Life on the Road: Self-Portraiture

Kath Weider-Roos is the Creative Arts Producer at A&D. She snaps photos and asks questions.

13 states. 23 cities.

Erika Hess is the new recruiting officer at A&D. Her new job has her living out of a suitcase and communing with strangers in airport lounges and hotel check-in counters. She travels to high schools around the country, talking to prospective A&D students and high school art teachers, and representing A&D at National Portfolio events. 

A practicing artist herself, Erika soon realized it wouldn't be easy to keep up with her creative activities on the road.

So she came up with a plan – a small plan,  but a plan that would keep her away from C.S.I. reruns and help her stay connected to her right brain.

She decided to document each hotel room experience with a self-portrait. Rules: use any mirrored surface to capture the composition and, wherever possible, use the hotel's provided stationary and pen.

Here's a sampling of Erika's life on the road, as told by Erika herself and her pen/pencil.

(And make sure to check out Erika's work when-not-on-the-road here.)

Cincinnati. This was the first hotel I stayed at on my travels, and I had a lot of time to draw. They gave me this strange room with three bedrooms, but it did have a great view of the city. This piece is drawn from the reflection in the windows to capture the grid of the buildings.
Kalamazoo. So actually I dashed this one off in the rest stop but this picture is important to me. It was my first time traveling through Michigan. It was cold, so I'm wrapped up in a hat and scarf. The pastel design behind the sketch is from another drawing I did in the parking lot of Interlochen Art Academy the day before.
Houston. I was exhausted at this point in my journey. I was staying at a really disgusting hotel, right next to a shady liquor store, near the airport and a way from downtown. I felt relatively stranded and isolated being away from everyone in the city.
Chicago. This was one of my favorite hotels during my travels. It had high ceilings and beautiful old windows that looked out over the water. I happened to be there during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations which were happening right beneath the windows. At one time, they lit candles and placed them in red lanterns which floated up past my windows. They chanted all night... I also like the stability of this composition which reflected the symmetry in the room.
Boston. I like this picture. It was the first time I'd had a good time in Boston since grad school. I was about to go out to meet old friends so I was ironing my clothes.
Queens. In New York I stayed with a friend in Queens. I'm sitting on her bed and the mirror is in the closet. It's slightly off-kilter - maybe because it's a home not a hotel, a real place with real stuff around me.
Philadelphia. A hotel with a bathrobe - wow. It's amazing how a bathrobe can give you that sense of home, even in a hotel. I kept the sign on the door in the composition though, as a reminder of where I was. The bathroom had this great wallpaper that I really loved which I wanted to include too.
Queens. I kept returning to my friend's place in Queens. I wanted to give her a drawing to keep, so I included her in this self portrait. She's been a friend for about 10 years and the New York trips gave me a chance to connect with her again.
San Francisco. I had no time during this trip, I just flew in and flew out. But this hotel did have stationary, and I did visit the art museum, so I included a map of the museum in my portrait.
Sarasota. My dad lives in Florida. This was my last trip on my tour. It's also possible that it could be the last time I see my father. The drawing ended up being very stylized and symbolic. It reminds me of the Saint cards you pick up when leaving a Cathedral. There is something final in that action and image to me. After that, I returned to Ann Arbor, and I'm getting a chance to settle in - at least for a little while - now that the application period has closed.


Technology, Entertainment and .... Fine Arts?

TEDxUofM taps the A&D students for some amazing poster artwork.

Teshia Treuhaft is currently chained to her desk documenting the process of surviving senior year at A&D and her obsession with wood veneer.

        At TEDxUofM, we have been thinking about ways to incorporate the amazing painters, printmakers and illustrators at A&D into the TED realm for quite a few months now. Arguably one of the best things about UM Art and Design is that each student (whatever their medium) coexists and works side-by-side students that create in completely different ways. 

        Similarly, in TEDxUofM, it is less about who a specific speaker or attendee is and more about the fact that they share a common passion for ideas, inspiration and innovation. Naturally, they all express themselves in different disciplines, much like the students of A&D all express themselves in different media, but I’ve always felt a common thread through the school of A&D and TED.

        This year, instead of having one of our amazing graphic designers (and they are amazing) simply put together a poster; we asked 13 amazing artists and designers from the school of A&D (many of whom may identify as ‘fine artists’ but I don’t like to label) to come up with what they wanted to see on a poster. They could work in any medium, any size and create whatever they wanted with a Red, Black and White palette. Here is a snap shot of the results – check them out all around Ann Arbor in the next few weeks!

And for gosh sakes – register for this amazing event, the application is open now!!!

Paul DiStefano

Sam Levy

Annie Hyrila

Megan O'Neil

Jill Brandwein

Rachel McGuffin

Trisha Previte

Ellen Rutt

Emerson Schreiner

Katie Eberts

Ubin Li

Laura Gillmore

Martyna Alexander

Ryan Herberholz 

Also - If you haven't had your poster fill, there is a neat little Egress show over in Slusser Lounge



publish or perish

mr steve printed here

Stephen Schudlich is the Director of Exhibitions for Work • Detroit, A&D's exhibition space in the 313.

here's some stuff that is currently in the pipeline between my mind and the physical world. it gets from one to the other by taking a magical trip through some sort of printing process. then i can distribute these unsolicited materials ad nauseum. i do this to maintain my presence in the land of editorial illustration.

from time to time, mr. steve shares his favorite sources with his little lambs and today is one of those occasions. if you already know of these, pay 'em forward won'tcha?

gotprint: offers many sizes and several stocks (no chicken) also groovy round corners. the printer of choice for all work•detroit postcards.

VGkids: awesome. ypsilanti based.

MOO: some groovy sizes and packages. i have seen some MOO products floating around GradStudentVille.


Times Up (...almost)

The end of I.P. is near

Ashley is a 22-year-old A&D alum who is drawing her way through a post-grad life.

It's just about that time when I.P. projects are due.  You remember what I.P. is, don't you?  Okay, well it stands for 'Integrative Project, i.e. A&D seniors create their own year-long projects which they develop over time with the constant input of two professors and two grad students.  As the deadline quickly approaches, I've taken it upon myself to figure out what exactly is going on with my project...

I spent the majority of I.P. thinking that my drawings would lead up to another medium, like an animation or paintings.  However, once I realized that the timid, intimate nature of the drawings themselves have a strong relationship with the actual subject matter, I chose to stick with the series of drawings.  It's not settling with what I have, but rather re-working my situational drawings and really honing in on the mood and unspoken narrative of the character, Boxhead.

First Step: sketching out the gesture of the figure


Middle of the Road: a clean-cut style


Final Product: a rough-around-the-edges, lived-in drawing


Rinse and repeat for each drawing.  It's a time consuming process, but well worth it.


Here We Go

Ashley is a 22-year-old A&D alum who is drawing her way through a post-grad life.

Hi.  I'm Ashley and I'll be blogging as I finish up my IP project this semester.  What’s IP you ask?  It stands for ‘Integrated Project,’ but that’s just a fancy term for a year-long thesis project required of every senior here at A&D.  IP is the first time A&D students are able to come up with their own projects, which can be very intimidating.  You come to love it for the freedom and control over the work, but it's all too easy to resent it for the mental and emotional toll it takes on you as time goes on.

Here are some preliminary drawings for my IP project.  It's about an alter ego, suitably named Box Head, who struggles to cope with everyday situations.




What I enjoy most about my project (and drawing in general) is seeing how other people respond to the image.  I can usually be found drawing when I should be working, using the opportunity to grab the reactions of my coworkers.  Oh, that’s another aspect I like best about drawing/illustration:  it’s portable!!

One more thing, I work at a movie theater…



Until the next free moment I get off school/work/internship,



3 Artists you should know

Recent inspirations

Emily Skaer graduated from A&D in 2009, and currently works as a freelance animator in Portland, OR.

#1 Beth Weintraub

Lately I've been wanting a small video camera to play around with and do some editing. My nephew just received a Flip camera, so I decided to check out their site. While I discovered my Canon camera has about the same resolution as these things, I decided against one. However, while browsing on the Flip Camera's website I made a discovery of a pretty neat artist....

Her name is Beth Weintraub. Extremely soft & feminine, Beth works with etchings on metal & paper. You can see her Flip camera designs here, you can also see more fine art pieces on her personal website.

Your best bet of checking out her work is to google her name, there's more work there under google images it seems than on her personal site.

#2 M + O Studio

Aren't these just the neatest tights you've ever seen? They're by a group in France, I believe tied to the M+O Studio of Spain, which does amazing architectural design and urban planning. These tights are all hand printed (makes me want to screenprint tights myself) and come in a lot of humorous designs. Too bad they're only available abroad... 


Here's their limited edition monster designs, you can see more on their site.


#3 Jeremy Fish

If you are familiar with Upper Playground, you no doubt know Jeremy Fish's work. Upper Playground is an online store (with a couple locations out west) that showcases designs by graffiti and other underground artists. I love Jeremy's San Francisco designs, just spotted these two animal shirts revealing what goes into the belly of these beasts. Check out his stuff at Upper Playground's site.