Since the Ides of March, Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel have been Henry Wolf Residents in Graphic Design at the American Academy in Rome. But it was just a few short weeks ago that Helfand—an author, columnist and lecturer on graphic design—took on the enormous task of commemorating in gouache on paper the entire AAR Fellows class of 2010, as well as more than a few members of the staff. Jessica finished the portraits—based on iPhone photos taken by her daughter Fiona—just in time for the Friday 28 May rosette ceremony, in which the Fellows formally receive the designation “FAAR”.
In a recent article published by Felt and Wire, Jessica Helfand discusses her thoughts on these portraits, plus a series of more abstract line studies that she simultaneously executed. Ironically, Jessica will miss the Academy graduation: just before the Rome ceremony Jessica, Bill, Fiona and her brother Malcolm fly to Spain, the last stop of the family’s year-long 29,000 trek around the world. (more…)