Design Links: Scott Reinhard, Amalia Pica & Lisa Smith

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Editor’s Note: This is part 31 in Emily Potts’ inspirational series, Design Links. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun, and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the thirtieth part in the series, featuring Rick Valicenti, Holly Hunt & Nick Adam.


Nick Adam is inspired by …

Scott Reinhard

Scott practices design in the manner of our ever-refreshing contemporary time’s renaissance person. Across discipline, medium, sector, and typology Scott simply nails it—always by hitting from a different angle. Formally, as sound as one can be, Scott was trained at SCAD then went on to 10 years of practice working with Carlos Segura, Jamie Koval, and James Goggin. Formerly a Chicago designer, Scott recently moved to New York after receiving an MFA under Meredith Davis at North Carolina State’s Graduate Program in Graphic Design. His Master’s Thesis, Building Upon Interaction Gestalt Research challenges common notions of interaction and received the University’s highest accolades. Scott inspires me because he always goes beyond, even when designing porcelain and cotton rope wearables with his partner, artist, Ali Gibbons.

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Here, the idea as form is a vehicle for memory and thereby meaning. To those that lived or have studied the ’80s, I see the exhibition identity system as Gran Fury with Gorilla Girls in rampant regardant stance. Through the pitch-perfect selection of type and it’s X-acto’d like setting each title in the exhibition humbly tributes those that lived, fought, and died in the name of AIDS activism, gender, and racial equality. To the exhibition attendees that were newly acquainted with the ’80s (or plum forgot them) the identity serves as the news camera to the crowd with a megaphone. In manners of officialdom, it projects Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s with the immediacy that issues and actions are utmost worthy of.

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Scott is an innovator as designer and director. He examines the ways and means of contemporary design making, in turn improving design culture’s tools, methodology, and knowledge—all while delivering expertly crafted communication design. For his Master’s Thesis, Scott leaned on his systems-thinking applied in expert book design as he shifted away from the day-to-day artifact. The heart of the thesis is the story of humanity—people’s desire for meaningful and emotional connections. This premise is followed by a series of interactive experiments that aid in understanding the totality of behaviors and the effect towards experience. In all, the Thesis provides a scientific and applied understanding of how we, as designers, might approach interaction design in a holistic manner.


Scott Reinhard is inspired by two people…

Amalia Pica

She’s a London-based Argentinian artist and sculptor. I worked with her on a catalog for her show at MCA Chicago in 2013. Her work on a formal level is elegantly simple. On a conceptual level it’s highly impactful. You could walk through a gallery of her work and enjoy the colors, the shapes, the materials, and the performances. It’s when you learn the motivation or the story behind the objects that they become profoundly deep and rich in meaning. It takes a very special artist—skilled on a conceptual and formal level—to effortlessly go back and forth. Her work shares some of the same spirit as another one of my favorite artists, Félix González-Torres.

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Amalia’s Eavesdropping from 2011 is a great example of a work existing on a formal level and containing a deeper conceptual meaning. Without knowing the name of the piece, a viewer comes upon an attractive array of colorful drinking glasses stuck to the gallery wall. It’s not until you learn that the piece is called Eavesdropping, do the glasses take a more sinister turn. They start to evoke evasion of privacy, lack of trust, separation of people.

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Similar to the example above, Pica’s Venn Diagram (Under the Spotlight) from 2011, has my favorite things—big, simple, overlapping shapes and bright colors. The piece speaks to how Venn Diagram’s were banned in Argentina in the 1970s by the military junta as they were believed to promote subversive thought.


Scott is also inspired by …

Lisa Smith

She is the Chief Design Officer at Areaware, a designed-objects company in New York. She was formerly a part of the wonderful Chicago-based Object Design League and ran the ODLCO Store with Caroline Linder. I’m a huge fan of Lisa’s curatorial eye, her entrepreneurial activities, and her (and ODL’s) focus and experiments with the process of production.

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The ODLCO store that Lisa ran with Caroline Linder was an oasis of wonderful everyday objects in Chicago. It was a mix of well-curated products and small-batch production runs of commissioned pieces. It was also the site of many events including the first solo exhibition of one of my favorite ceramic artists, Ben Medansky, and a night in which they turned the space into a fully functioning candy factory. Though it is now gone, I was influenced by watching them bring their vision to life with straight-up hard work and a close-knit community.

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The Balloon factory was a part of We Are Here: Art & Design Out of Context at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in 2011, curated by James Goggin. Lisa and ODL created a custom balloon production line in the gallery space. Seeing an everyday object produced in the open demystified the production process and opened it up to experimentation and play.

Tune in next time to see who inspires Lisa Smith.


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