All courses LAS and studio were essential in shaping me to be the designer I am today. The evidence of my mprovement and growth is shown in the portfolio and reflection below. LAS has exposed me to knowledge of history and english that I needed to know to become a successful designer, while studio courses allowed me to be more hands on and actually apply the skills I have learned.
One of my first LAS classes during my Freshman year at Otis was Introduction to Visual Culture. From reading my previous posts, I can see that I definitely had a difficult time understanding the course but overtime I began to enjoy it and learned a lot more than I expected. I learned the different principles that make up an image and visually how people view people based on society and norms. My final paper for this class was believed to be one of my best and favorite essay written while my time at Otis. The essay focused on the Japanese religion Shinto and how the movie Spirited Away retains motifs such as feminism, environmentalism, and pacifism. I was able to explore Hayao Miyazaki’s fine storytelling and how his animation carries the viewers to an entirely different dimension. Even though animation is not my major or focus at Otis, it still something that I find fascinating and amazing. What I was able to take away from this, was the process Miyazaki went through to produce a film like Spirited Away. Miyazaki did not just create an animated film, he made one that is worth watching thousands of times and each time it gets better. Similar in design, I would like my designs to be remembered and useful rather than extra trash that will only be used once and forgotten.
My most memorable class was Life Drawing because I saw the most improvement in this class from beginning to end. Our teacher instructed us to draw our first life drawing without any assistance or knowledge of how it should be done. He collected those drawings and handed it back to us at the end of the semester. There was a significant difference and that made me feel like I had done my best and improved. In my opinion, Life drawing is fundamental to design no matter what major because it teaches you to draw within guidelines and in the industry, it’s all about adapting to an environment or meeting guidelines on a project.
Form and Space was another course that allowed me to explore design in a way I preferred, reuse and recreate. The core assignment in form and space was to understand and explore different materials and then create your own and make a sculpture. Everything from ideations to fabrication encompasses what I view design as. Design does not always have to be expensive and glamorous. In fact my goal is to design with affordable materials, but still make the product look aesthetically pleasing so that people would not suspect the product is “cheap”. What is most important in designing is the form and function. If the product is meant to work a certain way, the form should help make that action easier or more efficient, rather than having it only look good. Form and Space taught me how to be resourceful and not be afraid of a materials because being exposed to more materials will only benefit me more options in design.
While many students disliked Principles of Design, I was one of the few that appreciated what that class had to offer. In this class, I learned how to paint with gouache and color theory. The most important skill that I took away from this course was precision. My instructor, Ms. Bendett was very strict and made sure that every assignment turned in was close to perfection. This made me devote more time on my craft, which in time helped me become more patient with my art. It may sound silly, but being patient helped me a lot in learning from my mistakes and not to be discouraged because of a mistake. Mistakes are opportunities to improve, not another chance to fail again.
While design courses helped me develop skills as a designer, LAS classes such as English helped me in being more aware and informed about what is happening in our society today. Knowing about what works for people and what doesn’t is essential to design; it is what we work towards to improve and not repeat history. I design for people and to gain a spotlight in the industry, I must first understand what goes though the minds of people ranging from toddlers to senior citizens. Seeing how people have reacted to certain products give me an idea of what people would like to see more of.
Contemporary Product Design was definitely essential to my design career. In this course, I learned about the best designers from the beginning of time; what methods they used to gain popularity and how their products reigned over others. The designer I decided to do further research on still stands to be an inspiration to me, Sori Yanagi. Yanagi was best known for his butterfly stool that is made of raw wood. His famous quote states, “simplicity is not made, it is born naturally”, and I believe that is absolutely correct. Many products do not need to be fancied up for them to be known as a great product. The natural beauty of the product will be more obvious if the natural material is exposed. If a product is great, the coating, finish, or manipulation of the product is not necessary in enhancing the product.
Ozine was another class that allowed me to express my basis of design, D.I.Y. DIY stands for Do It Yourself, which are projects that anyone can do that has a creative and resourceful aspect to it. The entire concept of DIY is about reusing what you already have to create a second life with those materials. Some examples are shown in this link to my ospace (https://ospace.otis.edu/jamie_guan/DIY). I enjoyed this class a lot because the there wasn’t much of a guideline. We were instructed to pick a topic to write about to improve and promote the Otis newspaper/online news blog. I love sharing what I love so I figured what better way than to share simple ways for people to start being creative and give design a chance. Many people are intimidated by art itself because some think it’s too beyond their reach. If I can show those people that by using materials that are essentially trash, to create a new product, I am sure I will inspire people to be more creative and less afraid.