Students to Watch in 2011
RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN
Erika Tarte grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area in a little cowboy/ big laboratory town called Livermore. She received her BA in History from University of California Berkeley, worked as a web designer for the U.S. government, freelanced a bunch, and then enrolled in the Graphic Design MFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design. When pressed to describe what she wants to do after school, she usually replies, “I want to work at a design laboratory, not a design factory.”
What made you decide to go to design school?
I wanted to fall in love with my profession again. After working as a web designer for years, I started dabbling in screen printing, freelancing as a print production artist, and taking typography classes at a community college. The composition of my bookshelf changed from O’Reilly to Bierut, Meggs and McLuhan. I realized I wouldn’t be content simply expanding my practice into new media; I wanted to develop a more rigorous approach to design thinking. Three years of intense study seemed like an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
Has it been a positive experience?
Wow. Amazingly positive. Sleepless nights working with my studio mates has pushed my technical and conceptual skills to new heights. Collaborative projects with students in disciplines as diverse as Printmaking and Landscape Architecture have inspired me to push Graphic Design beyond its traditional limits. I’ve discovered a passion for teaching and have had the opportunity to develop and test my curriculum. I’ve had professional opportunities I couldn’t have fathomed three years ago.
Locator from Process Type Foundry
Favorite TV Shows?
The Difference Engine by William Gibson, The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges
Strangers on a Train, The Silence of the Lambs
Susum Yakota, Brian Eno, Madonna
Favorite Fine Artist?
Kottke.org, Quipsologies, Graphic Hug