Being a third-generation immigrant, I have felt myself living between two cultures for most of my life, never truly identifying with either side. My master’s thesis project seeks to provide a sense of belonging and a visual voice to those seeking their place within society. I am advocating for the acceptance, destruction, and rebuilding of a patchwork of stereotypes, taking the most distilled images from each culture and transforming them to fit my individual needs. It is only through this process of self-categorization that we can begin to see more clearly the idealized future promised through the American Dream.
The project is separated into three parts representing three stages of synthesis between the Mexican and American cultures. The first is the Independent stage where a cut screen and printed image act as separate entities. The two are related by orientation and scale, allowing visitors to experience the two layers together as well as apart. The second stage is Blurred, where a cut screen and printed image work together as one layered object. The third stage is Fused. Patterns are cut directly into the image, making the line between one culture and the next completely invisible. The roles of the mediums are reversed in relation to their culture: the precise industrial nature of the laser cut is used to reflect the typically hand-crafted patterning, while the typical mass-produced images of an idealized future are modernized in their subject matter and hand painted in a manner that nods to the American kitsch style that is associated with post-war America.
An extension of my master’s thesis project and exhibition, the Designing the American Dream book compiles written research on the imagery that produced the 1950s American Dream with a secondary narrative written by Cultural Studies major at Stanford University, Peter Madsen. Peter is also a third-generation Mexican-American immigrant like myself and I invited him to share his journey of finding acceptance within a community throughout this book. The written portions of the book are interrupted by full bleed lifestyle images that depict the idealized notions of the American Dream, and are paired with Mexican-inspired patterns, both Risograph printed and lasercut throughout.
This publication is a compilation of the final thesis work of the graduate graphic design class of 2015. Our group developed a system of layered riddles to showcase the student work, expressing the lo-fi and gritty qualities that are inherent to UIC’s School of Design. I was responsible for the development of the overall grid system, sequencing of the publication, as well as refining the individual typographic styles.
This project was awarded Best In Show for the Society of Typographic Arts Chicago Design Archive 2015 competition.
Inspired by the 1960s group Archigram, Desigram strives to bridge the gap between architecture and graphic design through the printed publication.
Collaboration with Alice Lee, Marko Dumlija, and Yuge Liu.
The Adobe Creative Jam is a unique two-part creative experience where design duos compete in a tournament utilizing Adobe Creative Cloud; meanwhile, a group of creative leaders are detailing their own creative process in the Creative Jam Presentations next door to a large audience. After three hours and no rules, the teams present their work to an audience/jury who chooses a winning team.
This project was awarded 2nd place at the 2015 Adobe Creative Jam Chicago. Collaboration with Rafael Barontini.
As an entry to the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial Lakefront Kiosk Competition, Urban Therme is a mobile spa kiosk to enable a dynamic winter activation of the lakefront by blurring the boundaries between culture, lifestyle and retail.
Collaboration with Andrew Sommerville and Kyle Bigart.
Cincy Royals Lacrosse is a 501C3 non-for-profit organization that seeks to provide a top quality lacrosse experience by helping players develop the skills they need to achieve personal goals, both on and off the lacrosse field, while increasing the national profile of Southern Ohio Lacrosse. I developed a custom 10th Anniversary Logo for the team as well as various digital banners to celebrate the upcoming lacrosse season.
Exhibition graphic design for BLBD.collective's first show: To Entertain.
Photography courtesy of BLBD.collective.
Engaging graphic design as visual journalism, these visual explorations investigate the identity of Tandem Felix Letterpress studio located in Pilsen, Chicago. Focusing on a visualization of sound, these album covers provide insight to the processes involved in a letterpress studio.
The Great Miami Rowing Center is a competitive rowing club located in Hamilton, Ohio. In hopes of recruiting younger athletes, GMRC wished to update and modernize their overall look. I began this project by developing a new custom logo for the club. This new logo showcases the sport and creates a recognizable icon for the club. A complete marketing package including posters, flyers and other print collateral as well as a series of digital advertisements gave the club the fresh feeling it needed to attract talented athletes.
Stay Gold is the manifestation of identity of a letterpress shop located in downtown Chicago. By combining two narratives present within the shop, process and poetry, into one visual document, I hope to express the layered quality of the letterpress printing process, spirit of the artists who own the studio, and the density of their space.
Honorable Mention in UIC's Image of Research Competition 2015.
Brand Identity and Illustration for an independent hair stylist in Los Angeles, California.
Various poster designs
I participated in a research-based studio partnered with The Kroger Company to explore the possible futures of the American convenience store. The semester’s work was published in a book detailing the history of convenience stores, retail trends, and student concepts for future convenience stores. As a member of the design team, I aided the project manager in the development of content as well as graphic elements of the book.
Collaboration with Annslee Stevenson and other members of the 2012 Kroger Studio at University of Cincinnati.