Category Archives: Giertz Gallery

My Love Affair with April Greiman

It all started in college.

I was studying graphic design at the University of Illinois when I came across a copy of WET magazine (“gourmet bathing” according to the tagline on the cover). This was in the early 1980s and we’re deep in the minimalist modern “Swiss” era where any decoration in art was frowned upon. So this copy of WET that I held in my hands, well it looked like it came from Mars. It was funky, it was spicy, it smelled of something illegal and it was the opposite of the rational design thinking my professors were trying to instill in their students. It wasn’t until much later that I found out April Greiman was one of the people behind this magazine (even though her name was not on the masthead).

California-style postmodernism as envisioned by April Greiman et al (1979)

As an art student (yes, design was taught in the “art” department), I dutifully imitated what I saw in WET. What I copied was the surface qualities of April’s work. I was an excellent forger, but unfortunately my professors had already ruined me. My mind had already embraced their modernist philosophies, and I couldn’t unlearn what I had already been taught. Little did I know that modernism was already dying a quick death. April Greiman had killed it in California and kick-started the postmodern era in graphic design just as I was about to graduate.

Today, students get to read about April Greiman in history books. She is one of the few female graphic designers acknowledged in an industry dominated by men. When I saw her face in the new documentary “Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production,” I immediately sent her an email. I told her about our upcoming movie premiere event and begged her to join us for a panel discussion after the film. After a little prodding, she said “yes” to a Skype interview.

One of my favorite early April Greiman designs that I tried to rip-off.

“Graphic Means” is a brand-new documentary about the pre-digital period of graphic design known as the “cold type” era (you’ll have to see the movie to understand why the funny name). This is the same era glamorized in the “Mad Men” TV series. Fans of this period are in love with the fashion and furniture design of the “mid-century modern” style as featured in the TV series. But this was also the epitome of overt sexism in the workplace where women were literally worth half as much as men. Both sides of the story are told in great detail in “Graphic Means.”

Vintage retro promo graphic for the “cold type” era (circa 1975)

“Graphic Means” is Briar Levit’s first film and it hits all the marks of a great documentary. From her selection of offbeat on-screen characters she interviewed to her selection of ironic retro archival footage, “Graphic Means” is a rich and amusing visual experience. It’s also stuffed full of fascinating facts and stories not often told. I predict that in time, “Graphic Means” will rise to the level of “Helvetica” as one of the important must-see cultural documentaries of our time. And she made the film with Kickstarter funds and an all-female crew.


“Graphic Means” is currently making the rounds at film festivals, film societies, museums and specialty cinemas in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, UK, and across the US (see full list). Champaign is lucky to be on the list of premiere cities and Parkland is very lucky to be able to host both the filmmaker and April Greiman via Skype for a post-screening discussion.

And what about that “love affair” with April? Well I did graduate from the University of Illinois with a BFA and a portfolio of fake postmodern projects (but it made me look “cool” and got me good jobs). Later, after I started teaching graphic design history at Parkland, I really got to know April’s work deeply (since I had to explain what “postmodernism” means to my students). Now my students make Powerpoint presentations about her and design T-shirts that pay tribute to her.

A tribute T-shirt design by Parkland Student Brandon Cherry

And then in 2004, it happened. I met April Greiman for the first time. I was on the board of the now defunct Ad Club of Champaign-Urbana and we had the money to bring someone big and important to town for a presentation. On a lark, we invited April and she came. She even made a stop at Parkland in L111 and chatted with the students.

In 2004, April Greiman visited Champaign-Urbana (click the image above to jump to our Facebook gallery)

As a souvenir, she handed out little “fortune cookie” strips that said “If thinking, think nothing” (it’s a Buddhist thing). Those are now collector’s items. I got to design the promos for her visit and this time I got it right. I was able to capture the joy of flying against convention and breaking rules just for the sake of breaking rules with this experimental web page:

Website promotion designed by Paul Young as a tribute to April Greiman (2004)

And then in 2015, it happened again. On a trip to Las Vegas, my wife and I decided to take a little detour to Joshua Tree National Park. We knew April Greiman owned a motel near there so we booked a few nights at her little hideaway called Miracle Manor. And what a little miracle it is, fed with natural mineral-rich hot springs right from under the motel directly into her pool. And on the day we arrived?April was there with her boyfriend and it was her birthday! Hanging out with April by the pool on this special day? Priceless.

Miracle Manor: April Greiman’s retreat in Desert Hot Springs CA

And now it’s going to happen for a third time. Tomorrow night, I get to moderate a panel discussion about “Graphic Means” with April Greiman participating on the panel live via Skype. Joining us will be four other local designers and educators as well as the director of the film (see complete list of panelists). Am I nervous? Nah not really. She’s a really cool gal and really easy to talk to. Besides, I’ve met her before.

Click the above image to jump to the movie premiere promo site for advanced tickets and all the details.

Discounted advanced ticket sales will end on Tuesday, November 14 at 12 noon, but tickets will still be available at the door. Here are the details of our one-night only movie premiere special event:

Thanks to our generous sponsors, 100% of the box office receipts will benefit Giertz Gallery at Parkland College.

[Paul Young is the program director of Graphic Design at Parkland College.]

Graphic Design Students Earn $$ For Excellence

Last night at the 2017 Parkland Graphic Design Juried Exhibition opening reception, eight students split $1,100 in cash awards for exhibiting excellent work.

Every year, the students in Parkland’s Graphic Design and Interactive Design Programs have the opportunity to showcase their best work in the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. This year, 207 entries were received and 137 entries were accepted by a jury of our design faculty.

Then, two industry professionals were invited to come in to judge the entries and to select the award winners. This year’s judges were Maria Ludeke, design studio manager at Neutral Design Studio and Ralph Roether, graphic designer at Champaign Park District. Their mission: Find the best 11 pieces in the show and then select the one piece that would receive the coveted “best of show” award.

“Judging this years show proved challenging as we had to pick just one best of show,” said Maria. “These students will do so well moving forward in their careers. They show great creativity, execution, and capacity to make beautiful, thoughtful work.”

“I was honored to be a judge for the Parkland Graphic Design Show,” added Ralph. “It was enlightening to see how many different aspects of design are being taught: print, packaging, logos, identity, history, web, digital, video titles, animation etc. I’m a little jealous. What a fantastic program to have available to our community.”

“I was thrilled to see the breadth of student work produced by Parkland’s Graphic Design program,” added Maria. “The professors at Parkland have prepared them well for transitioning into the professional world of design and marketing.”

Most of the awards were donated by local businesses and supporters of Parkland’s Graphic Design and Interactive Design programs. These friends include Surface 51, The Robeson Family, [co][lab], Studio 2D, and the Champaign-Urbana Design Org (CUDO), who all donated cash awards. CUDO was also the co-sponsor of the opening reception.

More than 270 industry professionals, alumni, friends, family, and students attended the reception. At 6:30 p.m., each of the winners were acknowledged with a round of applause, a certificate, and a check.

Here’s who won:

• Graphic Design Best of Show

Motion Design by Jason Dockins (click image to view)

 

• Illustration Best of Show

Illustration by Shannon Martin

 

• Typography Best of Show

Packaging by Emily Gorski

 

• President’s Award of Excellence

Poster by Shannon Martin

 

• CUDO Award of Excellence

Packaging by Justin Klett

 

• Surface 51 Award of Excellence

Packaging by Brooke Armstrong

 

• Studio 2D Design Strategy Award

Web Mockup by Brooke Armstrong

 

• [co][lab] Award of Excellence

Calendar by Brielle Arnold (Designer), Nikolas Atwood (Copywriter), Jason Dockins (Art Director), Shannon Martins (Illustrator)

 

• Electric Pictures Award of Excellence

Poster by Justin Klett

 

• David M. and Shirley A. Jones Student Art Award

Packaging by Kristy Lau

 

• Fine and Applied Arts Department Chair Award

Book Cover by Emily Gorski

 

The 2017 Parkland Graphic Design Juried Exhibition will continue in Parkland’s Giertz Gallery through June 1. Summer gallery hours are Monday–Thursday, 10am–7pm (closed Saturday and Sunday).

To see more examples of student work from Parkland’s Graphic Design and Interactive Design programs, please visit our virtual galleries.

[Paul Young is the program director of Graphic Design at Parkland College.]

2016 Graphic Design Student Show Awards Announced

Last night at the 2016 Parkland Graphic Design Juried Exhibition opening reception, 10 very proud students received $1,400 in cash awards for submitting excellent work.

Every year, the students in Parkland’s Graphic Design and Interactive Design Programs submit their best work for jurying by the faculty. This year, 169 entries were chosen by the faculty to be showcased in Parkland’s Giertz Gallery. Then two industry professionals were invited to come in to judge the entries and to select the award winners. This year’s judges were Kelly White, the executive director of 40 North, and Matt Wiley, a well-renowned local illustrator and graphic designer at Taylor Studios. Their mission: find the best 14 pieces in the show and then select the one piece that would receive the coveted “best of show” award.

Most of the awards were donated by local businesses and supporters of Parkland’s Graphic Design and Interactive Design Programs. These friends include Surface 51, The Robeson Family, [co][lab], Studio 2D, Six Demon Studio,Wesley Food Pantry and the Champaign-Urbana Design Org (CUDO) who all donated cash awards. CUDO was also the co-sponsor of the opening reception.

Over 200 industry professionals, alumni, friends, family and students attended the reception. At 6:30 p.m., each of the winners were acknowledged with a round of applause, a certificate and a check. Here’s who won:

• Graphic Design Best of Show

klinger_packagingwine
Packaging by Christie Klinger

 

• Illustration Best of Show

klinger_orchidposter
Poster by Christie Klinger

 

• Typography Best of Show

hilary pope herblubalin
Editorial spread by Hilary Pope

 

• President’s Award of Excellence

martin-seven-samurai
Poster by Shannon Martin

 

• CUDO Award of Excellence

klinger_packagingme
Packaging by Christie Klinger

 

• Surface 51 Award of Excellence

Map by Martha Henigman

 

• Studio 2D Design Strategy Award

sarah powers surplus
Brochure by Sarah Powers

 

• Six Demon Studio Award of Excellence

skyler reifsteck
Book cover by Skyler Reifsteck

 

• [co][lab] Award of Excellence

bethany manalo menurevisions4
Menu by Betta Manalo

 

• Wesley Food Pantry Award of Excellence

Brochure by Shannon Martin

 

• Electric Pictures Award of Excellence

Logo by Jordan Bidner

 

• David M. and Shirley A. Jones Student Art Award

jordan bidner bottle
Packaging by Jordan Bidner

 

• Fine & Applied Arts Department Chair Award

maiki bello etiqueta-vino
Packaging by Maiki Bello

 

• Graphic Design Program Director’s Award

rogers-businessapps
Self-promotion by Abby Rogers

 

The 2016 Parkland Graphic Design Juried Exhibition will continue in Parkland’s Giertz Gallery until May 28. Summer gallery hours are Monday–Thursday, 10am–7pm and Saturday, noon–2pm.

To see more examples of student work from Parkland’s Graphic Design and Interactive Design programs, please visit our virtual galleries.

IMG_9680                      IMG_9631

 

[Paul Young is the program director of Graphic Design at Parkland College.]

Metalwork and Jewelry: Explore a Fascinating Art Form

While many Parkland students were finishing up the semester with papers and final exams, students in the metalworking/jewelry class were completing their final projects and discussing their work in an end-of-semester critique. Students who take ART 185/186, Metalwork and Jewelry I and II, work in a variety of different materials, processes, and designs as they learn technical skills including riveting, annealing, silver soldering, patinas (a chemical and/or heat reaction to the metal that produces color changes color), and texturizing.

One assignment was stone setting, where students learned to set a cabochon stone. They selected their own stone and each inspired a different kind of creativity. Here are some of the Metalwork and Jewelry I student projects:

circular pendant necklace
circular pendant necklace
Family heirloom stone set pendant (front)
Family heirloom stone set pendant (front)
Family Heirloom stone set pendant (back)
Family Heirloom stone set pendant (back)
Beveled stone set ring
Beveled stone set ring
Deer antler ring with pink camo stone
Deer antler ring with pink camo stone
Shield ring with stone setting
Shield ring with stone setting
Architectural Bracelet
Architectural Bracelet
Architectural Bracelet (knit)
Architectural Bracelet (knit)

This class is an elective, and is open to art and design majors and non-majors alike. This semester’s students included a sculpture major, someone preparing to transfer into fashion design at a four-year college, a retired engineer, a graphic designer, a homemaker, and a construction technology major. We welcome the new insights and fresh perspectives these students bring.

Another assignment for advanced students was to create reliquaries involving personal meaning and reflection along with technical challenges and instruction. Brooches were also explored for their historical meaning as well as the concept of a series through incorporating design elements. Here are some of those pieces:

Silver Fibula brooch with stone
Silver Fibula brooch with stone

Historic Fibula Design

Stick Pin Brooch series
Stick Pin Brooch series
Rabbit and the Hare Reliquary
Rabbit and the Hare Reliquary
Bird Skull Reliquary
Bird Skull Reliquary

Metalwork and Jewelry I (ART 185) and Metalwork and Jewelry II (ART 186) are both offered on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 9-11:45am OR Mondays/Wednesdays from 5:30-8:45pm**. Class sizes are limited but a few seats are still available for spring 2016. Current students may register at my.parkland.edu; new students should go to parkland.edu/getstarted.

**The Monday/Wednesday sessions are now available as a LATE-START option, starting Feb. 1. Last date to register (new degree-seeking students) is Jan. 26.

 

 

Coffee and Tea: Cups and Dessert Benefit

 

Coffee and Tea: Cups and Dessert Benefit 
for the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College
Thursday, December 3, 4 -7pm
Tickets are $30 each or two for $50
Silent Auction ending at 6:30pm
Traditional Irish music by Fair Play featuring Lisa Boucher

DSC_0019Come join us in the Art Gallery Lounge for an evening of fun and the opportunity to support the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College. Each ticket includes selecting a beautiful handmade cup thrown by our very own Parkland students and faculty in the Ceramics classes.

While you’re there, enjoy a large selection of desserts baked fresh by the Parkland College Hospitality program; Columbia Street Roastery will provide hot tea and freshly brewed coffee. The event will also feature traditional Irish music by Fair Play featuring Lisa Boucher.

You can also peruse our silent auction with over 30 works that include bowls, vases, serving dishes, and pitchers. Also included is a lithograph donated by Gerry Guthrie, professor emeritus from the University of Illinois Art and Design program, as well as a photograph by Craig McMonigal, an award-winning photography instructor at Parkland College who is retiring this year.

Live music, floral centerpieces designed by the Floral Design class at Parkland, and white tablecloths transform the Gallery Lounge into a festive location to celebrate the arts and support the gallery.

rutile green lidded jar

This event occurs every other year to raise money for the Giertz Gallery. It is held at the same time that the gallery hosts the State of the Art: Biennial Ceramics Invitational. This year the exhibition is curated by no other than Chris Berti, Professor of Art and Design at Parkland College. The exhibit includes artwork by eleven contemporary ceramic artists from all over the country and features work by Randy Carlson, Sunshine Cobb, Michael Corney, Paul Eshelman, Meredith Host, Doug Jeppesen, Beth Lo, Jan McKeachie Johnston, Randy Johnston, Joseph Pintz, and Luba Sharapan (AKA Darn Pottery).

DSC_0016DSC_0007

View many of the Silent Auction works online by visiting the Giertz Gallery Facebook Album or website . Guests are able to place bids on various artworks and the bidding will end at 6:30pm.

Tickets to the gallery benefit are $30 or two for $50, with advanced purchase recommended; cups will be chosen on a first come, first serve basis. To purchase tickets, please contact the Giertz Gallery office at 217/351-2485, visit our website or stop by the Giertz Gallery.

Our hours are Monday through Thursday from 10am to 7pm and Saturdays noon to 2pm. Please check ahead of time for our hours over the holidays. We look forward to seeing you at the event!