Art School(ed): A 2015 holiday gift list, brought to you by RISD alumni

Winter break is nearly upon us, and with that comes the duty of shopping for your loved ones and drafting your own holiday wish list. Enter: Art School(ed), here to offer unconventional gift ideas (for the second year running) that simultaneously support RISD alums, both newly minted and old.

For your family’s resident knit wit:
What do a woven pizza slice, a fashion world It-bag, and a quirky stuffed donkey have in common? They were all designed or handcrafted by someone who received a BFA in Textiles from RISD.
Degen socks are both merry and bright.
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The winner of The Most Irreverent Gift Money Can Buy Award is a tie between Kayla Mattes’ woven pizza slices and New Friends’ beach towel patterned with sheep and dogs.

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Art School(ed): A survey of Providence’s wallpapers

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Our story begins with the Eliza Ward House on the corner of Benefit and George. At night, the perceptive pedestrian might notice a glimpse of something peculiar through the window: a series of panoramic wallpapers in the house Joseph Brown, a founder of Brown University, built and designed the house for his daughter, Eliza Ward, in 1814. Ward had commissioned the woodblock-printed, full color scenes from Dufour & Cie, a French manufacturer of painted wallpapers and fabrics, and they remain to this day (thanks to thorough restorationists). Panoramic scenes transform the Bosphorus Room and the Incas Room into 19th century marvels. While the wallpaper titled “Les Rives du Bosphore” (On the Banks of the Bosporus) is loosely based on palm tree-laden landscapes of Turkey, the panel above the fireplace mantel depicts a pine-treed scene from Maine, reflecting Ward’s personal affinity for the northernmost New England state. The print “Les Incas” portrays an imagined scene of explorer Francisco Pizarro’s first encounters with the Incas. (For a more in-depth explanation of the house’s history and restoration process, check out Houzz’s Room of the Day article on the Eliza Ward House.)

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What to do this week: November 30 – December 6

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Monday, November 30 

Event: Into the Grind(s)
Location: The Underground
Time: 5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.

“Come sample coffee varieties from around the world and learn about different brewing techniques and blends in the Underground Coffee Co.” This event is totally free and will feature informational sessions on brewing techniques at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 1

Event: UCS Open Forum
Location: Salomon 001
Time: 8:00 p.m.

The Undergraduate Council of Students will be moderating a forum on the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Plan. The event will include both an overview of the plan and a Q&A with the following administrators: Rick Locke, Maud Mandel, Liza Cariaga-Lo, Mary Grace Almandrez, & Janet Blume.

Wednesday, December 2

Event: In Transition: A Thayer Street Pop-Up Exhibition
Location: 271 Thayer Street (Where City Sports used to be)
Time: 2:00 p.m.

Come to the unveiling of this exhibition about Providence’s street art scene. Sponsored by Artbeat, this event will feature artists from the community.

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Playing at the Cable Car Cinema: Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

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Perhaps you’re acquainted with Blog’s column, This Week at the Avon. Meet the Avon’s sulky, redheaded step-sister: the hip, closer-to-sea-level competitor, Cable Car Cinema and Cafe. Cable Car, located on seabreezy South Main Street, has recently been deemed “Best Art House Cinema in New England” by Yankee Magazine.

Last we spoke about the Cable Car, the year was 2014 and the theatre had extended Finding Vivian Maier’s run on their silver screen. This week, Cable Car has resurrected Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict in response to the wildly popular screening on opening night of the First Annual Providence Art & Design Film Festival, hosted by the RISD Museum. (As noted in Harper’s Bazaar, Guggenheim gave the RISD Museum one of her first Pollock drip paintings and one of her Jéan Helions, too.)

The film is directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who gave us the exceptional movie The Eye Has To Travel about her grandmother-in-law, legendary Vogue editrix Diana Vreeland. (My grandfather recently watched the Vreeland documentary on Netflix and revered the “entertaining and informative” film for its “fantastic editing job.” Though our opinions may vary when discussing the filmic merits of Napoleon Dynamite, we both recommend that you add The Eye Has To Travel to your queue.) With her second film Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Lisa I. Vreeland has established that powerful women with cultural capital are her beat.

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Off (Other Side of) the Hill: Taking a RISD class

Part of the charm of College Hill comes from the long-standing relationship between Brown and RISD students; Providence is the creative capital after all, and we’ve got the two artsiest (and apparently one of the douchiest, according to GQ) schools right at our fingertips. The opportunity for Brown students to take RISD classes, and vice versa, fosters a really unique dynamic that you should definitely take advantage of, if scheduling and coursework permits.

As one can see from RISD’s unofficial mascot, they go pretty hard in the paint, and you’ll have to invest hours on hours for the final critique. But by the end, you’ll have gained knowledge of a niche skill, made enough friends to be personally invited to a warehouse party (brownie points if you get an invitation to Artist’s Ball), and have something tangible to show for your efforts.

If those reasons have peaked your curiosity about shopping for a RISD studio, you might be asking: “Where do I even begin?” I was in the same boat a couple weeks ago, and I’m still learning to navigate the waters. Luckily, sending an excessive number of e-mails and asking around yielded a list of helpful tips and interesting classes to check out, some of which you might remember from RISD Wintersession 2016 Course Superlatives.

The process of registering goes a little something like this:

Step 1: Go to JWW and obtain a cross-registration form from the 3rd floor.

Step 2: Get the instructor to sign it.

Step 3: Get the RISD registrar to sign it.

Step 4: Get the Brown registrar to sign it.

A more detailed description can be found here, a website about cross-registration created by Patchi Dranoff, RISD ’15.

TIPS & TRICKS:

  • E-mail the department head or the department administrative coordinator. Professors may be slow to respond, and before you know it, all of the coveted studios will be full.
  • Jump on this earlier than later because professors may let people in based on the order in which they e-mailed.
  • GO TO THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS.
  • WebAdvisor has about the same user-friendliness as Banner, but it’s not hard to learn. Each class has a Status column that communicates the probability of you weaseling your way in.
  • If the class is open, go for it. If you’re waitlisted, you may get in if you show up on the first day of class, but no guarantees, so keep looking around. If it’s closed, move on.
  • It is not an automatic deal breaker when a class specifies that it’s designated for ____ Majors only. Brown students have taken Majors Only studios before.
  • Be prepared to drop some bank on supplies, tools, and a fee as a non-major. WebAdvisor (RISD’s version of Banner) includes the price of materials in the class descriptions.
  • TAKE VISA0100. You can’t take a RISD course without it. If you don’t get a spot via the VISA lottery, don’t be discouraged. Show up to all the sections that work with your schedule and don’t stop attending until the professor physically pushes you out of the room.
  • You might be intimidated by the thought of seeming like a complete amateur in class, but we’ve heard more stories of a Brown student feeling welcomed by a class at RISD than alienated.
  • Industrial design, furniture, and textiles classes typically have high barriers to entry due to their popularity, especially during Wintersession.
  • You can never go wrong with a ceramics studio.

And last, but certainly not the least:

What can I take at RISD?

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The 17th Annual Animation Show of Shows

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The Animation Show of Shows returned to the RISD Auditorium Sunday night for a night of independent award-winning animated shorts. Now in its 17th year, the show is curated by producer Ron Diamond each year and screened at colleges and studios each year to showcase the work of independent animators from around the world. For the first time this year, it will also be screened in theaters across the U.S., thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.

The theatrical program features “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” (16th) and “Ascension” (15th), films screened in past Shows of Shows. The non-theatrical program features three films instead, “Edmond,” “Yul and the Snake,” and “Sanjay’s Super Team” (though “Sanjay’s Super Team” wasn’t screened at RISD). The screening also included artist bios of the creators behind “Snowfall,” “Stripy,” and “Love in the Time of March Madness.”

Hosted by the RISD FAV (Film/Animation/Video) Department, members of the RISD, Brown, and the Providence community gathered in the RISD Auditorium for a screening of this year’s show. Keep reading for recaps of what we saw — and click the titles for trailers!

The Story of Percival Pilts
Created by Janette Goodley & John Lewis (Australia)

Created in a beautiful pastel miniature stop-motion world, this story follows Percival Pilts, the narrator’s brother, who starts walking as a kid on short tin-can and wooden stilts. Percival’s stilts grow and grow as he gets older until he’s too tall for their family’s house. He takes off to a new town, facing ridicule from the townspeople until they realize the stilt life is the way to go.

Tant de Forets
Created by Geoffrey Godet & Burcu Sankur (France)

This short showed a forest being torn down for paper manufacturing, industry, and urbanization. With sort of a PSA feel, it did not have much of a definitive ending besides just ‘sad,’ though the papercut illustration style and shifts between 2D and 3D perspectives were interesting.

Snowfall
Directed by Conor Whelan (Ireland)

The first part of this short is a pretty generic party scene accompanied by electronic music with a thumping bass, all animated illustration of course. But there are quirks — the people move by morphing in and out of formless shapes across the room. Clips moved quickly through interactions amongst various characters, like from two men talking to a man and woman suspended in air. The subsequent segment profiling the director revealed that he wanted to explore the emotions involved in the rejection of a queer individual by a straight individual in a social setting.

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