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Masters Theses

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Groundwork, Marcus Peabody May 2019

Groundwork, Marcus Peabody

Masters Theses

This is hardly groundbreaking, but graphic designers

(or at least this graphic designer)

should gather up information first hand

(rather than waiting to be handed content)

using multiple points of view

(because design needs to be rooted in the broader world)

and then address the resultant multiplicity

(which is chaotic and confusing)

by charting a somewhat linear path through it

(because I have an editorial point of view)

while still acknowledging the underlying complexity

(because it's not the only point of view)

giving structure that is coherent with the subject

(because without structure you just have a pile of ...


Softweave, Annaka Olsen May 2019

Softweave, Annaka Olsen

Masters Theses

The contents of this volume are a weaving.1 The text lays parallel to a graphic design practice that emerges from research into computation, digital publishing and speculative design. I ask how we can change the structures of world building to become collaborative and ethical practices — resisting hierarchy and reclaiming agency in the spaces we occupy. By making soft modifications imbued with feminist praxis across a variety of automatic processes, softwares, feeds, and streams, this thesis explores ways to open up critical avenues of making in order to speculate on fluid futures that we can co-author.


Spontaneous Laughter, Laughter Without Reason, Evan Gilbert May 2019

Spontaneous Laughter, Laughter Without Reason, Evan Gilbert

Masters Theses

What is the function of humor in today's society? What is the role of the comedian in increasingly clownish times? How does humor challenge power structures in contemporary life and art? How can painting deploy these methods in an effective manner?

The archetype of the trickster has appeared in myth and literature around the world for many centuries. In all instances it represents the disruptive side of the human imagination, a being that lives outside the rules of conventional behavior who seems to have hidden knowledge or secret understanding of how society truly functions. The archetype of the trickster ...


Lateral Movements : In Multifaceted Time And Space, Jieun Kim May 2019

Lateral Movements : In Multifaceted Time And Space, Jieun Kim

Masters Theses

Orient, shift, calibrate, and soar—these four lateral movements provoke new ways of seeing beyond flatness: the single fixed point of view. I question the reasons and consequences of the dominant point of view and suggest interpretative and playful versions of possibilities.

The distribution of the internet and satellite photography has heightened the perception, interaction, and access to the world—time and space have become flexible. I use these tools deceptively to shift toward dynamic and multiple perspectives both in physical and digital space.

I create graphic environments into which people can enter, inviting people to maneuver in this multifaceted ...


Record : From Signal To Atmosphere, And The Spaces Between Silence And Noise, Amy Auman May 2019

Record : From Signal To Atmosphere, And The Spaces Between Silence And Noise, Amy Auman

Masters Theses

Record is both a noun and a verb. Its meaning shifts through pronunciation, beginning with our cognitive interpretation and then emerging as a translation that we project from our mouths. This thesis book is an artifact, or record, of the past two years of artistic inquiry. My work, however, lives through movement in time—it records my impulses. This thesis is merely an open archive.

A range of stimuli competes for our conscious attention. The signals we choose to notice emerge from the periphery of our atmosphere, which includes everything from noise to silence. I use design to amplify and ...


Looking For, Dylan Hurwitz May 2019

Looking For, Dylan Hurwitz

Masters Theses

We live in a time in which toxic masculinity continues to run rampant, and in which sexuality continues to be demonized. When it comes to models of loving and living as a queer person, it often feels that there are two options- the politics of queer sexual liberation, of new conceptions of relationships and intimacy, or homonormative, assimilationist politics.

My work for this thesis explores this range, and aims to work against toxic masculinity and the shaming of sex. I think about the abusive relationships I’ve experienced as connected to larger systems of violence—systems which threaten our sense ...


The Line That Splits, Zahra Jewanjee May 2019

The Line That Splits, Zahra Jewanjee

Masters Theses

The body of work I have created since beginning my MFA has been informed and impacted by my research into various inter-connected subject matters: subcultural spaces, the behaviours of crowds, micro and macro and territories and systems. These have been the philosophical and conceptual rationale of my studio practice. Meditation on these concepts is an important part in the preliminary stages of my process and the praxis of my studio work has been to interpret and implement these ideas. In many ways, this process suggests its own direction. I had no exact endpoint in mind but wanted to be driven ...


Among : A Series Of Enactments, Joel F. Kern May 2019

Among : A Series Of Enactments, Joel F. Kern

Masters Theses

AMONG captures the practice of a constructionist designer, one who oscillates between the characteristics of typography, multi-materiality, and spatiality yet does not attach solely to the physical or digital. The fundamental principles of this practice include open platforms that foster generative collaboration through modular systems. AMONG straddles the borders of graphic design, environmental design and social sculpture. At its core, this practice encourages new ways of connecting communities.


Interface Philosophy, June Yoon May 2019

Interface Philosophy, June Yoon

Masters Theses

During a Grad Studio II crit in the spring of 2018, I presented my project Measurements of Space and Time (page 132) and right after I finished, someone said, “This is like interface philosophy.” I didn’t even know what that meant, but it just felt right. At that very moment, I knew Interface Philosophy would be the title of my thesis.

Interface Philosophy was built as much as it was written and designed. Its function is to define “interface philosophy.” To describe interface as a meeting point for communication; philosophy as a cognitive reasoning of structural patterns. What I ...


Body Of Work, Oliva De Salve Villedieu May 2019

Body Of Work, Oliva De Salve Villedieu

Masters Theses

This yellow book filled with short stories, indexes, and a bright body of work, is a little bit rebellious, a little bit scandalous, but mostly self-indulgent. It is an invitation to release, unhinge, and get, consensually, tied up. Here graphic design is not a thinking tool, but rather an attitude—a desire to engage and skew. It is a place where affection translates into practice and lifts an eyebrow to modernism. The work is one of contrast; it contradicts and plays. By excavating simple systems for complex reasons, it deconstructs the fundamental primaries of graphic design and recontextualizes them by ...


Plenty : Wanting, Choosing,, Overwhelming Unloading, Christopher Cote May 2019

Plenty : Wanting, Choosing,, Overwhelming Unloading, Christopher Cote

Masters Theses

We seek well-being from products and fall prey to the media that promotes them to determine our wants and needs as equal. Consumption becomes an obsession. At some point we accumulate so much that we feel the need to organize or cleanse what’s overwhelmed us.

To highlight the aesthetics of consumption, advertisement, and brand proliferation, I turn their tactics against themselves. Plenty: Wanting, Choosing, Overwhelming, Unloading explores, points out, embraces, and edits the complexity we live within. With the hope of better navigating the abundance of consumer choice and its visual bombardment, Plenty tracks and exposes the cycle of ...


Making Common, Elaine Lopez May 2019

Making Common, Elaine Lopez

Masters Theses

Making Common sets conditions for communication around cultural diversity and inequality. Through my practice, I create new ways to share, honor, and celebrate the stories that have been neglected for too long due to white supremacy, patriarchy, and other forms of structural oppression. I create immersive graphic design experiences that challenge people to question and expand their worldview. This methodology models an alternative way for designers to work towards a more just society


Abjad Orientations, Mohammed Nassem May 2019

Abjad Orientations, Mohammed Nassem

Masters Theses

This thesis investigates verbal and visual language through a lens of translation, queerness, and diaspora . Looking at graphic design as a reconciliatory space , I make use of its formal and typographic systems as devices to tell stories , examine cultures , and negotiate conflicting principles .

Abjad Orientations is a process of shifting the focal viewpoint to reorient myself and/or my audience and allow for a closer probe of our cultural reality . My eclectic identity as a Queer , Muslim , multilingual Arab living in the United States drives the form and content of my design inquiries to reconcile one or more aspects of ...


Re-Creation : A Package Design For Daily Life, Wei-Hao Wang May 2019

Re-Creation : A Package Design For Daily Life, Wei-Hao Wang

Masters Theses

This thesis grows out of my observations of and inquiries into daily scenes,+ which are wrapped within what I am calling a package. The human mind often puts daily encounters into manageable packages to facilitate interaction with them. This process, however, makes us dull or neglectful. Looking into daily scenes allows me to unpack these packages and reflect on ubiquitous objects, notions and actions so that I am able to see them anew. To me, it offers a break from the habitual responses in life.

Re-creation: A Package Design for Daily Life intends to create a similar occasion for my ...


Let's Meet Over There / Eury Kim., Eury Kim May 2019

Let's Meet Over There / Eury Kim., Eury Kim

Masters Theses

Small communities that were once reliant on the land for basic sustenance progressively grew into large urban states. Our current cities manufacture items that are exchanged for other goods, by building factories that exploit resources from the ground. These commodities are providing much more than just food and shelter. Industry makes sustenance a secondary need to production by objectifying nature.

Italian writer Italo Calvino compares the weight of two Industrial Revolutions, depicting the first with “rolling mills” and “molten steel,” the second “with bits of information that flow” also noting that everything we “value for lightness quickly reveals … unbearable heaviness ...


Cosmosis, Angela Torchio May 2019

Cosmosis, Angela Torchio

Masters Theses

Cosmographies deal with the order of nature. They are general descriptions of the universe, and this thesis is a cosmography, dealing with visual content, constraints, and the complexity of symbolism.

Visual experience is dynamic, interrelated, and inherently tied to a value hierarchy. On a micro level, design is my way of understanding the world, while on a macro level, it is a tool to generate new perceptual structures for engaging with, not merely seeing, design.

The work is based on the idea that multiple symbolisms are inherent to all things, and these symbolisms will shift based on context. Cosmographies are ...


Standards, Rules, Setting, Robert Mcconnell May 2019

Standards, Rules, Setting, Robert Mcconnell

Masters Theses

Greetings. Welcome to Standards, Rules, Setting. This short preamble serves as a user guide to the material that follows. It is, essentially, a set of standards that govern the organization and progression of the various items in this publication.

Everything in this book has been conceived and constructed in line with the Graphic Design Thesis Book Protocol. As my body of work deals with the communication of messages and the manipulation of their governing conventions and norms, this publication — as well — has been organized along similar principles.

There are five types of components in this thesis book: sections, essays, lists ...


The Person-Less Portrait, Katelyn Ledford May 2019

The Person-Less Portrait, Katelyn Ledford

Masters Theses

In an age of digital technologies, contemporary portraits look different than their predecessors did. Portraiture does not have to continue to rely only on the idea of physical likeness, even though that is generally how portraiture is conceived. Through our virtual lives, we build new versions of ourselves, gain an abundance of information, and consume technological visuals. These newfound engagements and understandings shape the portraits we build of ourselves and of other groups at large. In my painting practice, portraiture is a way to explore the contemporary landscape around me as a woman and a painter who engages in digital ...


Where We Are : Where We Thought We Were Going, Nathan Prebonick May 2019

Where We Are : Where We Thought We Were Going, Nathan Prebonick

Masters Theses

In this thesis I will discuss ideas of place, space and repurposing as they relate to my paintings. By tying these ideas back to specific hometown sites, I will trace the evolution of ideas back to their genesis to provide context for the aesthetics of the work. I reference the texts of Robert Smithson and Tim Cresswell, who wrote about transitive notions of place, as well as David Joselit, who’s “Painting Beside Itself” essay focused on painters concerned with the question of how painting enters a network. I hope to use these texts, in conjunction with personal descriptions of ...


Addicts Of Nostalgia, Samuel Robert Campbell Drake May 2019

Addicts Of Nostalgia, Samuel Robert Campbell Drake

Masters Theses

In this thesis, I will reflect on issues of nostalgia through a series of work based upon the landscape where I grew up. I discuss how my paintings stage themes and negotiate criticality towards memory. The writing analyses my engagement towards the collaging of documentary and fictional sources: and how my paintings seek to dispel legibility and embrace slippage. Alongside discussions of personal experiences, I talk about the relationship of distancing in my practice, concerning tangible and geographic detachment. The thesis expresses my adoration for the history of British painting, and my efforts to internalize its traditions. Moreover, this investigation ...


White Noise, Chris Cohen May 2019

White Noise, Chris Cohen

Masters Theses

White Noise investigates moments when white supremacist ideology injects itself into the conversation about American Identity and American History in an attempt to co- opt those definitions and control the conversation. The exhibition considers the effects of this identity crisis on American identity, white identity, American history, and family unity. The exhibition looks at these issues through the lens of the Virginia Historical Markers program, Civil War Re-enactment, contemporary white identity politics and supremacy, monuments, educational history museums, and the artist’s personal narrative about white supremacy as it relates to his own sense of loyalty and connection to his ...


The Sandman: The Artifice Of Comics And Power Of Dreams, Nathan Teft Apr 2019

The Sandman: The Artifice Of Comics And Power Of Dreams, Nathan Teft

Masters Theses

Neil Gaiman’s Vertigo Series The Sandman is an exceptional artistic endeavor. From “Preludes and Nocturnes”(1988) to “The Wake” (1996), Gaiman worked alongside a team of talented artists and graphic designers to produce an indelible work of revisionist mythology. This thesis will attempt to establish the framework by which our modern literary canon has celebrated classical Western myths while relegating graphic or visual forms of literature or outright neglecting comic myths altogether. Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics will frame the discourse for pictographic analysis of Neil Gaiman’s mythological revisionism of Milton’s Paradise Lost in Season of Mists ...


I Speak As One In Doubt, Margaret Hazel Wilson Jan 2019

I Speak As One In Doubt, Margaret Hazel Wilson

Masters Theses

A written thesis to accompany the M.F.A. Exhibition I Speak as One in Doubt. Blending epistolary format and visionary narrative, the artist addresses her complex relationship to her Catholic upbringing.


Existence Stories, Althea Keaton Jan 2019

Existence Stories, Althea Keaton

Masters Theses

Existence Stories is an interactive activist art project that gathers personal narratives from people about the ways in which their lives have been impacted by the current political climate in the United States, particularly surrounding the 2016 Presidential election and its aftermath. The project harnesses first-person narrative and audience participation as tools for humanizing the “Other” and building connections between people through the act of sharing stories. As the project has progressed over time, it has evolved in multiple directions and come to incorporate a variety of media, primarily comics, animation, printmaking, and zines. The roles that reproduction, distribution, and ...


Heritage Sites, Leah Burke Jan 2019

Heritage Sites, Leah Burke

Masters Theses

A written thesis to accompany the M.F.A. Exhibition Heritage Sites, in which vignettes of the artist’s personal and familial narratives become a backdrop for examining themes such as global tourism, the notion of universal heritage, and questioning Puerto Rico as a postcolonial place. A two channel short video layers archival imagery with original material to examine the ways Puerto Rico has been represented and misrepresented personally and globally.


A Natural Circus, Cecilia Plasencia Jun 2018

A Natural Circus, Cecilia Plasencia

Masters Theses

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have no interest in controlling and manipulating matter to my own heart’s content. I’m rather bored of rigidly perfect geometries and sentiments. Rather than controlling materials I allow them to do as they please. I capture their moment of revelation, and allow them to speak for themselves. I realize this process of making demotes me from creator to conduit, but I’ve noted that the materials have a far more unique and intelligent message than I could ever imagine.

So, I listen to matter. Matter has one very good friend ...


Journey Through The Wasteland, Songlin Li Jun 2018

Journey Through The Wasteland, Songlin Li

Masters Theses

I started planning this book at the end of last year, because I had to write it for my thesis, and also because I saw this as an opportunity to create, like making artwork. But the difference is that this does not look like my usual art, being only a book comprised of words and images.

From the end of last year to the beginning of this year, I experienced a terrible spiritual disillusionment and was caught in a cycle of depression and anxiety. Even though I was prepared to write this book last fall, I only really started in ...


Tightrope Walking On The Red Lines, Arghavan Khosravi Jun 2018

Tightrope Walking On The Red Lines, Arghavan Khosravi

Masters Theses

My work is deeply connected to my own personal experience of the culture and politics of my homeland of Iran. I was born and raised in Iran in a nonreligious family. I experienced the first decade after the 1979 Islamic Revolution as a child. The hardliners had taken power, society suffered tremendous suppression, and Iran was at war with Iraq. My memories are filled with so many occasions in which the dominance of the oppressive regime affected my daily life, from being forced to wear a headscarf in elementary school, to being required to pray and recite the Quran at ...


Wild Power, Iris Han Jun 2018

Wild Power, Iris Han

Masters Theses

Wild Power is a journey to understand myself by creating wearable pieces representing aspects of my character. A human body is limited physically and it cannot show the whole identity of a person. I have desired to empower myself and also express my complex innermost feelings by ornamenting my body with another layer. This aspiration has motivated me to make wearable objects with diverse and different qualities of beauty. Especially, I have thought for a long time about how fashion can strengthen a women’s power living under societal standards that treats gender differently. From this interest, my artwork naturally ...


Capes Make The Man, Khalid Mezaina Jun 2018

Capes Make The Man, Khalid Mezaina

Masters Theses

‘Capes Make The Man’ is a project that provided me with the opportunity to grow as a designer and an artist. Over the last two years at RISD, I’ve frequently asked myself questions about my place and role as a man in the United Arab Emirates, and what awaits when I move back after graduating. Using personal narratives and cultural symbols from home, I bring to life the archetypes I carry as a mature masculine – my king, warrior, magician, lover and dancer. The end result is a series of bold, wearable capes, resembling stage costumes worn by pop stars ...