September 09, 2014
What's your earliest memory of making art?
When I was two or three, I had discovered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had made a drawing for my dad of all the different turtles telling him all about them. He still has that drawing somewhere, I think.
Did you take a lot of art classes in high school?
I did. I've also played violin since I was three, so both art and music were a big part of my high school career. I ended up having to give up both of my free periods, which included lunch, my senior year to take AP art and meet the requirements to stay in the chamber group for orchestra.
Why did you choose to attend an art + design school?
I was actually inspired by my girlfriend to apply to CIA for some facet of design, as I was bouncing around between majors and schools, unsure what I wanted to do with my life. She told me to apply to CIA, as she had just finished her first year, and the rest is history.
What made you choose CIA?
After I started talking to family about it I knew I was really in for something special. My aunt is an admissions counselor at a private high school in Texas, and I was shocked to find out she and a majority of her colleagues recommended arts-focused students to CIA.
What made you choose your major?
The department head, Mike Gollini. I was unsure which facet of design to go into, but after speaking with Mike, I chose to go with Interior Architecture. He was so direct and to the point, and listed out the goals he had for us. I've always been fascinated with architecture even as a kid; I actually asked for my ninth or tenth birthday just to spend a night in a cool hotel.
Is having your own studio important to your education? And how about interaction with classmates, is that important to your education?
Having my own studio is hugely important to me. Having your own studio really helps you to prepare for the real world, as that's what it's like, working around people, getting advice and feedback. Plus, it's a great way to help you stay on task, since you can focus just on work when you're at the studio, and relax when you get some time at home. And of course, being around your classmates is great and creates some strong bonds.
How are your relationships with CIA faculty different than your relationships with your high school teachers?
I'd like to say the relationships are on more of a professional friendship. They don't treat you just like a student; sometimes you feel more like a colleague. And since you get to spend a whole day with them in studio as opposed to a few hours a day, you get to know each other on a more personal level.
Have you had any internships? If so, where and how did you like it?
I've had two, during the summer of my sophomore and junior years. Sophomore year was at a local exhibit design firm called Gallo Design. It wasn't exactly exciting, but it was a nice glimpse of what the professional world is like, having to build projects within a budget and working with a team. Junior year I went down to Dayton to work with Interbrand Design Forum. I really loved being down there, as they really got you in the thick of projects even as an intern. Over the summer I was put to work with a multitude of teams, non-stop being bounced around from one project to the other; it was great! Every week a senior designer and myself would sit down and look at my work, and then look at my junior portfolio from just a month ago and notice how much I had improved.
What one thing about the CIA experience surprised you the most?
The dedication of the students. It was fantastic to come in early, walk by the studios and see people there, already working. Then you'd get a little group together and stay up late working together, and it really built a sense of camaraderie. There's such a friendly sense of competition that you build, not that you want to best the others, but that you know by challenging each other you'll all improve.
How do you like Cleveland?
I think Cleveland's pretty great. It has a lot to offer, a lot more than most think. Having the Cleveland Museum of Art and Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland right across the street is a great inspiration, and all the other attractions like the Science Center and Rock Hall are pretty cool in their own regard.
What would you say to a high school student considering attending CIA?
If you are willing to work hard, the connections and experience you'll gain from going to CIA are unlike anywhere else. Through working with a bunch of projects sponsored by design firms, I've spoken to a lot of professionals that have told me "When we see CIA on the resume, it's guaranteed to get us to take a good look at you."
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