College of Design Category
Justin LeBlanc, the NC State graduate and design professor who won fans and friends on Lifetime’s “Project Runway” last year, is previewing his spring/summer 2015 collection tonight with a show titled “Inaudible.”
In the collection LeBlanc, who is deaf and wears a cochlear implant, revisits the theme of his thesis show at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he explored communication between hearing and deaf people.
He describes the looks as upscale, casual and comfortable. No word on whether we’ll see anything like the gown made of tiny pipettes that wowed the judges last summer on the “Project Runway” finale, but the collection does include the use of 3-D printing, something that’s become a hallmark of LeBlanc’s style. You can buy one of LeBlanc’s 3-D printed bow ties on jleblancdesign.com.
LeBlanc has been busy since “Project Runway.” He spoke to students at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design about his transition from architecture to fashion, showed his 3-D printed fashion at the International CES Show in Las Vegas, Nev., and presented a collection last spring at Charleston Fashion Week. That was on top of teaching classes and serving as co-director of NC State’s own Art2Wear show.
The show is 7:30 p.m. Thursday at CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin St. Tickets can be purchased at camraleigh.org.
A sponsor of the event is Bida Manda restaurant, a Laotian restaurant in Raleigh owned by Vansana Nolintha, who was a Caldwell Fellow at NC State with LeBlanc. (We profiled Nolintha in the Autumn 2013 issue of NC State magazine.) Arts Access, a Raleigh-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to the arts to those with disabilities, will provide a sign language interpreter and an audio description of the event.
–Sylvia Adcock ’81
Visitors to Washington, D.C., will get their first look at the planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in 2017 when the memorial commemorating the 34th president of the United States opens across from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
While architect Frank Gehry was chosen to design the memorial, landscape architect and soil scientist Barrett Kays is concerned with a much deeper question — what in the world will go on underneath Eisenhower Square?
Kays, who graduated from NC State with a design degree in 1973 and with a Ph.D. in soil science in 1979, is one of the country’s leading experts in integrating soil science in the design of landscape architecture projects in urban areas. (NC State magazine profiled Kays in 1996 when he took on a project in New York City’s Central Park.)
He recently completed the construction documents for the manufactured custom soils and drainage system for the memorial’s site.
“At the Eisenhower Memorial, we have to control the moisture,” says Kays, president of the consulting firm Landis Inc. in Raleigh. “So we have to remove about 35,000 cubic yards of material from the site.”
A planned view from Eisenhower Square. (Photo courtesy of Eisenhower Memorial Commission.)
Kays will replace it with a custom blend of soils that, as he describes it, will drain well when it’s extremely wet and keep in enough moisture when it’s dry.
“Typically in the past, the way urban parks get destroyed is when you have these large events with a lot of people, when they occur after a large rainstorm event,” Kays says. “The National Mall was destroyed over and over in the 1960s. In Central Park, behind The Metropolitan Museum of Art, they would have a million people there at a time.”
But with technology and a focus on landscape architecture in urban planning, Kays says scientists have been able to have a large rain event with no runoff.
It used to be that students might take a year after college graduation to travel around before starting a job. But two architecture graduates, Brian Gaudio and Abe Drechsler, have decided to thread travel into their jobs and have gone to work for themselves.
Gaudio and Drechsler are the brains behind Within Formal Cities, a project in which they will study informal communities in South American cities and produce a documentary about the subject. The two were awarded the Duda Travel Scholarship, established by Linda and Turan Duda. Turan Duda is an NC State graduate and is a partner at Duda Paine Architects in Durham, N.C.
And Monday, Within Formal Cities launched a crowd-funding campaign to help raise money for their trip, which will take place in September and October.
Gaudio says he had spent a lot of time on service projects in the Dominican Republic, and that the cities of Bogota, Lima, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo seemed like the next logical step in studying how cities around the world will handle the next influx of people coming to them. Within Formal Cities’ website states that an estimated 1.41 billion more people will move to urban areas over the next 40 years.
“We chose South America for a few reasons. It’s closer, so you do more with the fellowship money,” Gaudio says. “South America has been dealing with these housing issues for a long time.
The pair will travel around the five South American cities and interview architects, community organizers and professors about how the respective city deals with housing challenges. They will identify a neighborhood and look at buildings built both by private citizens and by the government. They’ll also be shooting film for a film they’ll edit and release when they return.
“We’re really trying to do more than just study things for ourselves,” Gaudio says. “We think creative people like architects and designers have a lot to offer.
“Seventy percent of the world’s population will be living in cities. It’s going to be a very important challenge for the world.”
Visitors to the Dorothy and Roy Park Alumni Center can now enjoy artwork previously displayed at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design. With the renovation and expansion of Talley Student Union underway, the Gregg has had to put a vast majority of its collection into storage until a new facility for the museum is completed.
As a part of the fundraising effort to convert the former chancellor’s residence into an art museum, the Gregg Museum put together a campaign committee. One member of the committee, Bing Sizemore, a 1971 textile chemistry graduate, thought it would be a great idea to get some of the art from the Gregg to be displayed at the Alumni Center.
“He thought that if some people who visit the Alumni Center saw some of the pieces of our collection, they might be more likely to donate to our cause,” says Roger Manley, director of the Gregg Museum.
The Park Alumni Center had very little art on display when it opened in 2006. The only art initially was portraits of contributors who donated $1 million or more toward the construction of the Alumni Center. There are nine framed portraits in various rooms throughout the building.
“During the building process, it was kind of a ‘thank you’ to those contributors,” says Randy Ham, associate executive director of outreach and data at the Alumni Association. “The portraits hang in the rooms that were named after them.”
Choosing additional art for the public spaces on the first and second floors was set aside until a few years ago, when the Alumni Association reached out to the Gregg Museum about displaying artwork done by alumni. Those efforts were dropped until about a year ago, when Sizemore approached The State Club and the Alumni Association again. A final agreement was reached last year to get some of the art that would have gone into storage put up in the Alumni Center.
“Manley was given free reign to pick what he thought was appropriate,” Ham says.
The pieces he chose are everything from photographs to landscape paintings. Nearly all of the art is related to NC State or North Carolina in some way. Many of the pieces are from artists who are alumni of NC State.
U.S. soldier in rotor wash of Blackhawk helicopter, Afghanistan, 2002,archival pigment print, gift of Getty Images
The abstract paintings on the first floor were done by George Bireline, a professor at the College of Design from 1955 to 1986. The first floor also features several photographs by NC State alum Chris Hondros, an acclaimed war photographer who was killed in Libya in 2011.
The first floor is also the home for a few contemporary pastel paintings by Will Henry Stevens. While he wasn’t directly associated with the university, Stevens was known for his pastels that depicted rural Southern nature abstracts and landscapes. He used to vacation in the mountains near Asheville, which is where he spent most of his time painting these works.
House with Red Roof, ca. 1921-1948, pastel on paper, gift of Will Henry Stevens Memorial Trust
Another notable artist is Cora Kelley Ward, whose pastel abstracts are located on the second floor. She went to Black Mountain College, a well-known art school at the time. “When they decided to start a college of design here, they looked to that college and tried to make ours the same way,” Manley says.
The last artist showcased at the Alumni Center, on the second floor, is Maud Gatewood. Her abstract landscape paintings were chosen because they are meant to remind alumni of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“We wanted people to have different kinds of art that they could walk around and gravitate toward and enjoy in different ways,” Manley says.
The artwork is expected to stay in the Alumni Center for at least a few years. Ham and Manley would both like for collections to rotate, much like they do at the Gregg Museum, to keep the aesthetics fresh and interesting inside the Alumni Center.
“Our whole goal here is to make this a warm, welcoming, beautifully-decorated building for alumni to visit and consider their home on campus when they’re visiting,” Ham says.
– Sam O’Brien ’14
It used to be that job seekers didn’t need to worry about how they looked until they visited a company for a job interview or made the rounds at a career fair.
But like many other facets of life today, the hunt for a job now often takes place online. And that means that people looking for a job – or to switch jobs – need to be mindful of how they present themselves online.
“The hiring process has changed,” says Fiquet Swain, a 2000 graduate of NC State’s College of Design. “The first thing you do now is go online and go behind the scenes and check the person out.”
As the owner of Luxe Apothecary, a Raleigh beauty store, Swain knows a lot about helping women make a good first impression. So she has teamed up with another NC State alumna, photographer Lindsey Williams, to help other Wolfpack women who may be in the job market.
Swain and Williams are the speakers at an upcoming workshop hosted by the Alumni Association’s Career Services office and the Wake County Alumni Network. They will provide advice on how to best apply makeup for professional photos that can then be used on online sites such as LinkedIn. Williams will also talk about how to plan your wardrobe to get the best photo.
Attendees at the workshop will be entered for the chance to win a professional makeover by Swain and a photo shoot by Williams. The workshop will be held at Luxe Apothecary at 4209 Lassiter Mill Road in Raleigh. The cost is $10 for Alumni Association members and $15 for nonmembers. Registration is required.
“I do makeup for a living,” Swain says. “I know what photographs well. Like it or not, it’s now a big part of the hiring process and networking.”
Swain says that some women make the mistake of thinking that they won’t look professional if they use makeup.
“There’s nothing wrong with looking great,” she says. “People have progressed to the point that they can be attractive and serious. They are not going to be looking like they are going to a nightclub. It’s all a balance and about looking your best.”
Williams, a 2007 graduate of the College of Design, does portrait, wedding and equine photography. She welcomed the chance to give back to NC State and its alumni.
“It’s a great way to help women out, to give them something professional they can use,” Williams says. “I want to help people get the photo that they need, so they can have a professional look.”
NC State’s Kat Robichaud has been keeping busy since she left NBC’s “The Voice” last year, ending the season as one of the top 10 performers. The College of Design graduate is on her way to making her debut album, which she describes on her Kickstarter site as a “theatrical rock explosion.”
Kat Robichaud at Manifold Studios
Robichaud launched the Kickstarter effort on Feb. 3 with a goal of $20,000—and reached it in just three days. She’s now raised over $30,000 from over 600 donors, and will be recording the album at Manifold Studios in Pittsboro, N.C. where she’ll be assisted by Manifold’s chief engineer, NC State graduate Ian Schreier). She will continue soliciting backers through March 5.
She’s been putting together a core band (keyboard, drummer, bass, guitar) and hopes to include trumpet, string quartets and possibly guest artists as well with songs about love, heartbreak and even “Doctor Who” (Robichaud is a big fan). The album will be recorded this spring with a September release date.
Robichaud will be talking about her experience on “The Voice” and how her design education at NC State influenced her career on Friday, Feb. 28, at an appearance hosted by the College of Design. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Burns Auditorium in Kamphoefner Hall. It’s free, but space is limited so registration is required. Expect a few songs from Robichaud as well.
Here’s one way the 2006 graduate’s design background comes through: Robichaud created a portrait of Doctor Who using individually placed roses, and backers who pledge $75 toward her album can get a limited-edition print.
—Sylvia Adcock ’81
Abie Harris will turn 80 in early January, and his friends and colleagues at the Roundabout Art Collective in Raleigh have come up with a special way to celebrate the occasion and Harris’ long ties to NC State.
Harris is an NC State alumnus, having graduated with a degree in design in 1957. Following graduation, Harris won the prestigious Paris Prize in Architecture and was able to travel and study throughout Europe. He eventually returned to NC State as a professor in the College of Design and the university architect, a job that gave him a leading role in the development of Centennial Campus and the re-development of Main Campus.
But Harris is also an artist, focusing on drawing in pastels and acrylics since he retired from NC State in 1998. He is a charter artist at the Roundabout Art Collective, which will celebrate his 80th birthday with a retrospective of his life in art. The show, which opens on Jan. 3 as part of Raleigh’s First Friday festivities, will feature nearly 60 years of Harris’ drawings and paintings. Some of the drawings will be sketches of buildings on NC State’s campus that Harris did while he worked at the university. On Saturday, Jan. 4, Harris will open the studio and gallery in his home in Raleigh to showcase more of his works.
A drawing by Harris of the Parthenon from his travels as a recipient of the Paris Prize
“There are drawings that were part of my work as university architect,” Harris says. “There are a lot of travel sketches and recent paintings that I’ve done. It will have a lot of variety.”
Even in retirement, Harris has maintained his ties to NC State, walking across campus every day to work out in Carmichael Gym. It’s a campus that he helped shape and design.
When Harris was hired as the university architect, Chancellor John T. Caldwell was clear about his mission. “Caldwell charged me with making the campus a better looking place,” Harris recalls. “Looking back at it, I feel very satisfied that the campus is much nicer today than it was then.”
The Court of North Carolina, for instance, had a street running through it when Harris started working at NC State. “We have taken parking lots and made courtyards out of them,” he says. “The whole emphasis was on the spaces in between. That is something that is starting to mature and blossom.”
The creative energy that Harris brought to his work on campus is now directed into his art. He says that joining the Roundabout Art Collective — and surrounding himself with high-energy, creative people — has been a boon to his own productivity.
“I very much enjoy the process,” Harris says of his drawings and paintings. “I enjoy the finished product because it’s very seldom what I imagine it’s going to be. I’ve always enjoyed putting ink or color on paper and seeing how those interact and take on a life of its own.”
Harris recently took on the unusual challenge of drawing music. Yes, drawing music. Harris was challenged by a friend who performs in the N.C. Symphony to draw the Goldberg Variations, compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, during a recent performance by the symphony. So Harris drew the music — he ended up creating about 50 drawings (right) and paintings — while listening to the symphony perform. “That was fairly unusual,” he says.
Harris is excited about the upcoming retrospective.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself going through this process,” he says. “I like to draw and hope to continue to draw. I hope that people just appreciate that process.”
Kat Robichaud received her degree from NC State in graphic design in 2006 and then spent seven years touring with a glam rock band called The Design. After her band broke up last October, she got a call to audition for NBC’s The Voice.
Since then, her life has been a whirlwind as she flew back and forth from Raleigh to Los Angeles for auditions, then tapings and, finally, live shows. With audience votes and saves from the show’s coaches, she made it to the Top 10, no easy feat. If you want to hear Robichaud sing, she’ll be performing Friday on WUNC-FM’s “The State of Things” at noon (EST). (If you’re outside the listening area, you can hear the live stream by going to the show’s website.)
We sat down with Robichaud this week to talk about her experiences and her plans for the future.
What would surprise people most about the inner workings of the show? The way that it’s shot is pretty much how it is….Once you get to the live shows, though, time is really of the essence. We’d get a group song the day before the performance; it was like crunch time. We would have to go up there, learn our lyrics, do a good job, learn the choreography. … And you’re not sleeping very much. They’re constantly reminding you to take care of yourself, to get enough rest, to keep yourself hydrated, to take Vitamin C.
You wore some interesting costumes, from leather pants for Alanis Morrissette’s “You Oughta Know” to a flamenco-inspired dress for Pat Benatar’s “We Belong.” Did you pick out the clothes or did the show choose? Each person put together a “look book” of outfits we liked. I put pictures of David Bowie, Florence and the Machine, the Rocky Horror Picture Show… The head of the wardrobe department would go out shopping and come back with racks of clothing. I would say, “I don’t like this,’’ or “Oh, my god, I love this so much.” She really got me. And then the wardrobe fittings took four or five hours.
What were some of best coaching tips you received? There were two vocal coaches that we worked with….They are legends, they are fantastic. I learned — relearned, really — a lot of stuff that I’d forgotten. Proper warm-up techniques, loosening your jaw…. pushing from your diaphragm. CeeLo [Green, Robichaud’s celebrity coach] really wanted to be myself, which became harder and harder – but not because of the show. The show was always extremely supportive. It was like, “Kat wants to crowd surf? Let her do it.” …. The show was supportive; America wasn’t as supportive at times.
If you had stayed on the show, what would your next song have been? “Applause” by Lady Gaga. It would have been awesome.
Do people in Raleigh recognize you? We were at the flea market. Some lady jumped out, “I know you — you did a great job on The Voice! ” and then she disappeared back into the circle. Some people don’t realize I’m not really like that famous, and they think they can’t talk to you…We had a waitress the other night, and at the very end of the meal, she’s like, “I hope I’m not bothering you…” We’re like, “Dude do you want to sit down with us? Do you want a glass of wine?” Because this is actually super enjoyable for me.
What’s next? Are you going to be The Voice finale show? I am leaving Monday for L.A. to prepare for the reunion show Dec. 17. The Top 20 will all be performing… And I am writing a new album. I’ve got some great material. I’m going to go on tour. So it’s write, tour, be happy.
—Sylvia Adcock ’81
Jessica Roush, a 2010 NC State graduate living in Milwaukee, Wis., has been listening to public radio for as long as she can remember.
“My parents are pretty avid NPR listeners. Growing up we would listen in the car and on road trips,” says Roush, who works as a textile designer for Kohl’s department stores.
So when Roush heard about the My Sound World competition on Threadless, an online site that designs and sells clothing, she jumped at the chance to design the official T-shirt for NPR.
Roush’s design, “NPR: Plugged In,” features a pair of over-the-ear headphones topped with urban, suburban and rural landscapes and the cord spelling out NPR below. It was inspired by how Roush listens at work.
A few weeks later, her design was selected out of more than 150 submissions as the winner. She was at work when she received the email.
“It was fantastic, I was completely flabbergasted,” Roush says. “I totally screamed at work and everybody kind of gathered around my desk. I assumed I wasn’t going to win anything, so it came as a huge surprise.”
In addition to having her design sold as the official NPR T-shirt, Roush won a cash prize, Threadless gift credit, a special edition iPod dock, an autographed copy of “This is NPR” and a private tour of NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Roush plans to take the trip over her Christmas vacation and is looking forward to visiting the NPR music office, home of the Tiny Desk Concert series, and putting faces with the names of some of her favorite radio personalities.
“I really lucked out,” Roush says. “A lot of people I know that have entered on Threadless have dozens of entries that don’t win and sometimes you just luck out, so I was really fortunate.”
Though Roush designed for NC State’s Art2Wear in 2009 and double-majored in art and design and textile technology, she says designing the shirt was different than any of the work she did at State, where she was an Anni Albers Scholar.
“In school it was more print pattern-based and more dying and weaving and things like that,” Roush says. “It wasn’t until after I graduated that I started to do more graphics.”
She says designing a T-shirt for a Threadless competition was also different than the work she does at Kohl’s.
“It’s a younger audience and a younger buyer versus Kohl’s,” Roush says. “I don’t get to do as many younger or kid-friendly designs.”
Roush says entering design competitions on Threadless is a way for her to do some “work outside of work” and broaden her portfolio.
Though she had only entered a few times before winning the NPR contest, Roush says she plans to enter many more in the future.
Roush’s “NPR: Plugged In” T-shirt is available online in the NPR shop.
A little over a year ago, Susannah Brinkley and a friend launched an experiment. They hoped that it would help them — and others — learn a lot more about all the cool places and amazing people that can be found in the Triangle. All they needed was a smart phone, an Instagram account and the help of hundreds of strangers.
And guess what? It worked.
Susannah Brinkley, with some of the photos (below) she shared from her recent day with the baton.
Brinkley, a 2011 graduate of NC State’s College of Design, and her friend, Brittany Iery, recently celebrated the first anniversary of RDU Baton. Brinkley and Iery describe RDU Baton as a collaborative photo project in which strangers with only one thing in common — their love of the Triangle — spend a day taking photos of places and people that make Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill special to them. They then use Instagram to share those photos with the 2,000 people who follow RDU Baton online before handing off the virtual baton to someone else to do the same thing the next day.
“It’s a neat way to discover new parts of where you live,” says Brinkley, a freelance graphic designer. “I had lived in Raleigh for six years, and had my own little corner. It’s really nice to be opened up to other people’s little corner.”
When Brinkley took the baton recently to celebrate RDU Baton’s first anniversary, she shared photos of the “Listening Vessels” near the Brickyard, a cup of coffee she enjoyed at Scratch Bakery in Durham, a view of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and the pizza she enjoyed at Lilly’s Pizza in Raleigh’s Five Points for lunch.
Others have recently shared photos of an alley in downtown Raleigh, a scene from the Kings & Queens Bowling League and the insides of a gym in Seaboard Station. One recent “runner” proudly posted a photo of an NC State cup. “Gotta show some pack pride,” she wrote. “I’m so glad to be part of this wonderful community of Raleigh. I have met some truly amazing people here!”
About 250 people took turns holding the baton during the first year. Brinkley and Iery manage the project in their spare time, so they only hand the baton out on weekdays. They also ask that those holding the batons steer clear of an Instagram staple – the selfie (or self portrait, for those not familiar with the term).
“We want people to enjoy their day with the baton,” Brinkley says. “We want to see a normal day in their life, showcasing the things they like to do.”
There are a few other rules — post only photos you took during your day with the baton, don’t post more than 6 to 8 photos during your day, and write captions to let others know what they are seeing — but Brinkley and Iery otherwise leave it up to each day’s photographer to decide what to shoot and share.
“Personally, I like to hear their stories,” Brinkley says.
Brinkley and Iery got the idea from a similar project in New York known, appropriately enough, as NYCbaton. They got permission to start a similar site in the Triangle, and have been surprised and pleased with the results so far.
“We like to watch where the baton is going,” Brinkley says. “One time we were out to eat together, and we looked on Instagram and someone had posted from the same restaurant where we were. That’s so awesome.”
RDU Baton has tilted toward Raleigh, Brinkley says, with few submissions from people in Durham and Chapel Hill. Brinkley says she hopes that changes, and that they welcome “runners” from anywhere in the Triangle. Slots in November have already been assigned and there are about 30-40 people are on a list waiting their turn with the baton.
Brinkley moved to Charlotte, N.C., earlier this year. But she has no plans to abandon RDU Baton, at least for the foreseeable future. She enjoys being known as a “baton girl.”
“It’s cool,” she says, “that people are excited about it.”