Alumni at work
After graduation you’ll join a remarkable network of alumni impacting a diverse range of fields. Whether directing Academy Award-winning films or leading globally renowned design firms, our graduates continue to pursue the questions that fascinated them as students and find great satisfaction in the work they choose to do.
BFA 93 CERAMICS
Calling herself “a devoted materialist” in a 2014 interview with BOMB magazine, Nicole Cherubini incorporates everything from glazed earthenware to terracotta, porcelain and MDF into her energetic sculptural forms. Her work has been featured in solo and group shows in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Miami.
BFA 02 Film/Animation/Video
TV and film producer
As co-owner of the NYC production studio Running Man, Ryan Cunningham does everything from consulting on scripts during pre-production and working on set during shooting to overseeing editing, visual effects, sound design, music, color correction and mastering. Cunningham got her start in film and television through an undergrad internship at WGBH, where she worked on live-action segments of the show Arthur. She currently spends most of her time producing for comedians including Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (Broad City on Comedy Central) and Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer on Comedy Central).
BFA 10 Textiles
An award-winning designer, Lindsay Degen is best known for her playful knitwear and fashions—for kids through Baby DEGEN and adults through her main line DEGEN. In 2013, shoes she designed in collaboration with Converse wound up gracing the feet of Rihanna and in the time since she's embarked on successful partnerships with Todd Selby, GERLAN, VPL and Victoria's Secret.
BFA 98 Sculpture
A recipient of the prestigious Baloise Prize given at Art Basel, Jim Drain makes fanciful multi-textured sculpture shown throughout the world, including in Utopia Muscle at Nathalie Karg Gallery in NYC (2017) and other solo shows at Prism Gallery in Los Angeles (2012), the De la Cruz Collection in Miami (2010), Blanton Museum in Austin (2009) and the Drantmann Gallery in Brussels (2004). As a visiting artist at RISD in 2014, he collaborated with students on developing a site-specific piece for the new US Embassy compound in Rabat, Morocco.
Eckhaus Latta (Mike Eckhaus/Zoe Latta)
BFA 10 SCULPTURE/BFA 10 TEXTILES
Transforming their multidisciplinary talents into an avant-garde but accessible fashion label, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta have earned a near continuous stream of praise since they released their first collection in 2011. Most recently Vogue called their Spring/Summer 2018 collection among “the best of New York Fashion Week” and the duo continues to turn heads with their unique collaborations and unconventional approach to collaborative design, business development and social media marketing.
BFA 92 ILLUSTRATION
artist and activist
For the past decade, Fairey has continued to create and exhibit politically outspoken fine artwork while also working in the commercial realm through his LA-based creative agency Studio Number One. A fine artist, graphic designer, commercial artist and entrepreneur, Fairey best known for his ubiquitous 2008 Hope poster of Barack Obama. His image of the president is in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and led to a commission for the cover of TIME magazine. For the last decade, Fairey has also been working in the commercial realm through his LA-based creative agency Studio Number One.
BFA 12 Printmaking
Represented by Ryan Lee Gallery in New York, Martine Gutierrez investigates identity are extending the scope of performance art. Her recent exhibitions have been featured at Flag Art Foundation in New York, Boston University, the CAM in Raleigh, NC and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, where her work is also included in the permanent collection. “I think of my work as documentations of transformation and performance,” Gutierrez says. “While gender is undoubtedly always a question in my work, I don’t see it as a boundary.”
BFA 95 Jewelry + Metalsmithing
After graduating from RISD, Rebecca Hannon moved to New York City and worked for five years as a goldsmith. Support from a Fulbright Fellowship enabled her to study at the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste in Munich. Hannon’s work has been featured in solo shows in Montreal, Hudson, NY and Chicago and she currently teaches at Nova Scotia College of Arts & Design in Halifax.
BFA 14 Photography
An Alaska native, Acacia Johnson captures in her photographs the vibrancy of life in the arctic. The recipient of a 2014–15 Fulbright Fellowship that brought her to the northern reaches of Canada, Johnson has had her work featured in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, in National Geographic and Juxtapoz. Now a resident of Norway, she exhibits her photography internationally and works as a seasonal guide and lecturer for Quark Expeditions.
Founded in 1995, Michael Maltzan Architecture in Los Angeles is committed to the idea that good design should benefit people of all socio-economic backgrounds. He has embraced commissions like the one for LA’s Inner-City Arts campus as readily as for Michael Ovitz’s Beverly Hills villa and is known for designing affordable housing complexes for the homeless, art centers and landscapes to stimulate and engage users. A 2012 recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, Maltzan is the design architect for the Sixth Street Viaduct in LA, a new bridge and urban park that foresees a multimodal future for the city.
BFA 15 Industrial Design
A senior designer at littleBits, Ryan Mather focuses on the physical design of future Bits. He has collaborated on the launch of the littleBits Education Code Kit and STEAM Student Set. Beyond his contributions to the company, he is currently working to develop a game called Flip Tales and occasionally consults for Anji Play, an early childhood development curriculum being developed in China by educator Cheng Xuequin.
BFA 92 Painting
As demonstrated in the mid-career survey at the Whitney on view this winter, Laura Owens is expanding the limits of abstract painting. Over the course of her 20-year career, the Los Angeles-based painter has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Vienna Secession in Austria and Kunstmuseum in Bonn, Germany among others. Her work has also been featured in two Whitney biennials (2004 and 2014) and The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World at the Museum of Modern Art (2014).
BFA 88 ILLUSTRATION
Illustrator, writer and screenwriter
A storytelling innovator, Brian Selznick is an award-winning author/illustrator with an unmistakable visual style. In books like Wonderstruck and The Marvels, the Brooklyn-based artist combines narrative prose with hundreds of pages of pencil drawings that convey stories without words. Selznick is perhaps best known for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was honored with a Caldecott Medal and adapted for the screen in Martin Scorcese’s Oscar-winning film Hugo. With a screenplay written by Selznick and directed by Todd Haynes, the movie adaptation of Wonderstruck premiered in October 2017.
BFA 03 Glass
Tavares Strachan first caught the attention of the international art world in 2006 when he traveled to the Arctic to excavate a 4.5-ton block of ice, transport it back to his native Bahamas and display it in a solar-powered freezer. In the years since, he has exhibited at venues such as MIT's List Art Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum and Ron Feldman Fine Arts. In 2013 he represented the Bahamas in its inaugural pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale.
BFA 04 Film/Animation/Video
Within five years of graduation, video artist Ryan Trecartin had landed a trio of major awards, racking up more than $200,000 in art prizes. And it all started with his RISD senior degree project. Less than a decade later, the art critic for The New Yorker proclaimed him “the most consequential artist to have emerged since the 1980s,” while New York Times critic Roberta Smith predicts that he’s “bound for greatness.”
BFA 11 Interior Architecture
When Alina Vadera first graduated, she thought about moving to New York—as many designers do. But she quickly reconsidered when she realized that her home country was where things were really happening in the world of architecture: “Construction is booming in India,” she says. So in 2011 Vadera returned to her home city of Delhi, worked for a time with Studio Lotus and then went on to create AVA Studio, her own multidisciplinary design practice. Her clients include the fashion designer Gaurav Gupta and the Indian fashion retailer Ogaan.
BFA 08 Graphic Design
After graduation Jessica Walsh worked at Pentagram and Print magazine, while freelancing for AIGA, I.D. magazine, Technology Review and The New York Times, among others. Her work has won national recognition, with Computer Arts citing her as a Top Rising Star in Design and Forbes naming her in its annual “30 under 30” round-up of promising new creative talent. In 2012 renowned designer Stefan Sagmeister invited her to become a partner in his firm, which is now known as Sagmeister & Walsh. She also started her own agency, &Walsh, in 2019.
Rich, Brilliant, Willing (Theo Richardson/Charles Brill/Alex Williams)
BFA 06 Furniture Design
After graduating in 2006, Theo Richardson, Charles Brill and Alex Williams repurposed their own last names to launch a NYC-based design studio called Rich Brilliant Willing. Since then they have made a distinctive mark in the design world by creating desirable products that are both disarmingly simple and totally user-oriented. In doing so, they have also earned broad critical acclaim, winning the ICFF Best New Designers Award in 2011 and several years ago making Forbes’ list of the top “30 Under 30” designers to watch.
Discover the work of more RISD graduates: Lindsay Adelman Tanya Aguiñiga Natalia Almada Janine Antoni Ashleigh Axios Huma Bhabha Deborah Berke James Carpenter Ilene Chaiken Roz Chast Dale Chihuly Martha Coolidge Rafael de Cárdenas Liz Deschenes Amy Devers Alex Dodge Rachel Doriss Nicole Eisenman Nicholas Felton Spencer Finch Lizzie Fitch Chris Frantz Tobias Frere-Jones Michael Gabellini Kenneth Goldsmith Jill Greenberg Jenny Holzer Henry Horenstein Roni Horn R. Kikuo Johnson Misha Kahn Jemima Kirke David Macaulay Seth MacFarlane Julie Mehretu Martin Mull Mary Murphy Josh Owen Marcia Patmos Robert Richardson Michael Rock Julia Rothman Anna Schuleit Haber Susan Sellers Arlene Shechet Julia Sherman Shahzia Sikander Adam Silverman Therman Statom David Stark Katie Stout Chris Van Allsburg Willem Van Lancker Kara Walker Tina Weymouth David Wiesner James Wynn JooHee Yoon Andrea Zittel