Adventures at RISD: Open Studios (Part One)


To some, Senior Open Studios is a way to decide on a major. To others – namely, me – it’s a fun way to see some cool art and get closer to our artsy neighbors. Plus, there were stickers to collect at each station.


The first night, Thursday, November 5th, showcased seven different majors: printmaking, textiles, painting, apparel, industrial design, interior architecture, and architecture. I unfortunately did not make it to apparel, textiles, or interior design, all of which my partner-in-crime and I deemed “too far.”

The showcases that I did make it to all shared one theme: my longing to suddenly develop an exceptional talent that would impress RISD enough to admit me. Goodbye Brown, it’s not you, it’s me.

Printmaking at Benson Hall

The first of my showcases was printmaking, which had a heaven and hell theme. In hell (also known as the second floor), I met Sarah RISD ’16, self described as an obsessive and intense worker, who used to be a ceramics student who switched over to printmaking because of the “meticulous nature of the craft.” I also met Oliver Dewey RISD ’16, whose work is based mostly on escapism, using fantasy to retreat. Check out his work at his website. Then, I made my way upstairs to heaven, where I was instantly greeted with a gold pipe cleaner halo to wear as I wandered the studio. I met Caroline Robinson RISD ’16 whose stunning work is inspired by female anatomy and depersonalization. Her work can be found here.

Sticker score: Strong. Unlike other studios, they had a variety of stickers to choose from, all revolving around the theme including Victoria’s Secret angels and devil’s food cake.

Painting at College Building

It didn’t seem as if painting had a theme, unless the theme was unbelievably amazing, mind blowing art. Sonja John RISD ’16 uses her vibrant art to create herself.  She tries to answer where she is from and what her own ideal is, by looking at her black Caribbean and Asian identity. She doesn’t have a website, but you can find her on Instagram as Sonja__jay. She “tagged” Cheyenne Julien RISD ’16 another painting major. Her initial major, illustration, didn’t work out for the rigidity so she opted for painting her own personal narrative. Her beautiful paintings are of significant moments of her childhood. If you want to see yourself, check out her behance or on Instagram (Cheyennejulien).

Sticker Score: Okay. I’m not sure exactly what it is supposed to be, but I was impressed because it seemed as if someone added something by hand to each sticker.

Industrial Design


This. everyone this. The best theme of the night was industrial design with a pool party theme. Orange pool noodles in the stairwells, waves projected on the walls, a kiddie pool photo booth and Capri sun transported me back to the pool parties of my youth (and let’s be real, until I came to the frigid East Coast). The industrial design studios also featured classrooms with words on boards that I’ve never seen before. There were bikes on and things (for a lack of a better descriptor) with wheels bolted on the walls. I left in awe and confusion because I’m still not sure what industrial design is.

Sticker score: minimalistic. I think? It was just a black and white picture of Steve jobs with the letters ID on top.

Architecture in BEB

“Get your Corb glasses and see in a new dimension!” were the first words I was greeted with at the architecture open studio. You know it’s going to be a great night when you’re handed paper Le Corbusier glasses and the security guard outside is also wearing them. With paper opticals perched precariously on my face, I made my way to the student studios on the higher floors. Blue desks absolutely covered in papers and models filled a warehouse-esque room as far as the eye could see. While looking at a model on a desk, a student stopped by to explain it to me. In class, they had watched a paper fall to the ground and were asked to build something inspired by the action. Each week they were given a new component to add to the model such as elevation. She ended our conversation by telling me that architecture at RISD would blow your mind. I had to agree.

Sticker score: Architectural. The sticker was exactly what you would expect.

Keep on the look out for part two which includes: kiln pizza, classroom forests, and glassblowing birthday parties.

Images via Claire Pang ’19 and via.

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