RISD Craft 2015: A few of my favorite things

This past Saturday, Benefit Street hosted RISD Craft 2015, an exhibition of both alumni and current students’ work. It was cool, artsy, and well attended by cute dogs, making the terrible walk back uphill worth it. There were over 100 artists at the fair, so in case you didn’t make it, or in case you did but were overwhelmed by the cute dogs, here are a few artists not to be missed.

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Tyler the Creator has a pair of these amazing kicks and you can get them too! Vaughan Carman, a sophomore double majoring in apparel and print making, takes plain white shoes and then draws repetitive patterns on them, giving them an aesthetic that echoes Keith Haring and Zio Ziegler’s. Distinctively colorful, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the pattern’s lively movement despite them being unmoving 2D designs on canvas shoes. Where can you find him? Check out his Instagram: Vaughan_Carman or his behanceWhat’s next for him? He will be working on a London O’Connor music video as well as continuing work on murals.

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On the complete opposite side of the artistic spectrum is M.Benjamin Herndon, a student working towards his MFA in printmaking. Self described in one word as “quiet,” Herndon’s art is breathtaking. The prints draw their influence from a variety of sources– German Romanticism, the minimalism of the 60’s and 70’s, and traditional Japanese art– yet they share a kind of cohesion. They’re haunting, smoky, and hard to turn away from. The juxtaposition of airiness and shadows culminates in an etherial and hypnotic way. In the end, the prints are just really cool. Where can you find him? His website! What’s next for him?  Look forward to some upcoming exhibitions this spring.

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Ever been consumed by a certain desire to have a four foot high, 200 pound sculpture influenced by Colorado’s rock formations to spice up your dorm room? How about just a really, really sick looking mug? Look no further than Martin McDermott. McDermott, a 2nd year graduate student at RISD in the ceramics department, creates pieces revolving around the idea of contrast, or in his words, “the geometric versus organic.” The end results, a 3D geometric block with parts carved out to reveal semblance of rock, or mugs that are too aesthetically pleasing to be used for just holding water, e.g., are definitely worth checking out. Where can you find him? His website isn’t up yet, so just keep Googling his name. What’s next for him? See him at the RISD thesis show in May at the Convention Center.

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If you like cats, are apathetic to cats, or hate cats, Sarah Lee‘s art is about to change your life. Even though her work indicates talent in all kinds of art, as a future cat lady, I fell head over heels for Lee’s collection named “Goyangii” (translates to “cat” in Korean). Drawing from various sources of inspiration like girly Lolita fashion in Japan, cute Asian stationary, and her love for animals, Lee has created art that is equal parts fantasy and cats. Also, she undoubtedly had the best business cards featuring, you guessed it, a cat cutting up a sweater with scissors. Where can you find her? Check her websiteblogInstagram, and Etsy! What’s next for her? She will be graduating from RISD in 2016, but if you really can’t wait, pass the time by reading her A-Z cat themed book, A Book of Cat Shenanigans.

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The great legend, Macklemore, once said, “That shirt’s hella dough and having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don’t.” Much agreed, Macklemore, much agreed. If you subscribe to the same train of thought, check out Madelyn Snow. A junior in textile design, she showcased “Touching Threads,” a collection of hand dyed pieces sourced from either American Apparel or second hand stores. Remember tie dye shirts from summer camps? Snow’s clothes are like those shirts’ much cooler, older sister. The way the colors, influenced by flora and fauna, and coral, mesh in mesmerizing harmony make the word “beautiful” an understatement. Where can you find her? Her behance has more of her work. What’s next for her? She’ll be working with the RISD boutique, MADE by RISD, a platform for RISD students to sell their work and get more exposure.

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When asked what she produces, RISD alumna, Esme Shapiro answered that she likes to explore, “worlds that are vibrating at a higher frequency.” She succeeds with her whimsical prints of nearly everything and anything. She also gives solid advice for all sorts of situations through her smile inducing art. For example, have you ever wondered what to do when you find yourself in an overflowing tub? Answer. The colors are vibrant and cheerful, perfect for children’s books, which is in fact what Shapiro illustrates. Where can you find her? She has her own website here. What’s next for her? Her children’s book, OOKO, will be coming out next summer. Pick one up for yourself or buy it for a “younger sibling” or “cousin.”

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Hanna Cha, an illustrator, channeled her experiences at RISD in creating her final project, “Yustina’s Journey.” In these 12 autobiographical slides (each one representing a month in a year), a bespectacled girl finds herself in an excitingly overwhelming new world until she finds the door that fits her key. To those who enjoy Hayao Miyazaki, the director of Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Kiki’s Delivery Service, I would highly recommend Cha’s art. Cha’s art tells a relatable narrative against lush landscapes, laced with a dreamy quality that never completely erases itself from your memory. Where can you find her? Her behance! What’s next for her? She hopes to create a children’s book, roughly translated: “Heart Connects,” to distribute in poverty stricken areas of Paraguay where children can’t afford books.

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Jewelry and metal smith, Sophia Ratner, uses elements in nature, textures, and textiles as jumping off point for her work: everyday charm necklaces. Using the technique of lost-wax casting, Ratner creates necklaces that are delicate and crisply minimalistic from afar, but in actuality, detailed and unique. The great part about Ratner’s jewelry is that it’s timeless, something you’ll find yourself reaching for everyday. Don’t worry if you want something different though, Ratner has you covered with a higher end collection, influenced by different architecture. Interestingly enough, the pieces are formed by wire bent into repeating patterns. Where can you find her? /What’s next for her? Her website will be up in about a month!

Images viaviavia, via, and via Claire Pang ’19.

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