pressed and that was super fun to do. A little note: my Assistant at the time was Adam Michaels who is now partners at ProjectProjects in NYC. I actually have a letterpress poster I am working on now and I believe that some of my favorite work has been produced that way.

Q: How does working on a book cover design, poster design, or a web design differ from each other? Are there different main ideas and emotions a viewer should get from each?

A: I have designed few websites yet I am confident that I can shape and storyboard a project as it relates to content, user experience/navigation, and ensuring that a client is getting the most from the media. I have actually designed more posters than anything else in my career, which I absolutely love because I set a limit to design in one day. Production may take longer but the design is quick and I have more freedom of expression in posters than in longer running projects like book design. There are a number of faculty at OTIS whose practice includes web design, publication and environmental graphics. I prefer to step aside and give them a chance to work their magic.

My design practice is not so traditional anymore. Each year, I make a couple things that would be described as graphic design. The way I work these days is to apply my design skills and people skills to projects: building academic programs, curating events with designers/for designers; curating and hosting symposium; brokering talent with individuals or companies looking to hire designers.

Illustration Student Work
Q: What are certain things you listen for when a client comes to you for a project?

A: Who are they as in: what is their history, what is their mission, what is their dream? After a conversation, I then think about what I can do to help. If I cannot help, I direct them as best I can to people they might like to meet. I do more of that these days. I am starting to feel like an agent and I like it!

Q: What helps you decide to take a certain job from a client or not? Why?

A: If I can make a difference I will take a job. If I am not the studio for that client or project, I will be the first to admit it.

Advertising Student Work
Q: What is your ideal client and working conditions?

A: A risk taker, a collaborator, a bill payer.

Q: Who are your heroes and mentors that you believe have impacted your work?

A: This should be a question I love but it is not because my definition of mentor and hero has changed. Basically, I learn so much from a great number of people. I look more to the qualities that a person possesses rather than the full package. Some people show me how important it is to be generous. Some teach me about patience. Others lead by example when it comes to: talent, leadership, skills in collaboration, civic mindedness, humor, etc. The goal for me is to be open enough to meet as many people as possible and learn as much as I can. So actually I am constantly being mentored not just in regards to my work but in daily living.

Q: Would you consider yourself more of a teacher or mentor to the students at Otis? Or both?

A: A mentor. I use to teach more and I loved it. I do occasionally at the MFA level. One of the great rewards of teaching is watching your former students prosper. Fortunately, I have taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and Otis so there are a fair number of alumni reminding me weekly, that I have the best job in all the world.

Wall of Com Arts Student's Work

Otis Style


Fashion is not all about wearing all the things that you like all at once, sometime it’s about how you use one thing to make your whole outfit pop. I have been known to wear boring clothes that becomes a cool outfit by adding one single item. It’s a fashion skill that someone has to learn and it’s the fashion tip I want to explain for this week.

Her outfit is popping because of her Simpson sweater. Her sweater stands out because she matches it with black leggings and shoes, which makes her outfit playful.

Instead of wearing leather shoes, he choose this brown suede to match his whole outfit which makes his outfit classy.

This girl has a similar technique to the first girl, but does it in a much simpler way. She uses the contrast of her white jeans against her black outfit to make it stand out. 

Her top is a nice silhouette and her roll up sleeves accentuate her tattoos.

Another simple way to make an outfit is to simplify it. This girl's outfit is just a dress with a bold pattern and a simple pair of shoes. It works because the simplicity of the shoes keeps the outfit from clashing.

This girl’s outfit is very fashionable because she wear a complex white shirt with a black skirt, socks, and leather boots. 

A simple t shirt and shorts with a colorful sweater make her whole outfit look very cute and charming.

- Maggie -

O My Beauty


At Otis, people work really hard, stay up late and eat a lot of junk food. Because of this, I have heard my friends complaining of dry skin and breakouts. I want to introduce some face wash products that will help keep your skin at optimal health, meaning hydrated and clear!

All the face wash listed below are suitable for everyone, no matter if you have light skin, dark skin or in between.

Neutrogena Naturals: Fresh cleansing +
makeup remover: This two-in-one face wash cleans my skin really well and also saves me a lot of time when removing my make up. It’s very important to find a face wash that’s suitable for your skin. A way to know if a face wash is suitable for you or not is to pay attention to your skin after you use the product. If your skin feels really tight and dry, then the face wash that you’re using is definitely not suitable. If your skin feels really soft and moist, then the face wash that you’re using is suitable. I also love this product because it leaves my skin feeling soft after I use it. It's inexpensive, $6-9 and almost every drugstore carries it.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser: This non-greasy product is for normal to oily skin types. You can use it in the morning or at night; it removes all the dirt, oil, and makeup in one step. If you have acne, you can still try this product because it is very gentle and cleans your skin very well. A lot of my friends are using this face wash and they always recommend this product to me. This face wash is around $10 and you can find it in any drugstore.

The Body Shop Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser: This is one of the top face washes for people that have very sensitive skin or for people who breakout a lot. This product doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients or fragrance, so it is very safe to use for those who are allergic to fragrance. If you have acne or sensitive skin, you can try this amazing face wash; you will see the results in a few days. No more redness and pimples. This face wash is around $15. You can buy it from The Body Shop official website or their stores.

Laneige Multi Cleanser: I have been using this face wash for over three years. It is very gentle, it cleans my skin very well and leaves my skin feeling very soft. On the packaging, it says this multi cleanser can remove makeup, sunscreen, exfoliating and cleansing. From my experience, I think this face wash does a really good job at cleaning all the dirt inside my pores but it doesn’t take makeup or sunscreen off completely. Normally, I will use makeup remover to remove all the makeup first, and then use this face wash to clean the residue off my skin. I recommend trying this product for all skin types, but from my experience it work best with Asian skin types. This face wash is $22-28, you can order it online through their official website and you can also get it at Target.

If you like what you read today comment below and let me know. In the next article, I will introduce you to some face masks that I have used and can recommend.

- Maggie -

Episode 6: Wheel of Fortune

This episode builds on the more sinister aspects of this season's story. It begins with Elsa Mars going through her old Freak Show belongings and taking out her spinning wheel. She continuously spins it and tosses knives at it. At every third knife she strikes the center of the bulls-eye. If this doesn't scream foreshadowing, then I don't know what does. Not to mention that she maniacally imagines all of her freaks attached to wheel, while she tosses her knives.

We then realize that it is her birthday week. When she receives her gifts, her freaks are
looking rather solemn. When asked why, they tell her that they miss the twins, who in the last episode had been taken away and sold to Dandy. This angers her and makes her question them and their faithfulness and trust in her. In order to compensate for her feelings of lost trust, she demands that one of the freaks get on the wheel. Jimmy, the Lobster Boy, is the first to volunteer, but Paul, the Illustrated Seal, waves Jimmy off and says that he's the one who should do so.

 I definitely would not have trusted a heart broken woman to toss knives at me.
In the scene before this, it is shown that Paul has had some sort of romantic
relationship with Elsa, but his affections are only half-hearted. We know that he has had an actual relationship with the woman who left the Freak Show in the first episode. He visits her after sleeping with Elsa, and tells her that he loves her. He leaves later during the night, only to have the scent of her perfume with him, Venetian Romance. Elsa immediately smells the scent on him, and questions him about it. This is why he volunteers to go on the wheel in place of Jimmy.

Going back to the twins we find that they have been living lavishly with Dandy and his mother, Gloria. Bette loves her new lifestyle with Dandy, as well as the expensive caviar that he has been feeding her. Dot however hates it. In her diary, she describes her new life as being stuck in a beautiful new palace with a man she finds disgusting. She writes that she only laughs at Dandy's horrible jokes because he gives her ten dollars every time she laughs. With that money, she plans to get the surgery that will separate her from Bette. So basically after the surgery, one of them is bound to die.

What sister would want to be separated from her Siamese twin, knowing she would also die?
On a whim, Dandy plays a game with the twins that forces them to share secrets with one
another. After Dandy shares his secret that he killed Twisty (a lie) and saved the kids, he asks Dot to share. Dot refuses, and calls him a liar saying that Jimmy would never lie. This infuriates him, and in a rage he runs out of the room.

Back at the Freak Show, we find out that Paul has been impaled by one of Elsa's knives, and that he is slowly bleeding out. The woman he had a relationship with leaves her home, only to see that he is close to death. In her horror she asks why he hasn't gotten any medical attention, but they later realize that the doctor never arrived.

If you thought that this episode would leave out Maggie and Dr. Mansfield, you've clearly
misjudged the American Horror Story writers. In this episode, Dr. Mansfield has become even more bloodthirsty and demands that Maggie bring him back any sort of specimen. He originally tells her to bring him Jimmy and to remove his hands for an exhibit, but instead Maggie suggests that she kidnaps Ma Petite because the body and death would be less messy. We are shown that Jimmy and Maggie have some sort of relationship now, and that she asks to run away with him. After that, we are then brought to a scene that seems incredibly real, where Maggie takes Ma Petite and puts her in a jar and then pours formaldehyde into it while she resists.

This scene was incredibly disturbing because Ma Petite is so adorable.
To end this episode, Dr. Mansfield is sitting in Maggie's tent and threatens her if she still can't get him a specimen. While that is happening, the whole freak show has become suspicious of Elsa Mars, and even the Bearded Lady, her very best friend, seems to not believe everything she says.

Character Design Art Work

If you are a fan of video games, it is likely that you have either played, or at least heard of the well known third-person stealth series, Metal Gear Solid. If you are a fan of this specific franchise, you are probably aware of its' incredible artwork done by Yoji Shinkawa.

Yoji Shinkawa is Japanese art director in Kojima Production located in Japan. He is known for his character designs in the Metal Gear Solid series which show his dynamic and energetic brush strokes that have become a key component of his style. Yoji Shinkawa favors the use of Pentel’s Japanese calligraphy pens and correction pens in order to obtain his artistic style. Both of which are available in America. He was influenced to use calligraphy pens by Japanese animator and comic artist, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, who also use brushes for drawing.

His execution of sketches has lead some to believe that he is only capable of achieving rough, or abstract drawings. However, Yoji Shinkawa is able to execute highly detailed and clean paintings, especially for mech designs.

Not only is he a talented illustrator, but he is also an experienced and diverse designer. Yoji Shinkawa is known
to create tangent models of his designs as well; instead of sketching them out beforehand, proving that he has multiple skills that are useful in the world of concept design.

His career started in 1994 at Konami Digital Entertainment in Japan and is still working for them. Other than the Metal Gear Solid series, he worked as a mech designer in the Zone of the Enders series, and a character designer in the Busou Shinki series. He is currently working on the newest installment to the Metal Great series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

- Manami -

Super Gasmask Bros


Back by popular demand our dark take from the twisted mind of a sleep starved Digital Media Major.

- Manami -

Sometimes we need something sweet and scrumptious. Our Vanilla-Lemon Berry Parfaits are just the thing for such times!