MassArt Illustration

October 16, 2017
by alice.stanne

Kingdom Animalia: Illustrations from New England Exhibit

by Professor Suzanne BarnesThis month, I had the unexpected pleasure of being invited to exhibit in “Kingdom Animalia: Illustrations from New England” at the art gallery at Eastern Connecticut University, August 31, 2017 – October 12, 2017. Included in the exhibit were two of my former students, Skarlett Prittie and Liveta Lapinskaite, as well as my colleague Prof. Scott Bakal. The FAIC gallery is brand new, impressively designed, and spacious, with high ceilings and lots of floor to ceiling glass.

Emily Handlin, coordinator for gallery & museum operations at Eastern, beautifully curated the exhibit. “The motivation for the exhibition was Eastern’s new illustration concentration, which began last year,” said Handlin. “I hope that the exhibition would introduce illustration students to the wide range of media, techniques, styles and markets within the field. New England is home to so many wonderful illustrators, many of whom are dedicated educators themselves – I also wanted to showcase their work.”Here’s something about art education. I could lock a student in a room, throw away the key, and keep slipping sandwiches under the door until they’d made one hundred drawings or paintings. By then, they’d be pretty good, even though I’d never said a word. Who among us would want to do that though?

What happens instead is that we spend several hundred hours together over the span of three years. A student listens to me talk about art in general and their work specifically, while I poke them to try a particular thing that they might not want to try or think they can’t do. Then maybe they try it and maybe it turns out great, or maybe it doesn’t, and we pick up from there. While I am talking, listening, poking, my colleagues are doing the same, and by the time we have passed a student along our line, they’ve produced a body of work they could not have made on the day they entered MassArt. That is a teacher’s real pay.

Consequently, I felt exceptionally rich and extraordinarily proud at this exhibit. My twig sharing green herons hung to the left of Prof. Bakal’s fat red and tiny blue birds, both of our birds beneath Liveta Lapinskaite’s colorful toucan tunnel book.
My series of small books about claws and snouts was displayed in a plexiglas vitrine directly in front of Skarlett Prittie’s monumental passenger pigeon, a piece I’d watched Skarlett work on in the ninth floor studio hallway for two months. Now here we were.Decades ago, my teacher Barney Rubenstein, who studied with Oskar Kokoschka, taught me things that Oskar taught him. I teach these same things to my students, and some who are now teachers pass Oskar’s knowledge to their students, along with their own accumulated wisdom. This is how artists have taught one another for centuries, in a long chain that stretches back to French caves. As artists, we make art in part to leave something of ourselves behind. As teachers, we leave something equally important behind in our students, who become working artists and links in the chain, and continue to pass us all forward. It’s a pretty noble profession.

October 3, 2017
by alice.stanne

Professor Linda Bond’s Solo Exhibition Opens

The Human Rights Institute Gallery at Kean University welcomes Linda Bond’s exhibition After-Effects: Beyond the Shadow of War (Sept 5 – Dec 20, 2017). Bond’s art work exemplifies the Institute’s longstanding efforts to promote the awareness of human rights issues and violations across the globe. Our obligation to teach, to educate and most importantly, to act on behalf of the powerless is beautifully expressed in this extensive body of work. Included in this ten year retrospective is her One to One project, a collaboration with women in Afghanistan. The project highlights the importance of educating women worldwide – especially in conflict areas – as a means of stabilizing and empowering communities. Other compelling works addressing issues of war and unrest are examined in drawings, prints, collages, 3D installations and videos.

September 25, 2017
by alice.stanne

MassArt Travel Course in Baseline Magazine

by Associate Professor Scott Bakal

My colleague Elizabeth Resnick who is Professor Emeritus in MassArt’s Graphic Design department as well as an author and designer and I co-teach a travel course. The course is called Crossing the Pond: Exploring Communication Design in London and Dublin. We take graphic design and illustration students (usually 50/50) to the UK and Ireland for about 17 days for museum and studio visits. During these visits the students see lectures from some of the most prolific and world renown designers and illustrators in the region. The focus of the course being; what are the differences and similarities between the U.S. and other countries in their use of design and illustration as well as experiencing life in these two countries.

The last trip we held was in the Spring of 2016 and this Fall, we will begin the process of organizing the next UK trip for the Spring of 2019. For this upcoming trip, we will be centering the trip exclusively in the UK but spending time in three cities – London, Cambridge and Leeds.

During a previous course trip, Elizabeth and I met with Hans Dieter Reichert, Publisher of Baseline.

The magazine has an education section and we discussed how are trip can be formulated into a story. After we got through the trip, Elizabeth and I spent a few weeks writing the article and sent it in and am excited to announce that the current issue with our students and trip concept and details are live!

You can download the full article PDF here.

2016 London Dublin Class

It is a wonderful trip and highly curated experience for the students. We hit the ground running from the very day we land. Often visiting two to three studios a day as well as cultural visits such as the V&A Museum in London, Chester Beatty Gallery in Dublin. We also purchase tickets to plays running at the time so they have cultural experiences outside of only graphic design and illustration and there is always one day in each country that the students can explore the country on their own.

Annie Atkins

Highlights for the trips include visiting Pentagram UK and a talk from brilliant designer Harry Pearce; visiting St. Bride’s and seeing original sketches for Gill Sans, pages from the Book of the Dead and a complete first book printed in English from the 1400’s; visiting Annie Atkins studio in Dublin (she creates the graphics for TV shows and movies such as the Grand Budpest Hotel, The Tudors and others and all of the newspapers, signage, etc. for the sets. Further, while in Dublin, the students saw lectures from illustrators Steve SimpsonAlan Clarke and Sarah Bowie which were wonderful. After the lectures, the artists had a meet-up with the Irish Illustrators Guild and invited all of the students to a local pub to top off the rest of the evening.

This is only to list a fraction of the itinerary.

I am incredibly proud and honored to work with Elizabeth on this course and hope to expand it in the near future. My goal is to have a course like this run every year. I am very thrilled that I have the ability through MassArt to give students once-in-a-lifetime experiences traveling abroad. In many cases, not only is it students first trip outside of New England, but out of the country.

We look forward to students coming to the information sessions next Fall! Spread the word!

Baseline Article: You can download the full article PDF here.

June 13, 2017
by alice.stanne

Professional Artist Magazine Featuring Faculty and Alumni

The June/July issue of Professional Artist Magazine features an article by Visiting Lecturer John Roman, “Go for the Gold: The Artist as Athlete.” The article focuses on the challenges a freelance artist faces in a variety of markets and the satisfaction achieved by reaching a successful goal.

The article also features work by several MassArt illustration alumni, who have gone on to work in a variety of fields.Becca Cahan (BFA ’13), Illustrator Specializing in Illustrated Lettering

Laura DeDonato (BFA ’08) , Mural Artist

Leah Klein (BFA ’11), Graphic Designer

Frank Koran, Gallery Artist

The June/July issue of Professional Artist Magazine is now available online and at your local bookstores.

February 22, 2017
by alice.stanne

Faculty News

Robert Maloney – Official Unveiling and Ribbon Cutting for Haffenreffer Chimney Restoration Project

On Thursday, March 2, Illustration faculty member Robert Maloney was honored at the official unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony for his public art work, the HAFFENREFFER CHIMNEY RESTORATION PROJECT. Held by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation at the old Haffenreffer Brewery Complex, the event drew a lively supportive crowd including nearly two dozen members of the Haffenreffer family

Robert Maloney is a MassArt alum, with a BFA in Illustration and an MFA from the MassArt Boston Low-Residency Program where his Haffenreffer Chimney Restoration Project originated in 2014. His engagement with the initial concept expanded and resulted in an ongoing endeavor that took three more years to realize.

For the public unveiling Boston Mayor Martin Walsh was in attendance. In his speech he congratulated Robert and proclaimed Thursday, March 2 as HAFFENREFFER BREWERS DAY in the city of Boston. Other guest speakers included Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley, Richard Thal executive director of the JPNDC, and Carl Nord from the George B. Henderson Foundation/Historic New England which awarded funding to the project. Margot Zurakowska, Illustration chair, paid a heartfelt tribute to Robert on behalf of the Illustration Department and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She spoke of Robert’s accomplishments as both an artist and teacher and congratulated him on making MassArt’s commitment to a rich engagement with Boston neighborhoods visible with his community based public artwork.


John Roman – ‘The Artist’s Personal Grail Quest’ in Professional Artist Magazine

Visiting Lecturer John Roman from the Illustration Dept. has a feature article in the current issue of Professional Artist magazine (February/March, 2017). “The Artist’s Personal Grail Quest” explains how an ancient myth continues to guide and inspire all creative people through their careers. The magazine is in bookstores now and can be found at any Barnes and Noble, or it can be downloaded from the Professional Artist website.

November 14, 2016
by alice.stanne

The Art of Awards


Wojciech Wolynski has been teaching in the Illustration Department at MassArt for 19 years. One special contribution from Wojciech has been his many delightful Faculty Special Recognition Awards that are presented to a handful of students at the end of the year to acknowledge exceptional achievement. The entire Illustration faculty votes to choose which students will receive an award.

Most of us do not get to see these witty and beautiful certificates, so here they are!

Wojciech Wolynski Award Certificates

November 1, 2015
by alice.stanne

The Art of Illustrated Maps

Visiting Lecturer John Roman’s book The Art of Illustrated Maps has just been released. John’s book correlates not-to-scale maps as “the creative nonfiction of cartography,” and in this book he reveals how and why the human mind instinctively accepts the artistic license invoked in imaginative maps. Drawing from a wide range of references, The Art of Illustrated Maps traces the roots of this specialized art form’s two-thousand-year history, and through the works of numerous contemporary illustrators from around the world, documents the creative process of professional map artists as well as the inspirations behind 21st-century illustrated maps. The publication includes a map by Illustration senior Dom Civiello, whose piece was featured back in April when it was selected to be included in The Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Show.



On October 23rd the book was launched at the Boston Public Library’s Norman B. Leventhal Map Center with an artist’s talk sponsored by the Boston Map Society.

September 14, 2015
by alice.stanne

Professor Scott Bakal Honored

Regarded as the most prestigious magazines on art and design, Professor Scott Bakal was recently interviewed for the September/October issue of Communication Arts magazine about his work and life as an illustrator.
Additionally, a week before the current semester began, Professor Bakal’s Dim Stars: Pollution Series of 9 paintings which have been awarded by American Illustration, 3×3, the Society of Illustrators and Lurzuer’s 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide was acquired by the New Britain Museum of American Art for their permanent collection.

The New Britain Museum, founded in 1903, is the first museum strictly dedicated to American Art in the country. Further, the Sanford B. D. Low Memorial Illustration Collection, begun in 1964 and comprising more than 1,700 works, is the nation’s first museum-based collection covering the history of American illustration from the 19th century to the present.
12-0525-TitleTK-Search copy

To see the entire Pollution series, visit here. And you can download the 8 page Communication Arts profile here.

August 24, 2015
by alice.stanne

Professor Irena Roman’s Art Added to Rockwell Collection

Professor Irena Roman’s original watercolors created for the children’s book A Mother’s Wish (Harper Collins, 2006) have been acquired by The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts for their permanent collection of contemporary illustration.


Deputy Director/Chief Curator Stephanie Plunkett states the museum  “looks forward to preserving and presenting all twenty five paintings for many years to come.” The watercolors will be on display in the Rockwell’s new acquisitions gallery later this season.


January 30, 2015
by alice.stanne

Black Walnut Ink; My Attraction with Extraction

Written by Visiting Lecturer Ric Allendorf

IMG_8479“Inking is meditation in liquid form.”   – J.H. Everett

Snow is piling-up crisp and white, like paper. Another semester returns and I’m swept in the anticipation of teaching two more sections of Media Techniques; a course that creates the perfect environment for students to connect with new materials and movement, deconstruct their discomforts and habits, then liberate a steadier and more distinct voice of expression.

Muscles move the medium; medium moves the message.

To prepare for classes, I often begin with a forensic-level of curiosity about the materials. The more that is known about ingredients and properties of a given medium, the more we can encourage known behaviors – or introduce a catalyst to resist, distort, or deviate from the expected flow.

These discoveries find their way back to the class either in the form of a demo, an exercise prompt, or as actual supplies that I’m anxious to share. In recent years, students and some faculty have been on the receiving end of my obsession with homemade black walnut ink.

Continue reading to learn more about black walnut ink.

Continue Reading →