My experience at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design put some icing on the cake, as I was coming off five hot years of “wingin’ it” Out West. I had learned a lot on my own, but always felt there was a unattended-to lapse in my academic career. I wanted to finish school up, for the sake of completion, for me, and wanted to see if I could cut it in the big leagues.
Folks like Jerry Allan, Santiago Piedrafita, Jan Jancourt and Kali Nikitas guided this reckless energy into a big city, hi-falutin’ design degree.
Jerry Allan taught me how to look at things in different ways. This skill, forever to be honed into something involuntary and automatic. His genuine positivity, vast knowledge of technique and form dynamics and willingness to accept ALL students are fondly remembered for that one 3D class I was lucky enough to have taken with him.
Santiago Piedrafita once went to the length of cursing out the whole class and exclaiming, “Go be lawyers or a insurance salesman or something…,” and concluded the sermon with a couple steamy expletives and stormed off. Class was dismissed-and rightly so-due to a lack of “work up on the wall” to be discussed. That was a tough moment, but taught all us a crucial lesson: “Don’t waste people’s time.” He was there to help us, and a lot of those fuckers didn’t have work to show, so he let us all have it, and hard.
Santiago’s worldly quality, contemporary design awareness and contagious energy still continues to inspire me when we cross paths back in big city Minneapolis.
Jan Jancourt has “good hair.” (Or so all the gals in class had to say.) His support and guidance and overall ability to make a kid feel like a colleague instead of a student created a welcoming air of one-to-one respect. I always found his insight and critique valuable.
Kali Nikitas in the most basic of Typography classes. Abrasive and condescending (involuntary, I’d like to think) are an interesting way to win over an eager, excited student. She’s a tough cookie and even if I don’t agree with some of her methods of driving a point home, I do gigantically respect her love and commanding knowledge of typographic rules and finesse.
Plain and simple, she taught me a skill set that will forever resonate with every type decision I make. Plus, she wore this interesting foil sweater deal that was always good for some perplexing thought.
Ben Clemence in the Woodworking Shop had an amazing amount of patience and calm in that big, loud-possibly dangerous-environment. He taught me some lifelong woodworking techniques.
Pam Arnold of Designworks always had a pat on the back for me, and an inspiring optimism about the profession, and the opportunities for me out there in the big, wide, real world.
Fellow students like Ryno Simonson, Matt Cooley, PJ Chmiel, Michael Godfrey, Kurt Halsey Frederiksen, Matt Rezac, Chad Kloepfer, Geoff Schley, Andy Maniotes, Atsushi, Bryan Haker, Will Staehle, Justin Israels, Jamie Pulley, Charlie Ross, Brad Randall, Michael Gaughan and Jason Miller were all “pretty good to me.”
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