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Walker Art Center: Insights Design Lecture Series: Ed Fella


Courtesy of the Walker Art Center

by Ryan Nelson

Week four of the Insights Design Lecture Series features Ed Fella of Valencia, California. Concluding this year’s series, the lecture will take place on Tuesday, March 25, at 7 pm in the Walker cinema. Tickets are available here.

Ed Fella returned to school to complete his undergraduate and graduate degrees in graphic design, after three decades as a successful designer practicing in the Detroit area where he grew up. He received his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1987 and then headed west to teach at the California Institute of the Arts. His innovative hand-rendered and manipulated typographic compositions, masterful collages, and prolific sketchbooks prefigured the resurgence of the art form and inspired countless other designers to find their hand again in the age of computer-assisted design and desktop publishing. Fella’s work has been shown worldwide and is the subject of several books, including Edward Fella: Letters on America (2000). In 1997 he received the Chrysler Award for Design Innovation and in 2007 the AIGA Medal, its highest honor.

As a precursor to Tuesday’s lecture we asked Ed to reveal a little about himself and his influences:

1. What have you been obsessing about?
It was getting my exhibition up at the RedCat gallery… something we have been working on for several months.

2. What’s your most prized possession?
My 70-year-old body and my 50 year’s worth of work. Both need archiving….

3. What are you reading?
“Graphs, Maps, Trees” by Franco Moretti, an actual book and “Heyday” by Kurt Andersen, an unabridged audio book…I always read both kinds in tandem, one for sitting and one for walking, drawing, or driving…

4. What’s one of your guilty pleasures?
Making “art”!

Courtesy of the Walker Art Center

5. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Making art is good for the soul, the psyche, and the society…

6. What is one of the most unexpected influences on your design?

The discovery (or consciousness) of the “vernacular” and that I was in it!

7. What were you doing before you responded to this questionnaire?

Getting that damn exhibition up…

8. What question do you wish we’d asked you?
“Do you like filling out these types of questionnaires?” and I won’t give you the answer…

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