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.
Jessica Helfand is a partner, with William Drenttel, in Winterhouse, a design studio in Northwest Connecticut. Their work focuses on publishing and editorial development; new media; and furthering cultural, educational and literary institutions. Helfand and Drenttel are also co-founders of Design Observer, the must-read blog about design and visual culture.
Helfand is currently Senior Critic at Yale School of Art and is the author of several books, most recently Scrapbooks: An American History (Yale University Press, 2008). William Drenttel is a senior faculty fellow at the Yale School of Management, and president emeritus of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. He is currently the design director of Teach For All, an international initiative of Teach For America working on education innovation in 10 countries. Here you can read more about Jessica and Bill.
But perhaps it’s time to move on to the main task at hand, Jessica’s astonishing tribute to the 2009/10 Fellows of the American Academy in Rome. (And stay tuned over the next month for the staff portraits!)
SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS
Historic Preservation and Conservation
SCHOOL OF CLASSICAL STUDIES
[Not pictured: Jonathan P. Conant Andrew Heiskell Post-Doctoral Rome Prize; also Vanessa Corbera]
Modern Italian Studies
Renaissance and Early Modern Studies