Melissa Staiger: In The Fountain

Melissa Staiger, In The Fountain 4

The School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) Gallery is excited to present, In The Fountainfeaturing the work of exceptional artist, Melissa Staiger. This exhibition will be on display beginning on May 28th and will continue until the end of June. We are honored to work with Melissa to showcase her magnificent work. She is our artist spotlight for the month of June.  Keep reading to learn more about this artist, her techniques and inspirations.

Melissa Staiger’s Artist Statement:

I work with various materials that vary greatly in scale and construction. Consistently you will see bold color, texture, gesture that holds sensitivity and harmony among its parts. Collage and assemblage are key mediums that guide my playful process of seeing the possibilities before making a choice of composition.

Moving paint around is a sensual experience for me. The marks that I make in the form organic shapes and curves are painted to express a constant state of flow. Color is a potent expression and medicine.

Melissa Staiger, Surface Reflection

In 2013, I was nominated to attend the Robert Rauschenberg Artist Residency. The staff graciously took us to the massive metal scrap yard where Rauschenberg would find materials for his works. I started playing with scraps that I hadn’t thought of using before. A green metal piece became a major key player in my understanding on how found objects can give the surface of a painting so much 3D texture. This put me on a path of creating many assemblages with various materials.

All of these experiences I took back to the studio and my work. Combining physical objects with paint adds another dimension to my art. From the most expensive tubes of paint to a broken tile found on the floor, both hold an energy and vibration of color. I carefully arrange objects, shapes, lines, and colors. I pay attention to the relationships, patterns, and shifts of movement. I arrange them in my works and play around with it.

Melissa Staiger, In The Fountain 3

I need time to immerse, experiment, listen, and draw in my sketchbook to push my work further. In this creative process, I control what I produce and can deem myself authentic as the creator. In my creative process, circles, mark making, collage, painting, assemblage, and texturizing are taking me to a path of color, structure, and layering. I love the hard edge, and making marks and using color as the structure in my work opens up a glimpse of understanding that I crave within my inner self. When I am able to use my entire body and make sweeping marks on the floor, I am reaching for a composition to form. Then suddenly, the work feels right and then I have a moment of accomplishment right before I release it into the world.

For more info about Melissa  Staiger and her exceptional work visit her website. This upcoming summer Melissa will be teaching a few courses at  Pratt Institute including Materials And Techniques, a Five – Week Summer Intensive, beginning on June 3rd, that will explore  a variety of different media used in art creation.

SCPS Faculty Spotlight: Ray Mendez

Ray Mendez

“My singular goal is to facilitate businesses’ success by nurturing their brands’ souls.” – Ray Mendez

For the month of May we are spotlighting esteemed Pratt faculty member,  Ray Mendez, who teaches at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. This June,  Ray will be teaching, Organizational Creativity for Business Innovation, a two-week Summer Intensive course on Pratt’s Brooklyn Campus where he brings his singular goal (quoted above) to life for his students. During this course, Ray will teach his time-tested approach to students, unlocking their abilities to help their businesses achieve in days what would typically take years.

Ray is currently a partner at Masa&Boz, a brand and process design consultancy that helps organizations develop evergreen feedback loops between themselves and their customers. At Masa&Boz, Ray works with marketing leaders to create and implement communication and digital frameworks. Ray honed his creative skills as a creative director in Amsterdam, Mumbai, Berlin and New York at large and small agencies. This is how he learned to foster a culture of change and help businesses reset themselves for the future. He has worked with brands like Apple, Russell Investments, the Empire State Building and non-profits like Greenpeace, the National Women’s Law Center and NY Cares.

Ray also works with business leaders to articulate their visions, link sales to purpose, develop innovative products, package business ideas for the investment community, integrate complex digital ecosystems, name new categories, and design brand experiences. His work pushes his clients’ creative boundaries, propelling them to new levels of success, and earning him numerous awards including a Gold Lion at Cannes.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ray’s upcoming summer intensive course,  Organizational Creativity for Business Innovation,  visit our main website.

Student and Alumni Feature: Angie Barillas

Angie Barillas

This month’s Student and Alumni feature focuses on Angie Barillas, the founder of Ebb and Flow Furniture. Angie is a former student and alumni of Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. While attending Pratt, she studied Computer Graphics and Drawing for Industrial Design. Angie was able to ingeniously apply her professional and educational experiences as well as her creativity to successfully develop and launch her sustainable furniture company, Ebb and Flow Furniture. Tune in to learn all about Angie’s experiences as a Pratt student, her incredible furniture company and all of the important lessons she’s learned on her journey through the art and design world.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Angie Barillas: It started from living in New York City and seeing how much furniture ended up thrown out onto the curbside every time people moved because of poor materials. I am originally from Guatemala, where furniture is hand-crafted and passed on from generation to generation, so I want to make furniture that will create the same kind of tradition for the American customer.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in furniture design? And specifically sustainable design?

Angie Barillas: I have always had a passion for furniture, my Bachelor’s degree is Industrial Design and always feel drawn to functional objects in a slightly bigger scale such as furniture. I want to create great sustainable pieces that are designed to be timeless. Pieces that you can bring along with you at any stage of your life, so it doesn’t end up in a landfill after a few months or a year after purchasing it. I try to use our local materials that are available to the fullest, and also work to create new processes that will allow us to use materials in new ways and implement new techniques.  We accomplish that by letting the material be the star of the designs.

Ebb and Flow Furniture (Courtesy of Angie Barillas)

Pratt SCPS: What would you consider the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in pursuing this aspiration?

Angie Barillas: The cost of using fully certified sustainable materials tends to be higher so it is often hard to compete against more established brands that use more disposable materials. On the other hand, the market is also changing and consumers now want to know more about where their furniture is coming from and who is making it. Consumers also want to know more about ethically sourced labor which opens a niche for Ebb and Flow and our pieces.

Pratt SCPS: What part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most? If you’re still a student what courses have been the most influential?

Angie Barillas: My experience at Pratt helped me optimize my ideation and development process, using computer CAD software. This made the production of my pieces more efficient. The hand sketching classes I took also helped with my creativity and to communicate my designs in a more professional and visual way to my team or potential customers. The Design entrepreneurship conferences and classes also helped me incorporate business methodologies that will eventually make my studio profitable.

Ebb and Flow Furniture (Courtesy of Angie Barillas)

Pratt SCPS: What advice do you have for creative professionals and students who desire to launch their own art and design brands in the future?

Angie Barillas: Do a lot of research!  Research your market, your target clients, try to find information on other people that are trying to do the same as you.  And most importantly, stay patient, have perseverance because it takes time to build a brand or studio name from the ground up, but if you prepare yourself and put in the work , your chances are bigger!

To learn more about Angie and her company, Ebb and Flow Furniture check out their website. Make sure to follow both Pratt SCPS and Ebb and Flow Furniture on social media.

Sarah Tan (Voices of Pratt)

Sarah Tan


Sarah has held the reigns of editor for more than one popular magazine, including Editor of Female magazine in Singapore. Later, she launched her own apparel line, Cosset, one of the first fashion labels in Singapore to feature bamboo fabric, embracing sustainability ahead of the curve. In 2017, she completed Pratt’s Fashion New Media Certificate.

“This is a great course for anyone who has been working, but maybe is a little bit out of touch with how much has changed digitally and wants to upgrade their skills to become more relevant. It provides a lot of advantages to someone with a lot of work experience who might have difficulty translating it to the current market. For instance, learning social media marketing and content strategies on your own is not the same as entering a course that provides the framework and expert perspective of faculty who are in the field and can teach you how to execute branding and digital marketing campaigns.”

To learn more about Sarah visit her website.

Carolyn Shafer (Voices of Pratt)

Carolyn Shafer

Carolyn is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Design Strategies (CSDS) at Pratt Institute. Since 2009, she has worked to develop the program. Carolyn has acted as project manager for a number of CSDS Industry and Research projects, coordinates the annual Sustainability Crash Course as part of Pratt’s Green Week event series, and runs the CSDS internship Program. Carolyn also teaches in the Sustainable Environmental Systems Graduate Program, the Industrial Design Department, and the Sustainable Design Certificate Program at Pratt Institute.

“Pratt’s new Sustainable Design Certificate program is unique. It fills the gap for all those professional adults who aren’t considering enrolling in a degree program but who are dedicated to innovative design and sustainability; and who seek to strengthen their skill set, complete a portfolio and obtain a certificate in this important and growing field.”

At the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA) Carolyn has created a resource center, called the s.Lab, for the BF+DA to integrate Life Cycle Thinking into the design process. Her role at the BF+DA is to mentor Venture Fellows around their sustainability mission using her knowledge of Life Cycle Assessment Tools, Sustainable Design Strategies, and Environmental Impacts of various materials. Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (Smith College) and a Master’s degree in Industrial Design (Pratt Institute).

Tetsu Ohara (Voices of Pratt)

Tetsu Ohara

Tetsu Ohara is an Adjunct Associate Professor and Departmental Sustainability Coordinator in the School of Design at Pratt Institute. His commitment to integrating “smart design” (sustainable solutions as part of the design proposal) has resulted in exceptional graduate students’ works since 2007. Tetsu teaches qualifying level core design studio and interior options lab (Sustainability + Biomimicry).

He also leads the Pratt Sustainability Coalition in order to organize the annual GreenWeek (campus-wide event showcasing green proposal/ ideas/ seminars/ lectures). Through this work, Tetsu has recently received the Positive Impact Award under the Leadership in Sustainable Design Education category from the Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA). This led Tetsu to the academic consultant and teaching opportunity for Pratt SCPS’s new Sustainable Design Certificate Program. With an architectural degree from the College of Environmental Design at U.C. Berkeley, Tetsu uses his knowledge and experience to engage in lectures about Sustainability in NYC. He is also a partner at SpatialDesignStudio, Inc., practicing interior architecture in Asia, Europe and the U.S. The office integrates green design in each project whenever possible.

Carlos Ibarra (Voices of Pratt)

Carlos Ibarra

Carlos Ibarra is an actor, writer, director and producer. As an actor, he has appeared in various features, commercials, short films, regional and off broadway productions including Netflix’s upcoming show “The Good Cop,” Sony’s “Rough Night” and TBS’s “Adam Ruins Everything.”

In 2012, he founded 4 & 1 Siblings Productions and produced the award winning short, “Botes al Amanecer.” His feature script, “Corredor,” was a 2nd Round Qualifier at 2014’s Sundance Institute Writer’s Lab and a NALIP Media Market Finalist. In 2016, the script was nominated for a Best Script and Best Original Idea award at the Oaxaca Film Festival.

In 2015, Carlos became the 1st Latino to run across America, raising funds for inner city youth. His journey can be seen in the docu-series, “Run Carlos Run.” The series was a 2016 NALIP Media Market selection and is currently in development with PBS and ITVS. Carlos has presented the project at over 25 universities, including a special presentation for Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Currently, Carlos works as a Development Executive at 141 Entertainment. Projects include: “Ingrid Goes West,” “Marjorie Prime,” and “Revolving Doors.”

Carlos holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Carlos teaches Pratt SCPS’s Two-Week Summer Intensive course: “Accessing Your Authentic Voice: Improvisation and Public Speaking” for adult learners—a unique immersion learning experience that combines creative play and business communication toward mastering public speaking skills.

Austin Robey (Voices of Pratt)

Austin Robey

My name is Austin Robey. I graduated from the Bachelor of Architecture program in 2011, and started Make Mode, a creative 3D printing studio, in 2013. In the first year of the company’s existence, I took classes in the Certificate of Design Entrepreneurship program that had a real impact on the direction and thought process driving the company. Coming from studying design, starting a business was a daunting learning curve; but after finding out about the CDE classes, I jumped at the opportunity. Two classes in particular had lasting lessons that stood out.

After absorbing the lessons from John Bruce’s class, “Engaging Your Market – Branding and Social Media,” our thought process behind the company became far more focused. We developed a much more clear vision for our brand and our value proposition, and ended up changing our name and re-branding ourselves. I still think about questions that arose from this class regularly.

I also took “Starting a Design Business” taught by Rebecca Pailes Friedman. Working through the brass and tacks of a business model canvas forced us to be more disciplined about finding out our customer segments and revenue streams. Since taking both these CDE classes, our company, Make Mode, has had two consecutive years of 100% revenue growth, and has introduced new products, services, and classes.

As of November 26, 2018, I’ve since launched Ampled, a web based platform that allows music artists to be directly supported by their listeners.

Visit Austin’s company website.

Summer at Pratt SCPS: The Breakdown On What to Expect

With the beginning of summer just a few short months away, we at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies would like to invite current and prospective students to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered through our summer programming. Whether you’re a local to the New York or New Jersey area or visiting from another part of the country or  globe, we encourage you to make use of the many resources available to  you at Pratt Institute. Studying at Pratt enables students with the unique opportunity to work side by side with some of the most creative and inspiring individuals from around the globe, whose diverse cultural, professional and educational backgrounds and experiences have led them to pursuing an art and design education at Pratt. Having New York City as your backyard is an exceptional perk because it places students in an advantageous position to utilize the best that this vibrant city has to offer.

Now that the spring semester is winding down, it seems fitting to start looking ahead and planning for the upcoming summer season. Every year at Pratt SCPS, we offer an extensive schedule of summer programming for students and adult learners interested in taking advantage of the warm summer months in NYC. This upcoming summer, we’ve slightly revamped our Summer Intensives programming, to offer students an even wider selection of courses and workshops that can accommodate the schedules of all types of working professional and students.

The first selection of courses offered through our Summer Intensives program this year is our credit intensives. There are two summer sessions being offered that run four weeks each. The first session runs through the month of June, (beginning on June 3rd) and the second takes place in July (beginning on July 1st). Students interested in enrolling in our credit summer intensives can choose from the following subject areas: architecture, creative writing, digital photography, fashion design, fine art, graphic design, drawing, interior design, illustration, sustainable design, industrial design, and three-dimensional design. For more detailed information on the courses being offered and the schedule of each summer session: Summer Intensives.

For Students interested in noncredit intensives SCPS is offering certificate programs that range from one week to ten week intensives spread throughout the summer. Our noncredit intensives feature programming in the following subject areas: branding and digital marketing, exhibition design, floral art and design, furniture design, graphic design, motion graphics, perfumery, photography and video, visual merchandising design, public speaking, accessories design, painting, mixed media arts, product design, architecture, lighting design, digital drawing, jewelry design, interior design and much more. Noncredit intensives are ideal for creative professionals and students interested in sharpening their skill sets and expanding their knowledge on a particular subject. For more information: Noncredit Summer Intensives.

In conjunction with the array of course options available to students through our Summer Intensives program, is our PreCollege Summer Program geared specifically to high school students interested in getting a head start on an educational and professional career path in the art and design field. Every summer we welcome hundreds of high school students to our Brooklyn campus for a month long academic immersion into art, design and architecture. Students who attend the Pratt PreCollege Program get to select a concentration of study modeled after Pratt’s undergraduate course study and will automatically be enrolled in art history, foundation and portfolio development classes. At the end of the program students will receive elective college credits and have the opportunity to showcase all of their hard work in a Final Student Exhibition. The Pratt PreCollege Summer Program is a great opportunity for high school to explore their creative passions, prepare for college, and create an exemplary art portfolio.

Whether you’re a student enrolled in one of our Summer Intensives or the PreCollege Program, you’ll discover that you  may occasionally have downtime. We encourage you to supplement your course load this summer by taking advantage of being in New York City. This city is arguably one of the greatest in the world with an unparalleled  art and design scene. From the diversity of people, cultures, sights, foods, and landmarks to the intersection of culture, art, media, design, business, architecture and technology, New York City offers an assortment of the most profound and unique art and cultural experiences on the planet.

Studying in New York during the summer presents the exhilarating challenge of trying to see and experience as much as possible during the only time throughout the year when the weather is optimum for exploring. In fact, every neighborhood in this city comes alive during the summer, offering something unique and intriguing for all kinds of creative types. If you’re primarily studying at the Pratt Manhattan Campus, why not explore the endless array of art galleries in Chelsea and SoHo or the captivating modern architecture near the High Line and Hudson Yards. If you’d like to be more adventurous head uptown towards the Museum of Natural History on the west side or the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the east side.

As a Pratt student you get free or reduced entrance into a variety of museums throughout the city including the Guggenheim, MOMA, The Whitney and the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) to a name a few. If you’re studying at Pratt’s Brooklyn campus, be assured there are just as many wonderful landmarks, galleries, and museums to visit. Including the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum. To learn more about the wide array of resources and activities available to students at Pratt Institute: Student Life. 

There is something truly unique about taking classes during the summer at Pratt Institute. It maybe the long warm days, the beauty of the New York City during the summer, or the plethora of activities and resources available to students at both the Brooklyn and Manhattan campuses. Maybe it’s the energy of Clinton Hill and the adjacent neighborhoods surrounding the Brooklyn campus or the vibrancy of Union Square just steps away from the Manhattan campus.  It could be a combination of all of these things that make studying at Pratt during the summer such a distinctive educational experience.  If you are a current college student, a high school student or a working professional who is on the fence about whether to enroll or register in  one of our summer programs we urge you to seize this  opportunity to study in New York City this summer at Pratt. The rewards from such an experience could prove to be immeasurable.

Alexis Karl (Voices of Pratt)

Alexis Karl

I received my MFA in figurative painting at The New York Academy of Art, Graduate School of Figurative Art, and BFA in painting at Cornell University.

My paintings, multimedia, fragrance, and performance works have been exhibited in New York City, Italy, and the United Kingdom, most notably at The Whitney Biennial, Corcoran Museum of Art, The Morbid Anatomy Museum, and Stephen Romano Gallery. A selection of work has been featured in The New York Post, London Times, Art News, ARCO Japan, Gothic Beauty Magazine, and various blogs, radio, and television spots. I am a perfumer and owner of Scent By Alexis and co-owner of House Of Cherry Bomb.

As an art teacher, my main interest is in classical techniques, narrative painting, art and fashion at Pratt Institute, figurative painting, fragrance and art at The School of Visual Art, and as a regular lecturer on art, fashion, and fragrance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morbid Anatomy Museum.

I had a rather unique childhood spent in a cemetery (my father’s business), where I could wander through the grounds creating intricate stories and drawings of ghosts and imaginary beings within. This has served to inspire my dark, haunting multimedia works as an adult.

In April 2017 at the Pratt SCPS Gallery, I was one of three featured faculty artist in the exhibition, Eye of the Beholder. In May 2017, I proudly launched The Cult of Fashion course, concluding with a fashion show curated by the students, modeling their wearable art on the runway. This October 2017, my work will be on view again in the Pratt SCPS Gallery in a new exhibition.

You’re invited to join me on this mystical, magical journey!

Click here to learn more about Alexis Karl.