Bandhu Gardens is a network of women working together to amplify and expand economic opportunities among the Bangladeshi community in Hamtramck, Michigan. This self-determined group of women sells vegetables, offers catering, does pop-up events, and teaches cooking classes.
I'm fortunate to collaborate with Bandhu Gardens in a number of ways, including branding, planning, and big picture dreaming.
I was a co-organizer of the 2017 Detroit Kite Festival, an inclusive community celebration uplifting creativity, history, and communal play. While the first year of this festival was 2017, we drew on a long legacy of kite-flying and making in Detroit and cherish the history from which we built.
Alongside general organization/co-creative responsibilities, I developed the festival branding and provided creative direction and asset production.
Victory Kitchen is a pop-up kitchen and resource center. It was born in Berkeley and recently relocated to Detroit. Victory Kitchen focuses on equitable access to food, personal growth through creative expression, and community service. Core activities include a donation-based biweekly dinner and craft night, an artist in residence program, and many intermittent workshops and collaborations with local organizations.
I started Victory Kitchen in 2015 in the Bay Area, where I was born and raised. Situated in a renovated warehouse on the intersection of three distinct communities - Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville - Victory's first home brought together folks from all walks of live to play, eat, and learn together.
Over the past two years, the Victory community turned a little warehouse into a home, learned about coffee roasting, unicycling, marmalade, zhoug, and banana ice cream making, bean sprouting, sourdough baking, seed bomb making, Shibori dyeing, sachet sewing, seed paper pulping, cider pressing, soap making, prayer flag stamping, and storytelling.
For Valentines Day, we made cards for our loved ones and care packages and notes full of love and power for 80 women in the Bay Area Rescue Mission's Women's Center. During the holidays, we decorated homemade ginger cookies and popped them into more than 50 dinner bags for folks who might not get to enjoy a gutbusting meal with family. We made Mother's Day cards for the various powerful women in our lives. We partnered with Homeless Lives Matter to cook pozole for 150 people experiencing homelessness in the East Bay. We hosted five brilliant artists in residence, raised money for a local screenprinting shop, and collected canned goods, personal care items, and warm clothing to make the necessities a little easier for a few of our neighbors.
We huddled into our tiny (seriously, TINY) kitchen and prepared our meals together. We ate Japanese ramen, Texan three bean chili, Ghanaian spinach stew, Wampanoag Sobaheg, Indian Mulligatawny, Tibetan Thenthuk, Tunisian Shakshouka, Thai Tom Kha, Nigerian fried tomato stew, Mexican tortilla soup, cheddar broccoli stew, curried chickpeas, my dad's mac & cheese, my grandmother's vegetable soup with noodles, and cried purple tears into a lavender navy bean soup dedicated to Prince.
Most recently, I met with over 50 stakeholders on a cross country road trip focused on researching community food systems. I called this trip Field Work. It was life-changing, overwhelming, illuminating, and the best crash course education I could have asked for. This led me to move to Detroit, a community so rich with loving, brilliant people working to create alternative community systems every day.
DesignBuildBLUFF is a program within the University of Utah's architecture school. Students collaborate with Bluff, Utah community members to design, plan, and build custom homes, drawing on local wisdom, materials, and building techniques along the way.
Program Director José Galarza engaged me to build DesignBuildBLUFF's brand from the ground up, including brand guidelines, identity, website, and collateral for the program. I brought in collaborator Kelsey Premo Jones to help tackle this challenge.
Together, we crafted a brand that is full of energy and remains in keeping with the University of Utah brand while expressing its own scrappy, intuitive, hands-on personality.
I led the design process from primary research to art direction to production and am happy to say this was one of the greatest collaborations I've experienced as a designer.
When The Barefoot College was built in the 1970s in rural India, its creators initially intended it to be a craft school which would help impoverished communities develop marketable skills. Today, the College enjoys a long legacy of incredible craftspeople and has expanded its activities far beyond the initial scope.
The fastest-growing program within the College is the Barefoot Women Solar Engineering Program. Available only to illiterate grandmothers the world over, the Solar Engineering Program ensures that a woman will be able to leave the College after six months with the skills and the confidence to solar electrify her community. This program is complex, deeply idiosyncratic in its methodologies, and unbelievably successful. This said, its rapidly sprawling nature makes for many huge scaling issues, not the least of which is that the women who leave the College may have no way to contact fellow Engineers, College staff, or even NGO staff on the ground in their community if they need assistance with the electrification process.
In 2012, at a five-day innovation lab, I worked with a small team to help the Barefoot College address the communication and scaling issues they were facing. We came up with a hardware/software solution – an education platform and a tablet durable enough to survive the field: The Barefoot Tablet. A year and a half later, we've done research on the ground at the Barefoot College, we've helped build the organizational infrastructure to support a tool like the Barefoot Tablet, and we've entered into the funding process. I've shared a few sketches I did of the Barefoot Tablet. You can see the final synthesis presentation here.
The Business Portal is a full-scale service redesign for the City of San Francisco. From research to planning to opening doors, small businesses in San Francisco will use the Business Portal as the first stop for facilitating every step of the journey.
I was involved with every aspect of the process, beginning with rigorous customer research through visual design and communication with engineering. I collaborated with two other teammates to synthesize and deliver research findings to our client. I led interaction design for the project, including developing storyboards, personas, user stories, information architecture, and initial mocks. I created all wireframes and collaborated with two visual designers to present design solutions to the client. The mocks shown are my solution, and the final, implemented design, drawing from all three presented solutions, can be seen here.
This flexible, agile work style has allowed me to cultivate a deep, genuine understanding of customer needs and to be able to make truly intuitive design decisions.
You can see the wireframe and user stories presentation here.
Airbnb engaged me to design the brand and large-scale environmental graphics for a pop-up park that took up a city block in Austin during SXSW. I led brand design, production, and execution across all deliverables (including unique elements like seed packets, playground games, and a large-scale weaving in chainlink fence) and was the main coordinator among all designers, producers, and contractors on the project.
Valerie Casey of the Designers Accord approached me to design the 100th issue of Design for All, a social impact design publication based in India. The issue, entitled, "Where Can Design Have the Greatest Impact in the Next Five Years?" features essays from ten brilliant women designers. I took a minimal design approach, using energetic hits of color and spare imagery to provide subtle emphasis to salient, inspiring pieces of writing. You can read the full issue here.
Completed at Tomorrow Partners
Role: Supporting illustrator
Lead illustrator, designer: Astra Sodarsono
Art direction, additional illustration: Carl Bender
The State Department approached Tomorrow Partners to create an infographic celebrating Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State. The piece focused on the successful Global Partnership Initiative (GPI), a flagship program which took a new approach to diplomacy, cultivating new partnerships around the globe.
With bold colors and a timeless visual vernacular, we distilled the complex initiatives, facts, and impact figures into a clear, engaging graphic story both digital and print formats. The result is a bright, expressive view into the Department of State's innovative progress.
I've included drawings, sketchbooks, objects, and B-sides and samples from other projects. Honestly, I don't keep this section up-to-date enough, and I don't have a lot of my digital illustration work in here. If you're interested in illustration work, please reach out for more samples.
Everybody's Inside is a series of stories, memories, and thoughts collected during a three month Art Farm Residency on Oregon Country Farm. These stories are represented by several sentimental objects – hand-spun honey, a marble, feathers, for example – saved during my time in Oregon. This exhibition served as a semi-narrative guide to the objects, the stories they represent, and the friends that the stories are centered around.
My time in Oregon was as much about solitude and personal challenge as it was about celebrating the community of farmers, artists, food lovers, pioneers, and weirdos that made my Residency what it was.
I was one of eleven directors to earn a micro grant from Real Ideas Studio to direct a seven minute documentary film around the theme of the Other. The eleven films were shot over five continents and assembled into a feature-length piece, Other Than, which premiered at the 65th Cannes Film Festival.
With a portable café in tow, I approached 100 people in the streets of San Francisco to have coffee and a conversation. Some strangers remained standoffish, and many challenged my intentions. Others passed on fatherly advice. Sometimes we hugged; one woman wept. Ultimately, the project fed my constant curiosity about different kinds of people and provided a safe space for conversations that wouldn't have happened under any other circumstances. It's somewhere between a confessional and a long bathroom line, but with intention, and coffee.
Photographer and artist Todd Selby has made a beautiful career of documenting the spaces of the creative, famous, eccentric, reclusive, and interesting. Todd stayed in Airbnb listings in five cities worldwide with hosts as diverse as his regular subjects.
Airbnb reached out to me to create a microsite presenting the fruits of the collaboration. My approach celebrates Todd's spontaneous, exploratory style, inviting the user to uncover delightful little surprises in a format reminiscent of an analog photo album.
The Epicenter is a community-based housing organization situated in the desert of Green River, Utah. Among countless duties, the Epicenter helps homeowners and renters apply to various programs and supports operations local community center.
I was one of the first Frontier Fellows to visit Green River. I stayed for a whirlwind three weeks. During that time, I created the Epicenter's brand, identity, and designed environmental graphics for the beautiful Epicenter building. I found and commissioned a local artist to hand-paint the signage on the South wall of the building. The message on the wall, "You Are Here," is visible from the train just a few hundred yards away. In addition to brand collateral, I helped write organizational workflows and also organized a talent show for staff members and visiting NCCC members.
When Occupy was in full swing, I noticed that the overall message felt fragmented and that the general tone was one of aggression. I heard people begin to speak about the movement with resentment or worse, apathy. I contributed my voice to the marches in San Francisco and Oakland with a simple message of empathy: I'm your neighbor.
The first time I brought signs out to the Occupy camps, I developed a series of symbolic illustrations to accompany the message. I pasted the posters around San Francisco, and they were beautiful in context, but they felt wrong for the camps. I came back with a more simple version of the sign: a stencil bearing the phrase, "I'm Your Neighbor," which allowed people to make their own version of the sign, or to wear the message, and to spread it quickly.
"How do people assign value?"
This is the question I asked myself before hitting the streets of San Francisco with a cookie jar and an ironing board for a table. I used the cookie as a common currency, asking passersby to trade whatever they were willing. What started as an exploration of human reckoning led to an unfurling adventure in placemaking, punctuated by awkward interaction and satisfying, if fleeting connections.
For the curious, among the list of items I received:
- Several purple pens
- Handful of marijuana
- Small blue vase
This project is an experiment from a Motion Graphics class with Real Ideas Studio's Jim Kenney. The assignment was to create titles for a film of our choice using our own imagery and music or samples. I chose The Talking Heads' live concert, Stop Making Sense, a multi-sensory experience replete with costumes, killer dancing, and beautiful analog glitches.
Inspired by the band's look and feel, I employed some glitchy techniques and lots of beautiful patterns. I used a project called In B Flat, a collaborative sound and spoken word project, to create the track for the titles.
While completing an artist-in-residence position with Art Farm, I opted to design and develop a quick (two-day turnaround) fluid informational site for the program. I used design process material and documentary photographs combined with surprising interaction techniques to convey the oddball, joyful nature of the residency and the people who keep it going.
Rebecca Burgess, a weaver, textile artist, native to Fairfax, California, has decided it's time for a change in the clothing industry. She solicited the help of other artists, craftspeople, and farmers to create clothing on a local basis. For one year, Rebecca only wore garments made within 150 miles of Fairfax. She calls this 150 square mile area the Fibershed.
I created short video pieces for Rebecca to share with funders, friends, and potential Fibershed participants. The videos were really well-received, capturing the hand-built spirit of a very special project.