September 2020 Exhibition Design Event


Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 6:00-6:45pm EST



Allen Wilpon, Pratt SCPS Adjunct Associate Professor/Lecturer, will headline the online Zoom session What Makes an Exhibition Design Stand Out: The Role of the Designer on Wednesday, September 23 from 6:00-6:45pm.

The lecture will cover the essential elements that can make an exhibition design uniquely compelling, whether for art and/or design exhibitions; and will introduce Pratt SCPS’s Exhibition Design Certificate Program. A Q&A period will follow the presentation.

See more about the event


Pratt Earth Action Week 2020 – Integrative Mind / Body Event


Friday, September 25, 2020, 2:30-3:30pm EST



Led by Joelle Danant, Program Director, Credit Continuing Education Instructor, and Lecturer, Continuing and Professional Studies, Athletics

Meditation, sound healing, and chanting contribute to sustainability by elevating our vibrations and fostering balance toward wholeness. Starting with a guided meditation on the Elements—Earth, Air, Water & Light (Part 1)—we shift our attention from receiving their goodness, to giving back by sending compassion, gratitude, and blessings to the Life that sustains us. Part Two of this session consists of a sound healing session using world acoustic instruments, followed by an invitation to join our voices in life-affirming chants (using original music) for upliftment of self and the world.

See more about the event

Pratt Earth Action Week

Pratt School of Continuing and Professional Studies

Pratt Integrative Mind and Body Program

Pratt Earth Action Week 2020 – Sustainable Design Event


Friday, September 25, 2020, 6:00-7:00pm EST



Moderated by Carolyn Shafer, Director of Sustainability for Academic Affairs, Pratt Institute


  • Kat Choate, Visiting Instructor, Pratt Institute
  • Joelle Danant, Program Director and Visiting Instructor, Pratt SCPS
  • Megan Dwyer, Graduate of the SDC program
  • Alison Irvine, Visiting Instructor, Pratt Institute
  • Elizabeth Lee, Graduate of the SDC program
  • Tetsu Ohara, Interior Design Faculty, Pratt Institute
  • Daniel Penge, Visiting Instructor, Pratt Institute

See more about the event

Pratt Earth Action Week

Pratt SCPS Sustainable Design Program



Adjusting to online classes can be challenging! Here are a few tips to get the most out of your experience and connect with your instructor and fellow learners.


1. Review instructor feedback. Make time to review prior feedback and notes before class. Have a list of questions ready to ask about anything that isn’t 100% clear. SCPS instructors will make time for Q&A; they want you to get all you can from your courses! There are no stupid questions, only lost opportunities.

[Provide feedback, too! Let your instructor know if there’s something they did in class that you liked. This will help them improve their online teaching skills—they are looking for ways to engage you.]

2. Take photos of your work. Take photos of your work and share files through Canvas. This also gives you a digital record for the future!

[Feel free to send to photos of your work, photos of you creating your work, or photos of you attending class to Kristen at We’d love to show prospective students what it’s like to take classes & create at Pratt!]

3. Make sure your files are in the right format. When it’s your time to upload files for a presentation or class assignment, ensure your files are the right type and size for uploading well before class begins so you’re not crunched for time at the last minute.


4. Turn on your camera.

I know. You didn’t brush your hair. However, if you have camera access, use it! It creates a more personal learning experience, allows the teacher to see your reactions, and connects you to other class members. Don’t be a silent observer! You paid for the class; you deserve to get ALL you can from it.

Understand that your instructor may not feel “camera-ready,” either. They are working hard to adjust to the online format. Finding the ideal light/angle may not be at the forefront of their priorities! 

5. Use the chat box. Especially if you don’t have camera access, the chat box can be your best tool for communication. Make sure you are participating! It can also be a good way to get your questions in without interrupting at an inopportune time.

6. Check every tab. View every tab in Canvas—Files, Downloads, & Discussions—so you don’t miss any important content.

7. Capture comments. When instructors make comments on your assignments in Canvas, experiment with the best way to capture them for future reference. One method is to take a screenshot, retitle it, and save it to your class folder.


8. Download course files. Use Google Drive, Base Camp, an external hard drive, or a flash drive to store course files & class recordings after each session. NOTE: OneKey remains “live” for 31 days after a class ends. After that, class access is closed.


9. Network! We cannot emphasize this enough! Not only does this help with class content and assignments, it also creates a community and a networking base for the next stage in your career.

10. Use free search tools. org is a huge, wonderful resource! Download and save whatever is FREE and RELEVANT to your course of study or field of interest.

Special thanks to Roy Pachecano (Lecturer, Pratt SCPS; President, Portico R.E.I. LLC; Assistant Adjunct Professor, Columbia University) for helping out with this post! Roy is an amazing professor with the Pratt School of Continuing and Professional Studies’ Architecture Program.

Nina Edwards, Fashion Illustrator and Pratt Professor, Discusses Her Inspirations, Passions and Career Achievements

Courtesy of Nina Edwards

Nina Edwards is a fashion illustrator based in New York City. She currently teaches Introduction to Fashion Illustration, Portfolio and Special Projects, and Creative Careers at Pratt Institute’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS). She earned her BFA in illustration from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and her MFA from California State University, Fullerton. Nina has been active in the fields of graphic design, editorial illustration, greeting cards, and social expression for over 20 years. Her expertise includes digital and watercolor illustrations and the integration of opposing elements such as traditional and modern, Eastern and Western, and art and technology into illustrations and designs.

Nina’s work has appeared in numerous publications, book covers, books and magazines editorials, licensing products, and art galleries. Her portfolio of clients includes: Art Hearts Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week, New York Garment District Alliance, Scholastic, Bridal Guide Magazine, Girls’ Life, Seventeen, and Cosmopolitan Magazine to name a few. Keep reading to learn about Nina’s inspirations, passions, career achievements and her journey as a Professor at Pratt Institute.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in the fashion world and where do you draw your inspiration from? 

Nina Edwards: My passion is to inspire and empower myself and others to live the best version of ourselves. I use fashion art as a vehicle to develop and elevate for excellence. I get inspiration from everything in life. Movies, music, museums, art galleries, other artwork, fashion shows, flea markets, magazines, internet posts, my children and husband, friends, nature, people walking down the street, my dreams, etc. I believe we don’t go looking for inspiration. It will come to you on its own, like happiness.

Courtesy of Nina Edwards

Pratt SCPS: What has been your greatest professional achievement and what would you consider the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in order to achieve it?

Nina Edwards: I was working full time as a senior graphic designer in a mid-size San Francisco advertising agency in the beginning of my career. My great professional achievement was to art direct and design collateral for huge brands including Starbucks. My biggest challenges in that position were my communication and presentation skills. To overcome my shortcomings, I joined a Toastmasters club where I learned and fine-tuned my public speaking and interpersonal communication skills, and gained many opportunities to network with professionals in the design and art licensing industries.

Pratt SCPS: When did your Pratt journey begin and what do you enjoy most about being an educator in this field? 

Nina Edwards: My journey at Pratt started in the winter of 2015, when I was invited to conduct an art licensing and intellectual property law workshop at Pratt. It was well-received and about 40 people attended. I enjoy sharing my professional experience with students from different countries and backgrounds and teaching and inspiring them to be better artists and designers. As a teacher, all my illustration, design, and communication skills are put into practice while I am teaching and guiding my students. I was born and raised in Taiwan and speaking Mandarin is an asset for me when teaching students from China and Taiwan.

Courtesy of Nina Edwards

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

Nina Edwards: Know who you are, develop clear art styles for your brand, think outside the box, networking constantly in person and online, and never stop learning. Know who you are, develop a unique art style for your brand, think outside the box, network constantly in person and online, and never stop learning.

This fall Nina will be teaching Intro to Fashion Illustration in the Creative Careers program at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Make sure to follow Nina on social media to view her most recent portfolio work and to learn about her upcoming events and projects.

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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. 


An Insightful Conversation with Master Florist and fleursBELLA founder, Bella Meyer

Courtesy of fleursBELLA

For the month of February, we are spotlighting Master Florist, and creator of fleursBELLA, Bella Meyer. Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Bella about her incredible family history and learn more about her immense portfolio of accomplishments which includes obtaining a Ph.D. in Medieval Art History from the Sorbonne in Paris and working for the French Embassy in NYC. Bella Meyer was originally born in Paris, but raised in Switzerland, and naturally found herself immersed in the world of art being the granddaughter of historic artist, Marc Chagall.  As fate would have it, Bella Meyer was destined to build upon her grandfather’s legacy in the art world through creating her own impact in the field of floral art and design.

In 2005, Bella created her floral design studio, fleursBELLA and officially opened the doors to its current location in downtown Manhattan in 2010. Her voyage through the world of art into the field of floral design is as enchanting as her magnificent floral design studio. This spring Bella will be teaching an exciting workshop in the Floral Art for Interiors program at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS). Keep reading to learn more about Bella’s professional achievements, family history and her journey as an educator at Pratt Institute.

Pratt SCPS:  Bella you have an incredible resume of accomplishments and a profound history within the art field, could you share a little about your background and what led you into the world of floral art and design?

Bella Meyer:  Art was always the focus in my life. I grew up in a family which believed that art was essential to existence. My father needed to reflect through an art work to understand a thought process. My mother’s main attention was directed towards her father’s work, my grandfather Marc Chagall, who in turn, fiercely believed in the necessity in Art, and its spiritual powers. And so I came to understand that I needed art! Reflecting on its meanings, continuously inspired by daily discoveries of artistic creations, old and new, I also felt the need to make things, to paint, to draw, but this maybe more as expression of great respect to whatever I saw. This need of extrapolating what I felt around me, lead me to design and build theater and dance costumes and props, and even puppets to tell some fleeting stories. I wanted to bring vibrant colors to spaces and moments.

Thus, it was an extraordinary revelation when I was introduced, led by a floral designer, to the richness of the flower market on 28th Street, as we entered the ominous 2 room caverns of Fischer & Page. What magic! I couldn’t believe it: There it was: the complete world of thousands of colors just glaring at me! Tulips, ranunculus, roses, scabiosa, all made me understand that they owned the wisdom of all hues in nature, and only they could lead me to an understanding of this immense world of colors. I had been familiar with the street flower markets in Europe, and readily bought them, always attracted by their colors, to bring and give to my mother, my grandfather, my friends; Yet the possibility of using them, or working with them, to create a specific message, had never occurred to me before. It took me another few years, after learning about floral design, through reading, taking classes and interning, to have the courage to create fleursBELLA.

Courtesy of Saskia Kahn

Pratt SCPS:  How would you describe your artistic aesthetic and what inspires you?

Bella Meyer:  My aesthetic is probably more organic, but strong lines, movement and colors are equally prevalent. Nature is my inspiration. A walk in the forest will always give me clues and answers. The sky, and its light, will give me such encouragement. And then, yes, a single little flower, or a leaf, and the deep silence of a prairie are equally as important, as is any message which might emerge from some one’s art work.

Pratt SCPS: What would you say has been your greatest professional achievement so far? 

Bella Meyer:  Walking into our studio fleursBELLA, with my team organizing the flowers in the front to welcome customers, or working on some wonderful, unique designs for various events, makes me feel very grateful and quite proud! And then I reflect on the large installations we did over the years, whether they were for BAM, on their main Opera Stage (Hermione), or transforming the huge then still raw 2 World Trade Center floors into a large forest, or covering the Frank Gehry staircase of Signature Theatre with thousands of orchids and ticket stubs. Having a colossal but ever so ephemeral looking angel fly down into the rotunda of the Art Museum in San Diego blessing nature and all visitors.

I love for us to take on challenges to respond to smaller art shows, and ever so respectfully and delicately create a dialog with the work exhibited. Bringing in large flowering branches, or small accents to a restaurant, thus creating a mere quiet backdrop to the diners, seems to be just as big an achievement as surprising knowledgeable guests to any Botanical Garden Gala party. Each project brings its own inspiring challenges, and thus feels to be yet our greatest professional achievement

Pratt SCPS:  When did your Pratt journey as an Instructor begin and what has it been like?

Bella Meyer:  My journey with Pratt started in the fall of 2017, when I was still teaching periodically for Flower School New York. Eileen Johnson, its founder and now former director, had introduced me to this wonderful new program incorporating Floral Art into the various disciplines which Pratt has to offer. Each season, I have been greatly inspired by how much the students are bringing into the class.

Pratt SCPS:  As a Faculty Member in the Floral Art for Interiors Program what legacy do you hope to impart to your students?

Bella Meyer:  Well, legacy is maybe too ominous a word, but I hope to give students the freedom to approach each floral creation in their very own and unique ways, while reminding them of listening to each flower’s movement, colors and needs. A floral design can only shine, if it tells a story; thus each arrangement is unique, created from the designer’s heart.

If you’re interested in learning more about Bella Meyer and her upcoming workshop at Pratt SCPS, A Wild Duet: Celebrations of the Arts via Foraged Materials, visit our main website.

Make sure to subscribe to DESIGNTERRA to stay up-to-date on all of the latest content.

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.

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RA Friedman, Figurative Artist and Pratt SCPS Faculty

Courtesy of RA Friedman

For the month of October we are spotlighting Pratt Institute School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Faculty member, RA Friedman. RA is a figurative artist who works at the crossroads of drawing and photography. Intrigued by the idea building bridges to the past and experimenting with older forms in order to find new relationships and relevant expression, his studio practice is informed by a background in science, theater set design, and fine arts. A regular contributor to The Laboratory Arts Collective Magazine and faculty member at Pratt Manhattan as well as continuing education instructor at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he recently completed a suite of nine multi-figure compositions created with a pinhole camera. Keep reading to learn more about RA Friedman’s professional achievements and his journey as an educator at Pratt Institute.

Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in the creative world?

RA Friedman: I gradually and more or less naturally gravitated to it. I started out in science/engineering but found myself pulled first into theater and then the visual arts. I just felt there was something very primary in this field that I needed to have in my life. Little did I know where it would lead!

Pratt SCPS: What would you say has been your greatest professional achievement so far?

RA Friedman: I have been working on a set of complex multi-figure photographic montages for about eight years and I just created the ninth image. They were made with a camera that uses a very small aperture, often called a “pinhole,” instead of a lens. I have been invited to exhibit these and do a short residency at Lewis and Clark College in Lewiston, Idaho where I will do a number of workshops, including one demonstrating the unique methodology I use that falls between photography and drawing/printmaking.

Pratt SCPS: When did your Pratt journey begin and what has it been like?

RA Friedman: It began by chance. I met Suzanne de Vegh, the director of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, while I was running a vintage portrait booth. We stayed in touch, shared ideas and I taught my first class, Analog Photography in the summer of 2017. As an undergrad, I had been a Pratt student for one year when Pratt still had an engineering program and I ended up teaching in the same wing where I had studied thermodynamics!

Teaching has really been a joy. What I love about the classes at Pratt is the students are extremely creatively and intellectually sharp; not only do they delve into the material, their energy and ideas open up my thinking.

Pratt SCPS: What has been the most important lesson for you as an educator in this field?

RA Friedman: What I have long believed has shown to be true: As a teaching artist, the creative and technical inquiries I invite my students to experiment with need to be parallel to my own ongoing student practice. The educator’s “homework” is to put in as much quality time in the studio as possible, pose the hard problems and dig for resolutions so they can share that journey with their students. On the practical level, I’ve learned not to make assumptions, think ahead, and to always be a little over-prepared.

Pratt SCPS: What upcoming courses will you be teaching at Pratt?

RA Friedman: In the fall, I will be teaching for the first time The Visual Nature of Photography. The goal of the course is to evolve new ways of thinking about what photography can be. In five, three-hour workshops we’ll explore the connections between the technical and process-related aspects of photography and the resulting outcomes. Students will engage with ways of working that will shift their perspective, such as photographing with pinhole cameras made out of cardboard and plastic “toy” cameras.

If you’re interested in learning more about RA Friedman’s upcoming course in the Fine Art Certificate program visit our main website.

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