PreCollege Student Abigail Kahn Reflects on her Pratt Journey and Discusses Her Passion for Writing

Courtesy of Abigail Kahn

Meet Abigail Kahn, a senior in high school from Virginia. She loves to write, read, research women’s history and spend time with her dog. During the summer of 2019, Abigail had the exciting opportunity to explore her love of creative writing more intensively as one of almost 400 students in the PreCollege Program at Pratt Institute. Keep reading to learn more about Abigail’s experience living as a college student at Pratt, as well as her interests, her future career plans, and read one of her most recent literary pieces titled, Saint Apollonia.

Pratt SCPS: As a student in last summer’s Pratt PreCollege Program how would you describe the experience of living and studying like an art and design college student?

Abigail: It was completely independent and exciting. It felt refreshing in the sense of having the chance to work in an area of study that you love so much. It didn’t feel as daunting as I thought it would because of how quickly everyone in my group got along. It was fun to see all the other art students and witness the process of their projects. It was especially prominent in this program because I’ve been used to having a little art program at my school back home and all of a sudden there was this diverse range of classes everyone was part of. There’s so many chances to incorporate your own interests and areas of research into your projects. It motivates you to be around so many talented people who are engaged in an area of interest that they chose. No one is stressing about algebra or physics, everyone was just constantly inspired. There was also the addition of being around people who came from far away or were commuter students and knew the city perfectly which was always cool to be around.

The experience of being in a city was incredible, too. There was one day where one of our professors took us into the city to visit book stores and it was one of my favorite days in the program. Having the chance to get familiar with Brooklyn was definitely a key factor I was anticipating as someone who has grown up in a single neighborhood. Finally having the chance to discover a new area was definitely a memorable part of the program.

Pratt SCPS: What valuable lessons were you able to gain from your time at Pratt and what part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most?

Abigail: The classes I had were unlike anything I had ever taken. It was a dream to be able to purely study writing. I think within those classes there were so many lessons between my professors that I still reference in my writing. I’ve found myself going back to a lot of the messy notes I took in class for this school year. My understanding of texts and how to deepen my analytical thinking has been something I’ve kept closest to myself outside of the program. For writing, it’s heavily implemented into you to trust your writing. Whenever you begin to second guess or think of stepping back—that’s when you should submerge yourself into the writing even more.

At this time in my school year, I find myself looking back on my classes the most. I went through more growth as a writer than I thought I would within a month and that’s something I’ve held onto for myself for motivation. The professors challenge you each day to step outside of your comfort zone because they know that’s the way you’ll enhance your work and develop a more sophisticated voice. They do this with the texts they introduce in class, too. I’ve had a lot of days since leaving the program where I miss all the plays or short stories I was assigned because of how they were unlike anything I’ve ever been given in English classes before. The work they introduce to you in the program never felt like a reused curriculum from other teachers. It held personal connections from the professors themselves, which always made the class discussions more stimulating.

Pratt SCPS: As a blossoming creative writer where do you draw your inspiration from?  What motivates you to create and write?

Abigail: I draw the most inspiration from women. The majority of my writing is influenced by the relationships with women in my life or the historical female figures I find the most solace in. “Maddening women” is a pretty common theme in my writing—in terms of women who I think were justified for their “anger” or memories I have of my sisters. I’m always interested in dissecting why certain women in history were seen as vile or controversial at the time and why they were given that reputation. I like the idea of reclaiming what used to be seen as something to be fearful of in women, such as female hysteria and witchcraft, and then juxtaposing it with modern girls and how those terms are something to take pride in. I think I’ve spent so many years being trained to take in media that devalues women or condescends them that I’m now able to unravel those moments and understand how it affected me and how I can adjust those perspectives to fit my choice of representation for women. All forms of writing, even the angry little rants on my notes app have all helped me find relief in history or the present that can feel distressing. I’ve been really fortunate to grow up around observant, opinionated women who value their first impressions on certain events or people—and I owe all my writing to them.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you see yourself in a couple years? Do you envision yourself studying creative writing and pursuing it as a professional career or do you envision yourself exploring other areas that interest you?

Abigail: I hope I’m at a point where I’m studying subjects that truly interest me and I’m able to challenge myself in those areas of interest. I definitely want to continue studying creative writing for as long as I can and with that, make a career out of it. The idea of getting a book deal feels very unreal as of now, but it is something I’m striving for the most. If any point I’d be offered a chance to write about women, I’d be immensely thankful.

I’d also like to study art history and go into curator or archivist work in museums. Writing will always be my first choice for anything, but I’m still waiting to graduate school and I’m definitely open for whatever comes next.

Saint Apollonia written by Abigail Kahn 

To learn more about the PreCollege Program at Pratt Institute visit our website. Make sure to follow Pratt PreCollege on social media: Facebook and Instagram. 

 

PreCollege Student Sophia Anderson Discusses her Love of Writing and Journey through Pratt

Courtesy of Sophia Anderson

Meet Sophia Anderson, a seventeen-year-old cat enthusiast from St. Paul, Minnesota. She loves day-dreaming about conquering the world and has a fascination with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. At any given moment, she can most likely be found drinking sparkling water with her nose buried in a book or laughing with friends. Her life-long dream is to write novels in New York City and empower young women everywhere. This past summer, Sophia joined hundreds of fellow high school students in the Pratt Institute PreCollege Program. Tune in below to learn about Sophia’s summer at Pratt, her inspirations and passion for writing, and read one of her most recent works.

Pratt SCPS: As a student in this summer’s Pratt Institute PreCollege Program how would you describe the experience of living and studying like an art and design college student?

Sophia: Living and studying at Pratt was one of my best summers yet. I was constantly surrounded by amazingly talented people. You walk through campus and there’s this wonderful, artistic vibe that inspires you. I never felt like I was in competition with anyone else, but studying here pushed me to be a better writer. Part of it is that you can tell everyone takes their work seriously, so it creates a productive environment. The other part was my own passion for writing. Outside of class, the people are really welcoming and fun, always open to talk or start an art project together. I had a lot of friends who weren’t even in my concentration, but we would still hang out on the weekends or after class. Free time was perfect for that because you can leave campus and head into Manhattan or stay in Brooklyn and explore. It helped me understand the subway system, which is saying a lot because I’m terrible at directions.

Pratt SCPS: What valuable lessons were you able to gain from your time at Pratt and what part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most?

Sophia: Being at Pratt helped me learn that there are many ways to be a great artist, and that everyone has a different approach. Coming here by yourself and being surrounded by all new people kind of forces you out of your shell in the best way. Personally, I’m not super extraverted or introverted, but I never felt alone. I had friends from different states and countries and they taught me a lot. My roommate, who is from California, was in graphic design and we had so many adventures. We still talk every day. On top of meeting new people, just seeing my peers’ work showed me that we can all learn from each other. I would read someone’s piece and be like, “Oh my gosh, her imagery is amazing. I need to get better at that.” And that night when I did homework, I would focus on imagery. I think it’s important to know before you come here that you’re not going to be the best, but that’s a good thing. You’re here to learn and get better and you will do that if you’re open to it.

Pratt SCPS: As a blossoming creative writer where do you draw your inspiration from?  What motivates you to create and write?

Sophia: There are so many things that inspire me, but I think the interactions I have with other people is the first thing that comes to mind. Every relationship I have has impacted me somehow. I’ve had good friends and bad friends, I’ve been let down and, unfortunately, let other people down. I’ve just grown up in general. Those are pretty universal. If I can take those experiences and turn them into something that helps someone else or turn it into personal growth, that’s important to me. Especially if it helps other young women. We’re constantly pitted against each other, told that we have to be better than each other and then belittled if we don’t prove ourselves “worthy.” There are paradoxical standards shoved in our faces, and it damages us from a young age. But if I can make another girl feel more supported through my writing one day that would make me beyond happy.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you see yourself in a couple years from now? Do you envision yourself studying creative writing and pursuing it as a professional career or do you envision yourself exploring other areas that interest you?

Sophia: Writing has always been a huge part of my life. I feel most comfortable writing. But I also have about eighty other passions and I don’t want to limit myself to one. I can envision myself being a New York Times Bestselling Author or being editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. I could end up running a sustainable fashion business or leading a political group focused on women’s reproductive rights. I have big dreams but regardless of what I choose, I want to improve the lives of other people. I want to be challenged. There are a lot of problems with this world and I’m not going to spend my life standing still.

Lover written by Sophia Anderson

“I laid my heart out on the streets of Fifth Avenue.
Right in the middle of a crosswalk.
Red pumping heart, healthy and strong.
I laid it out hoping you would walk over it sometime.
See, I knew other people would spend the day scuffing at it:
Businessmen with trophy wives at home,
College students with art supplies weighing down their steps,
Tourist families holding maps in sweating hands,
Models and performers moving with music in their limbs.
I’m fine with that; they can stomp on my heart if they want,
It’ll still beat until you come upon it.
I don’t know where you are, but I know I’ll meet you.
Dark hair and long legs, I think. Definitely a business major.
I laid my heart out in a crosswalk in Brooklyn.
7th Avenue, by Prospect Park.
I hope the families walk over it on their way to have a picnic.
I hope they don’t speak English and I hope they hold hands.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. I know you’re there.
You’ll talk about it lightly but treat it well,
crack a joke but feel a lot on the inside.
I know you already.
You’ve got stars in your brown eyes and a smile always.
I know you like writing too and I know you can draw a bit.
You probably want to create a cartoon like Rick and Morty.
I like that show.
We’ll get on well, argue sometimes because we both like being right but we’ll be okay because we love each other more than that.
You’ll have blonde hair and freckles, which is a little rustic,
but you’ll be a city kid at heart.
I laid my heart out on a crosswalk in SoHo.
I hope fashion designers walk on this one.
Stiletto heels with red bottoms and Burberry purses.
I hope the wealthy bloggers glide over it with their ballet flats.
My heart will like it there; I made sure to place it by a gluten free bakery so it’ll always smell like cinnamon and overpriced coffee.
You’ll trip over it, then pick it up because it intrigues you.
You’ll be a high school dropout who spends his time filling his sketchbook with street style.
You’ll create a whole line after me, your muse, whose favorite color is red because it’s bold like I want to be.
I left my heart in three separate crosswalks in New York City.
All of them will be picked up, one of them will stick.
There’s an apartment on 7th Avenue with my name on it.”

To learn more about the PreCollege Program at Pratt Institute visit the SCPS website.

Make sure to follow Pratt PreCollege on social media:  Facebook and Instagram.

Pratt SCPS Alum, Natalia López, Shares Her Experiences Navigating the World of Visual Design

Courtesy of Natalia López

Natalia López is a designer from Colombia currently based in Brooklyn, New York, who is a recent alumna of the Computer Graphics certificate program at Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She is a talented visual designer who specializes in branding and UI design. In her own words, “I create beautiful, seamless & logical user interfaces that move invisibly.” For the past seven years Natalia has been developing her passion for visual design and expanding her versatile skill sets as a graphic designer to work in various aspects of the design industry.

This extensive journey has allowed her to deepen her understanding of human interactions and communication and apply this exceptional awareness to design. She notes that her superpower is possessing the “ability to iterate quickly, paired with an impeccable eye for detail and a unique design perspective.” Keep reading to learn more about Natalia’s journey through the design world and what she reflects on the most about her time at Pratt.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in design and what specifically peaked your interest in Computer Graphics?

Courtesy of Natalia López

Natalia López: My life has always revolved around art and design. As a kid, my parent’s apartment was like a museum, full of beautiful art deco pieces that my mom used to collect. My career in design started when I went to school for fashion design. Later, my sister and I opened a boutique in Bogota, where we designed and renewed clothing. It was fascinating, and my love for design became my passion. I decided to study graphic design and became a brand designer. This opened another incredible world that led me to digital product design.

Pratt SCPS: As a design professional where do you draw your inspiration from?

Natalia López: Tough question…Everything! I’m a detailed oriented person, and luckily, I can see the beauty in everything. I have a particular appreciation for vintage designs.

Pratt SCPS: What would you consider to be your greatest professional achievement so far and the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in pursuing your career aspirations?

Courtesy of Natalia López

Natalia López: Definitely my current job. I’m a visual designer working for Warner Media’s new streaming platform: HBOMax. I absolutely love it!! But it wasn’t easy to get here. It has been a long journey with many sacrifices. Being away from family and friends and living in a crazy place like NYC is not easy.

Pratt SCPS: As a recent alumni of Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies what part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most?

Natalia López: The quality of education stood out. Pratt has done a great job choosing such brilliant educators.

Pratt SCPS: What advice do you have for professionals who desire to launch their own art and design careers or companies in the future?

Natalia López: Jump! Go for it, do what makes you happy. Don’t let life happen to you – make life happen for you.

Courtesy of Natalia López

To learn more about the Computer Graphics (Digital Design) Certificate Program visit the Pratt SCPS website.

To stay up to date on student and alumni features from DESIGNTERRA make sure to subscribe.

Thais Aquino’s Artistry, Inspirations & Journey through Pratt Institute

Courtesy of Thais Aquino

Thais Aquino is a Brazilian Photographer and Content Creator who had the opportunity to study in the Fashion New Media certificate program at Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing Studies. She is based in between New York and California and has spent her professional career working with some of the biggest brands from around the world, across a plethora of industries which include: lifestyle, commercial, beauty, hotel, food and beverage.

She co-founded The Lobby Life, which is a content producing partnership that works directly with hotels to create innovative and heart centered brand story lines and content. As a content creator and artist, Thais’ passion is rooted in the exploration of nature, culture and the development of consciousness. Keep reading to learn all about Thais Aquino’s journey through Pratt, her inspirations, and the vital lessons she has learned as a photographer and content creator.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Thais Aquino: Harmony. In life, I’ve figured it all originates and goes back to the law of harmonics. Seeing so much disconnection, disparity and unbalance circling humanity got me arrested, I had no other way of pursuing life but finding balance and harmony within my art expression. That was only possible through deep observation of the world.

Courtesy of Thais Aquino

The moments that I feel truly inspired to create are moments of spiritual awakening, where I realized that what we really have to offer in this world is our presence and our own being, if we show up in everything in life from a loving truthful point, we will be inviting harmony in, and when harmony is doing its thing you are in the flow of all things. Universal dance. My inspiration comes from observation. Truly observing how it all connects – and trust me, it is a lifelong journey full of bumps and blind spots. But I figured that what really was motivating me to create art were the simplest things, that moment where the dance of light, color and shape is the only thing there is, and that ‘isness’ is a reflection of the ONE.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in art and design?

Thais Aquino: Seeing that is possible to be an aesthete and make money. I thought that if making art and making a living was an option that was what I wanted, so I figured out a way of making that work without becoming a prisoner of the industry and/or capitalism. It was purely aesthetic and emotional reasons that brought me into the arts. I’ve started to see everything in shapes, colors, texture and flow. I thought that playing with those elements will bring me aesthetic pleasure and would allow me to be. And it did. Still does. Forever will. Art and design is just another way of expressing the realness of your being, I never knew any other way of communicating the ‘inexpressible’ and photography allowed me to go deeper and quest my emotional self in order to release tension and gain clarity. Until today my career in the arts is one of the most profound ways I find to see the meaning of life, followed by the depth of my relationships and nature realization.

Courtesy of Thais Aquino

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

Thais Aquino: Understanding that your values need to come first. No matter how much money you are making or how well connected, plugged in and party invited you are, if that is not in alignment with your principles, values and better good of the whole world than you are doing something out of alignment, or at least not contributing to the harmony of it all. So many times I had to sit with the idea that the world of fashion, art and photography (that I had chosen) was extremely superficial, disposable and abusive; yet, there I was, in the midst of it all. It’s a hard one. My biggest challenge was to overcome that realization and redesign my whole career.

Pratt SCPS: What part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most? 

Thais Aquino: Pratt is a portal. I had a lot of real life/industry insight while studying Fashion New Media at Pratt, the best thing you can do for yourself there is to truly connect with your professors and gain perspective. I knew I was held and supported, and those are very important things when you are on the path of self-discovery and creative pursuits. It almost felt mystical to be part of the Pratt experience. When I think of Pratt I see focus and excellence, they don’t have time for bull crap there, when you walk down the hall and peak into class rooms you get the sense that everybody in there is putting their lives in a well thought out direction. You feel big there. You feel like you made the right choice.

Courtesy of Thais Aquino

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

Know where your values lie. Map it all out before taking the first step. Understand the function of the world and have clarity of what your role within humanity is. Then you think how you can make THAT profitable. Not the other way around. And remember, nature has the answer for all things, just get quiet and witness the universe within you.

To learn more about the Fashion New Media Certificate Program visit the SCPS website. To view more of Thais Aquino’s incredible work visit her website: Thais Aquino.

Make sure to follow both Pratt SCPS and Thais Aquino on social media.

Student and Alumni Feature: Zachary Leong

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

The Fall semester has officially begun and for this month’s student feature we are spotlighting Zachary Leong, a third-year Industrial Design student at Pratt Institute. This past summer Zachary studied in the Furniture Design Certificate Program at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. As a local to the tri-state area, Zachary was born in New York City and raised just across the Hudson River in the suburbs of New Jersey. Although he spent most of his life growing up in New Jersey, he considers both NYC and Jersey home. Currently Zachary lives in Brooklyn where he does everything from exploring the city to designing in the classroom with his girlfriend, a fellow Pratt student. Tune in below to learn more about Zachary’s journey as a Pratt student and his budding career in the art and design world.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Zachary Leong: I find myself looking to nature as my main source of inspiration. I’m fascinated by what evolution has brought for all sorts of plants and animals and I strive to look for ways to include biomimicry in my designs. If that doesn’t work, the least I’d like to accomplish is to spread my appreciation for nature with everyone else.

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in art or design?

Zachary Leong: I spent my four years in high school specializing in computer science. However, that didn’t quite give me what I was looking for. I wanted to become more involved and hands-on with my work. The answer for me was industrial design. From there I quickly found out that I was able to materialize my ideas while still retaining the design aspect from computer programming. Anyone can learn to code or make a product, but designing robustly and with intent is what I’m after.

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

Zachary Leong: My biggest challenge was learning to open myself up – open to trying new things, to finding new methods of building something, and to seeing the world from another point of view. The past year or so I’ve learned to be more outgoing, which is all it took really. One trip to the woodshop by myself led me to learn about all the tools available to me here at Pratt. One “hello” to the classmate sitting next to me showed me a whole different world than that of America. All I had to do was take the first step.

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

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?

Zachary Leong: I’m an incoming Junior at Pratt Institute in the Industrial Design program and thinking back to this past year, I’d say that my design courses have been the most influential. They taught me about the practically limitless opportunities and resources that are available to all of us today. I would never have known about the processes that occur to make everything around me possible ranging from an iPhone to a table to a plastic spoon. Having this knowledge helps give me a sense of my potential in this ever-progressing industry.

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

Zachary Leong: I’d say that the best results can come from the most outrageous ideas. Inspiration is everywhere you look and no thought is too crazy to start off with. Don’t be too quick to dismiss an idea, because as long as you’re doing what you love and you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll end up with something you’re proud of. And hopefully along the way you’ll inspire others to do the same.

Courtesy of Zachary Leong

To learn more about the Furniture Design Certificate Program visit the SCPS website.

To stay up to date on student and alumni features from DESIGNTERRA make sure to subscribe.

The Student Leadership Team behind the PreCollege Summer Program

(from left back row, Sam, Madison, Veronica, from left front row, Janelle, Eva, Laura, Moby & Urva) – Courtesy of Sam Stuart

The PreCollege Summer Program wrapped up a few weeks ago, however it would not have been a resounding success without the dedication and hard work of this summer’s Pratt PreCollege staff and leadership team. The Pratt PreCollege Summer Program is a month long academic program geared to high schools. It’s a wonderful opportunity for close to 400 students to explore  their interests in art and design and to get a glimpse into what the college experience is really like. At the conclusion of the program students receive elective college credits and have the honor of showcasing all of their hard work in a Final Exhibition. In recognition of the successful end to another exceptional PreCollege Summer Program, we’ve chosen to spotlight the amazing contributions made by the Pratt PreCollege leadership team this summer.

The leadership team was comprised of eight current Pratt Institute students. Each team leader had an extremely active role in all facets of this summer’s program. As a group, the leaders were responsible for their individual roles and duties which included student advisement, coordinating operations, field trips, cultural excursions and additional activities, as well as overseeing the mentors. There were over 30 student mentors this summer all of whom are Pratt Institute students. Who better than Pratt students to mentor, guide and advise PreCollege students about the Pratt experience. Being a part of the PreCollege Summer Program is an experience like no other. Current Pratt students are able to gain highly useful skills that will guide them in both their academic and professional careers.

In recognition of their invaluable contributions to the success of this summer’s PreCollege Program, we’d like to introduce you to the dream team that helped to make this summer’s program a truly exceptional and memorable experience for our PreCollege high school students. Meet Eva, Veronica, Urva, Samuel, Madison, Moby, Janelle and Laura, the Pratt students who helped to coordinate  and oversee various aspects of both the academic and activity related components of this summer’s program. This leadership team had an integral role in making sure all facets of the PreCollege Summer Program came together seamlessly and provided invaluable support to the PreCollege Office staff.

Courtesy of Sam Stuart

Here’s a quick breakdown of each other the leadership team members and their individual roles this summer. For this summer’s PreCollege program, the leadership team was divided into two additional teams within the main team that would be responsible for specific aspects of the program.  The subdivisions were categorized into areas of focus: academics and activities. Team leaders that were a part of the academic team were responsible for coordinating the academic side of the PreCollege program which included student advisement, studio operations, faculty and student support in the classroom and studio space, and assigning mentors to groups of PreCollege students based on their art and design concentrations groups.

The  academic team leaders were the following Pratt students: Veronica, (Grad student, Art Therapy & Creativity Development), Urva (Grad student, Communication Design), Samuel (Senior, Photography Major) and Eva (Sophomore, COMD Graphic Design). Eva a sophomore in the COMD Graphic Design Program was the Design & Operations Coordinator in the PreCollege Summer Program. Her responsibilities included providing design support to the PreCollege office and in addition to this coordinating various operations and working with other team leaders to insure that all aspects of the program ran effectively on a daily basis.

Also providing operational support in this summer’s program was Samuel, a senior in the Photography program. Samuel’s role this summer was being the Studio Mentor Coordinator. Throughout the summer program the PreCollege students would be immersed in a full day of course work and in the evenings they would attend studio space sessions where they had the opportunity to continue to work on art and design projects. As the Studio Mentor Coordinator, it was Samuel responsibility to coordinate which mentors would be assigned to oversee and lead specific studio space sessions based on subject concentrations.

Courtesy of Pratt PreCollege

One important facet of the PreCollege Summer program is ensuring that all of the students have adequate support and resources. Occasionally students requested or needed advisement for a variety of reasons and two of the members of the PreCollege leadership team were responsible for connecting students with the appropriate on campus resources in order to ensure they received advisement and support were Veronica and Urva. Veronica,  a graduate student in the Art Therapy & Creativity Development Master’s program, and Urva a graduate student in the Graduate Communication Design program, both had the role of being Graduate  Assistant Student Advisers. Their contributions to this program included being a resource for students  needing advisement, faculty, coordinating and managing mentors, and providing support to their other team members.

The leadership team members that were a part of the activities team this summer included the following Pratt students:  Madison (Undergraduate student) Laura (Senior, Art History Major), Janelle (Senior, 2D Animation Major), Moby (Senior, 2D Animation Major). Each of these team members were responsible for coordinating the field trips, cultural excursions and additional activities for this summer’s program. They also coordinated and managed the mentors assigned to each field trip and excursion and provided additional support to both PreCollege office, faculty and students.

Laura, a senior in the Art History program and Madison an undergraduate student, were the Art, History and Culture coordinators in the program this summer. They were responsible for coordinating the cultural excursions and assigned mentors to guide PreCollege students during on campus and off campus museum trips which included visiting The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Guggenheim.  Janelle and Moby, both seniors in the 2D Animation program, were the Activities Coordinators this summer.  They helped to support this summer’s program through scheduling and coordinating field trips and weekend activities which include trips to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Governors Island.

Courtesy of Pratt PreCollege

Although this summer’s program has come to a conclusion, the contributions of each of the Pratt student leadership team members was essential to ensuring that the PreCollege students had a rewarding experience in the program. These leadership team members not only contributed a great deal through their hard work and dedication, but they were able to gain invaluable organizational, interpersonal and teamwork skills that they will be able apply to both their academic and professional careers.

To learn more about the Pratt PreCollege Program  visit our website. To stay up to date on the latest student features from  DESIGNTERRA make sure to subscribe. Don’t forget to follow Pratt PreCollege on social media: Facebook, Instagram.

Student and Alumni Feature: Meric Anavi

Meric Anavi

This month we are spotlighting Meric Anavi, Interior Design student from Istanbul, Turkey, and alumnus of Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. This summer Meric earned his certificate in furniture design after completing the Furniture Design Certificate Program at SCPS. This extensive certificate program allowed Meric the opportunity to expand his knowledge and artistry in both furniture and interior design. Living in New York City and unraveling the design industry in this sprawling metropolis has been both a rewarding and rich experience for Meric. In many ways the vibrancy and restlessness of NYC mirrors the spirit of his own hometown in Istanbul. Tune in below to learn more about Meric’s journey through Pratt, his professional and educational experiences, as well as the challenges he has faced navigating through the design world.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Meric Anavi: I don’t believe there is a limit to inspiration. I am inspired by objects, light, angles, shadows etc. Life is my source of inspiration. I can create designs based on a sound or light that I encountered years ago. I love nature and scenery. Nature is an artistic composition of extraordinary perspectives. It is a piece of art.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in art and design?

Meric Anavi: I spent my childhood making drawings in class. I never valued success that much in school, what satisfied me was drawing. My family espoused that I had to get a rigorous education in order to be successful, yet time showed me that success meant doing what I desired, which is creating.

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

Meric Anavi: It’s natural that learning varies from person to person. What I always wanted to improve myself on was drawing, yet I was constantly told that success in life came upon traditional and normative learning. Success was defined as passing the classes that were thrown at me. In order to escape this belief I equipped myself with skills outside of school. What was most difficult for me was to psychologically escape the belief that success comes with basic education.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

In high school I enrolled in a studio which showed me that school was whatever I wanted it to be and I finally discovered that drawing is what motivates me to learn. Thanks to the time I spent at the studio I was able to deconstruct these social dogmas on success. Despite the imposition of education, I don’t believe it is harmful. On the contrary, if I had not had to pass the classes I took so far with such a rigorous grading system, I would not have the ambition and desire I have now.

Pratt SCPS: What part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most?

Meric Anavi: Pratt was like a new beginning in my life. For the first time, I felt I achieved something tangible. Getting my furniture design certificate is a novelty that I am beyond proud of. What I had designed or drawn prior to Pratt stayed on paper as just designs.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

At Pratt I learned about the intricacies of executing a design and how a mental design translates as a real life product. This was a challenging yet rewarding process. I learned how to manipulate designs to render them functional.

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

Meric Anavi: My advice would be to never lose your ambition and desire. Working on yourself psychologically will always keep you steps ahead in whatever field you are working on. Creating a product that reflects the true you is incredibly satisfying. You end up creating something you get to call “mine”. You shouldn’t fear the hard work that needs to go in to the creation of great things as the product of your work will be worth the effort. You should always be open to learning and change. This is how I believe you get ahead in life.

Courtesy of Meric Anavi

To learn more about the Furniture Design Certificate Program visit the SCPS website. To stay up to date on student and alumni features from  DESIGNTERRA make sure to subscribe. Don’t forget to follow Pratt SCPS on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Student and Alumni Feature: Adrian De Propertis

Courtesy of Adrian De Propertis

Adrian De Propertis is a Digital Artist, Graphic Designer and Product Designer currently studying at Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. He is originally from Melbourne, Australia, where he studied at Deakin University, recorded and performed in metal bands, and trained in acting and film production. He received an opportunity to study design at Pratt Institute and quickly discovered that he had a talent for creating art, photography, motion design and illustration. So far Adrian has truly enjoyed his life in New York City and feels a deep connection to this city since moving here. Keep reading to learn all about Adrian’s experiences as a Pratt student, his exceptional art and design work and the lessons he has learned throughout his career in the creative world.

Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Adrian De Propertis: Picasso may have said good artists borrow, great artists steal. I create mood boards on Pinterest often collecting information on color, illustration and motion and draw inspiration from films, music and literature. I look at art and installation everywhere and pay attention to what excited me. I really enjoy digital design and illustration. I’m a big film and music buff and love movies like Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, Lawrence of Arabia to name a few. I love reading when I can and I’m a big Dune fan. I love music, and used to be a vocalist for a metal band in Melbourne. I have a lot of dark influences from Punk Rock, Metal and Hardcore music, but am also a huge Indie, Shoegaze & New Wave fan.

Courtesy of Adrian De Propertis

Pratt SCPSWhat motivated you to pursue a career in digital design?

Adrian De Propertis: I feel as though I can express myself through design to really show a part of me. Someone once told me not to die with my music still in me. Design is art and a piece of me pours onto the canvas. I get immense gratification for hard work well done. I can use my technical direction skills along with my vision to communicate and evolve ideas to an even greater level. I enjoy the practical and technical aspect of designing products that can change people’s lives.

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

Adrian De Propertis:  Sometimes it’s a challenge to work and study at the same time, which means sacrifice and hard work in a competitive city. But I’m doing what I love and feel blessed in spite of the realities of paying bills. This has taught me to prioritize my time and never to settle or sell myself short.

Courtesy of Adrian De Propertis

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

Adrian De Propertis: Illustrator class and Photoshop really changed my life. I learned skills that I never knew I had. My teachers encouraged and had faith in me. I’m also learning the complex art of motion graphics on after effects and delving deeper into SFX plugins like trapcode and 3D tools to benefit me in the future.

Pratt SCPSWhat advice do you have for creative professionals who desire to launch their own art and design careers or companies in the future?

Adrian De Propertis: If you really want something you have already told the universe you want it and it’s on its way to you. That’s kind of why they say never to give up because success does happen! Define yourself and don’t let anyone tell you what you are or your worth or what your limitations are. Discern what matters, focus on your goals and create. Networking is also essential. I give out at least a couple of business cards a week. I go to meetup events, and talk to people. Work that Instagram too, look at other designers and artists out there, and Pinterest is also very useful. Never give up, believe in yourself and make it happen. I’m grateful because Pratt has given me the skills, training, knowledge and experience to be a success!

Courtesy of Adrian De Propertis

To learn more about Adrian and his work,  check out his website, AdrianDepp . Make sure to follow both Pratt SCPS and Adrian De Propertis on social media.

 

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.