Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jason Schupbach is the New Director of Design at the NEA

Jason Schupbach became the Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts at the end of May, 2010. He will manage the NEA's grantmaking for design and the NEA's design initiatives, such as the Mayors' Institute on City Design as well as the proposed Our Town, which is part of the NEA FY 2011 budget request and would provide funding in recognition of the role that the arts can play in economic revitalization and in creating livable, sustainable communities. (Click on the heading above to read about NEA design initiatives.)

Schupbach was formerly the Creative Economy Industry Director (the first in the country) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in charge of the growth and support of design businesses. He also was the Capital Projects Manager for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

From 2004 to 2008, Schupbach was director of ArtistLink, where he managed a statewide artist space development technical assistance initiative that resulted in the creation of more than 60 projects in 20 communities for a total of 350 units of live/work spaces and more than 500,000 square feet of artist space. In addition, he managed the first ever artist housing predevelopment grant program, giving out $50,000 in awards.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Disney's Influence on Manga

Traditional art teachers hate it when student drawings start showing large eyes typical of the Manga style popular among young people today. Few know that the Manga style was heavily influenced by Disney style cartoons.

Traditional Japanese manga and animation begins with Disney's Scrooge McDuck and a low-level Disney animator back In 1935, An "in betweener" at Disney named Carl Barks, though not the creator, drew the Donald Duck that became the most popular images of him.

Bark's artistic style of his Uncle Scrooge comics (left) in the post-WWII era found their way into the hands of Japanese anime legend Osamu Tezuka, the nationally beloved "God of Manga" and the father of Mighty Atom (Astro Boy in English) (right). Tezuka was heavily influenced by Disney, and though his influences include Bambi (which he saw a reported 80 times), Mickey Mouse, and Betty Boop, his strong, bold line-work most resembles that of Carl Barks. The big eyes and small mouths have became a staple of the cutesy style of manga and anime still today.

Click on the heading above to read a full article by Tiffany Martin for the Escapist.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Allan Savory Wins 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

Biologist Allan Savory has won the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge was created to mirror Buckminster Fuller's enthusiasm for problem solving using a variety of methods.

Allan Savory (right) is an advocate for what he calls holistic management. The Zimbabwean biologist won for his concept Operation Hope, a plan that seeks to rebuild damaged or struggling grasslands by using grazing animals to thin out decay and move seeds around. The loss of productivity following destruction of agricultural land in Africa is referred to as "desertification."

The revolutionary concept is that, while many environmentalists argue that livestock grazing is harmful to the environment, Savory argues that it can have positive effects. The animals eat dead plants, which can block light required to reach seeds. Leaving those plants to decay on their own doesn't happen fast enough to offset desertification, he says.

The trick is to let grazing animals roam large areas, as they did thousands of years ago, rather than confine them to small parcels, as many industrial farms do. Spreading them out prevents damage to the landscape. Savory even advocates introducing predators like wolves to farms, to insure the herd keeps moving.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Savory Institute.

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Inspires Designers

One of the main activities of the Buckminster Fuller Institute is to coordinate the annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

Each year a jury awards a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

Buckminster Fuller's prolific life of exploration, discovery, invention and teaching was driven by his intention “to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone.”

Fuller coupled this intention with a pioneering approach aimed at solving complex problems. This approach, which he called “comprehensive anticipatory design science”, combined an emphasis on individual initiative and integrity with whole systems thinking, scientific rigor and faithful reliance on nature's underlying principles. The designs he is best known for (the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion house, car, and map, and the global electric grid) were part of a visionary strategy to redesign the inter-related systems of shelter, transportation and energy.

After decades of tracking world resources, innovations in science and technology, and human needs, Fuller asserted that options exist to successfully surmount the crises of unprecedented scope and complexity facing all humanity – he issued an urgent call for a design science revolution to make the world work for all.

Entries must be:
Comprehensive — applies a whole systems approach to all facets of the design and development process; aims to simultaneously address multiple goals, requirements, conditions and issues;
Anticipatory — factoring in critical future trends and needs as well as projected impacts of implementation in the short and long term;
Ecologically responsible — reflecting nature's underlying principles while enhancing the Earth’s life-support systems;
Feasible — relying on current know-how, technology and existing resources;
Verifiable — able to withstand rigorous empirical testing;
Replicable — able to scale and adapt to a broad range of conditions.

The winning strategy should integrate all these criteria into a powerful catalyst having the potential to play a significant role in the transition to an equitable and sustainable future for all.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

Bucky Fuller provides inspiration to young designers

Knowing the history of design is not just some academic exercise but serves to provide inspiration for future designers. Young people need to know about great designers of the past so that they have role models to inspire them to become designers of the future.

Bucky Fuller is one of those influential designers young people may not know about unless we make them aware of his influence on the world.

R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) (left) was one of the great American creative thinkers of the 20th century. As a philosopher, futurist, designer, inventor, and an early advocate for alternative energy, Fuller is probably best known as the originator of the geodesic dome (right), but his theories and innovations involved fields ranging from mathematics, engineering, and environmental science to literature, architecture, and visual art.

Fuller was one of the great transdisciplinary thinkers and made no distinction between the disciplines as discrete areas of study. He devoted much of his life to connecting the sciences and the humanities because he felt this disconnection prevented a comprehensive view of the world. He believed in the significant interconnectedness of all things and concluded that certain basic structures and systems underlie everything in our world. Today his prophetic concepts are a touchstone for discussions of issues including environmental conservation, the manufacture and distribution of housing, and global organization of information.