Where will an education in art and design take you?

April
22
2014

For the first wave of Savannah College of Art and Design alumni snapshots that we're featuring on Thread this week, here's a sampling from the Northeast. Whether they happen to be your geographical neighbors, or hail from your graduating class, read on to find out what these alumni are doing now, their perspectives on their profession and advice for aspiring artists and designers.

 

Chuck Chewning, 1986

B.F.A., Historic Preservation/Interior Design

Where are they now: Creative director at Donghia and design director at Studio Rubelli in New York City.

One word that describes time at SCAD: Transformative

Favorite SCAD memory: Being put in charge of the SCAD Christmas tree with SCAD alum Cuffy Hise Sullivan for the Savannah Festival of Trees.

Biggest changes in the field since graduation: The interior design field has become more competitive, being challenged by do-it-yourself retailers, television design shows and the Internet. The days of exclusivity to trade only resources and the value of professional design services is fading and more difficult to justify. There still are those clients that understand and aspire to hire expert designers.

Advice to students: View yourself as a brand. You are competing with thousands of other people in your field. Understand your strengths and exploit them. Package yourself so that you set yourself apart from the competition. To achieve this you must work incredibly hard, constantly.

Living Room of the Guggenheim Suite after the restoration of the Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy
Living Room of the Guggenheim Suite from the recent restoraion of the Gritti Palace in Venice, Italy.

 

Bernard Urban, 1988

B.F.A., Advertising/Film

Where are they now: President and creative director at Gigantic, a digital branding agency that works with Fortune 1000 brands in New York City.

One word that describes time at SCAD: Vivid

Favorite SCAD memory: Photo critiques with Pete Christman.

Biggest changes in the field since graduation: Computers — the most wonderful and terrible things ever invented.

Advice to students: Don’t chase your dreams. Relentlessly hunt them down.


MODERN is a feature film Bernard has written and plans to direct later this year. The screenplay was named an Official Selection at the 2014 Charleston International Film Festival. 

 

Michael Phillippi, 1997/2004

B.F.A., Sequential Art/M.F.A., Illustration

Where are they now: Senior concept artist and illustrator at Mythic Studio in Washington, D.C.

One word that describes time at SCAD: Productive

Favorite SCAD memory: Getting to know my professors as peers.

Biggest changes in the field since graduation: Digital painting

Advice to students: Be self-motivated and drive your own career.


"Dwarf Forge" concept environment digital drawing

 

Alexander Hammer, 2006

M.F.A., Film and Television

Where are they now: Editor and director for films, music videos and performances, residing in New York City.

One word that describes time at SCAD: Chrysalis

Favorite SCAD memory: Transforming what is now Savannah's Premiere Craft Beer & Gastropub, The Distillery, from a condemned derelict warehouse into the fantastical world of "The Distant Journey."

Biggest changes in the field since graduation: Because of 'accessibility' now, more than ever before, we are overly saturated by media (from 'big money' to iPhone home video) with constant stimuli loudly grasping for attention in every way possible. While this may garner exposure, 'more' doesn't equal quality, but rather becomes white noise in a world of shorter and shorter attention spans. However, I have seen this push the greats to be greater because the good stuff still stands out, but it is just harder to spot.

Advice to students: Don't strive to make 'more', instead make 'great', which will be more meaningful and rise above the noise.


 

Bryan Gardner, 2006

B.F.A., Photography

Where are they now: Photographer for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in New York City.

One word that describes time at SCAD: Inspiring


Favorite SCAD memory: The night I met my wife, best friend and love of my life.
 
Biggest changes in the field since graduation: The biggest change is technology over all. When I was graduating, the photo depart was pretty new to digital. They still had a color darkroom. Now, to take a photo you just pull out your smart phone and upload it to Instagram, which I love. As technology changes, more and more options of how you can accomplish taking and sharing a great photo become available and that is a very exciting aspect of this industry.

Advice to students: You should always be trying to improve your craft, reach out to everyone you know, put in your time and don't think you're "too good" for anything. Good things will come.

Colorful food photography by Bryan.

 

Ariel Ray Lilly + Christina Coniglio, 2009

B.F.A., Fashion Design

Where are they now: Co-founders of Rae Francis in New York City.

One word that describes time at SCAD: MAGIC

Favorite SCAD memory: Meeting each other at SCAD and launching Rae Francis because of it!!!

Biggest changes in the field since graduation: The biggest change we have seen in fashion is a huge push in young design. We are so lucky to be a part of fashion right now, where consumers are really inspired and interested in up and coming brands.

Advice to students: Never say "no" to an opportunity because you never know where it may lead you.


Two designs from RaeFrancis' most recent spring lookbook.

 

Katherine Barron, 2012

B.F.A., Fashion Design

Where are they now: Womenswear designer in New York City.

One word that describes time at SCAD: Exhausting

Favorite SCAD memory: Spending the day with designer Ralph Rucci at his NYC atelier.

Biggest changes in the field since graduation: No notable change that I have seen.

Advice to students: FIND A JOB.


Katherine's design of a hand embellished, felted cashmere coat.


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Snapshots of SCAD alumni in the West and the Midwest
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