Learning Portfolio Reflection Post

My name is Kiah Friedman and I am an interior design major at Parsons. I am from Boston, Massachusetts, and attended Boston Latin School for part of middle school and all of high school. I came to Parsons in the Fall to pursue my creative goals. Whether creating an abstract painting, making a comic book, or fabricating a usable object, precision and detail plays a huge roll in my work.

First semester my courses focused more on technical skill. I took drawing and imaging, where learning how to properly render, find accurate perspective, and understanding color theory was important. Here I learned Photoshop and Illustrator, programs which I now frequently use in a number of projects for other classes. My academic studies, such as Integrative Seminar 1, affected my studio making in that it forced me to think more conceptually. I had never really thought about having creative writing assignments align with creative visual projects, and it was definitely a challenging thing to do.

Second semester, since my classes were more focused on constructed environments, there was more of a clear connection between projects in my courses. All projects, whether writing assignments or 3D models, surrounded the idea of space. My academic studies in integrative seminar 2 were very valuable in that they taught me how to do research in a designedly way, and how to use this research to create relevant visual projects. Other classes, such as Time and Studio, forced me to think more conceptually than I had ever had to before. Creating projects with vague descriptions and open-ended outcomes was very challenging, but always payed off in the end. It made me learn new ways to brainstorm through physically making.

Two highlights from my first year are my Map of Chinatown Street Art final from my Drawing and Imaging class, and my Lamp final project from my Space and Materiality class. My Map of Chinatown Street Art was a very long and elaborate process to create. Before this project, I hadn’t been used to so many steps going into a single piece, and it was eye opening as to what thorough planning can do. Initially I had to walk around Chinatown and take pictures of something that I noticed frequently, in my case being street art, and mapping the route I walked along the way. I then decided that with the photos I took, I wanted to be ambitious and hand-draw each of them using black ink. Since the requirements of the final were to use photoshop, illustrator and have a hand-drawn element, I scanned my finished drawings into an illustrator where I created the map and poster itself. Playing around with background colors, different fonts, and an array of layouts proved to be useful. I learned how important it is to test multiple different designs of a final before choosing what works best.

The final project ended up being a 36×48″ poster, consisting of a computer-drawn route, a title using a font made in photoshop, and 8 hand-drawn illustrations of street art found in Chinatown. It was definitely a highlight and one of my proudest works because of the amount of planning, effort, time spent, and different design/drawing aspects that went into it.

My second highlight from my first year at Parsons, was my Lamp final project for my Space and Materiality class. Prior to this course I did not consider myself comfortable using power tools of any sort. Ending up with a beautiful and fully functioning lamp was really awesome, as it is something I never imagined I would be able to do.

The lamp project required a tedious amount of planning. Models and perfectly scaled sketches were first created. From there materials such as wood, lighting essentials like bulbs and wires had to be acquired, and the physical making began. Once my wood was cut into layers, they had to be glued together and then drilled using a drill press. From there they hand to be sanded, which was the most difficult part, and multiple different types of sanding machines had to be used. Once it was perfectly sanded, the wood had to be stained, and then properly wired by hand. Once the wiring was complete and I was positive it was fully functioning, I created a lamp shade from scratch using wire and rice paper. 

Both of these projects were highlights because I created successful pieces through processes I hadn’t know how to do prior. I acquired new skills as the course progressed, and used those skills in these projects and I think it really shows and the hard work payed off.

Thinking toward the future, I definitely want to learn more about interior spaces in terms of history, the logistics of design, and the physical application. I’m very curious to see how skills I’ve acquired my first year and the projects I’ve completed will influence my work and apply to my major sophomore year. This year, especially in my Time class, has taught me how to make one project lead into another without being too obvious. I think that skill will be extremely important next year. Sophomore year I definitely want to learn more about the history of interior design and architecture. I want to further my wood shop and technical making skills, and better my understanding of making a conceptual idea a reality. I want to continue to use the computer programs I have learned this year so I can apply them to future projects and use the programs to their full advantage.

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