Alumnus Jason Ramey selected for $12,000 fellowship as 2014-2015 Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist

Jason Ramey welcomed his daughter, Eva Rae, on December 5. Other recent creations include It's Not Bulletproof. OSB siding, paint, found furniture. 60"x24"x70", 2013. (images courtesy Jason Ramey)

Jason Ramey welcomed his daughter, Eva Rae, on December 5. Other recent creations include It’s Not Bulletproof. OSB siding, paint, found furniture. 60″x24″x70″, 2013.
(images courtesy Jason Ramey)

Life’s been proceeding at a fast pace for Jason Ramey (B.F.A. ‘08 in Furniture Design) since he left Herron. He moved to the University of Wisconsin, Madison to complete a master’s degree and currently teaches furniture design and 3-D foundations as a visiting full time faculty member at the Minnesota College of Art and Design (MCAD).

In 2014, Ramey discovered that he is among a five-person cadre of Minnesotans named to a 2014-2015 Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists. The honor comes with a $12,000 award for each recipient. (To round out the year, his daughter Eva Rae, all eight pounds and 20 inches of her, chose to make her arrival on December 5. He may be a little sleep deprived of late.)

According to MCAD’s website, the Jerome Fellows “…were selected out of a pool of 252 applicants by a panel of arts professionals that included Candida Alvarez, artist and professor in the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Shannon Fitzgerald, curator, writer and executive director of Rochester Art Center; and David Norr, independent curator and writer currently based in New York City.

Art Critic Michelle Grabner has described Ramey as admirably staking out “…. a psychological landscape taut with existential metaphors and personal narratives. At the same time, he unflinchingly confronts the problematic historical debates between the visual arts and crafts, furniture and props, display and architecture by employing the tropes of these dichotomies in his work”—the sorts of debates that occasionally can be found in the furniture design studios at Herron.

Ramey’s artist’s statement attributes his work to his youthful curiosity “about who might have constructed the walls in my family home, and what type of people they were. … These walls weren’t just inane parts of my childhood home, they were my childhood,” he said. His current work still explores these and other domestic themes as it binds up memory “in the space that enfolds our material world.”

Ramey characterizes Herron as “a huge part of my development as an artist. “I had very little experience before coming to Herron,” he said, “I was lucky to work with Cory Robinson, Phil Tennant and David Lee on the basics of design and fabrication. I continue to be amazed at the work I see coming from Herron students.”

In addition to a Jerome Fellows group show at MCAD in the fall, Ramey also has solo exhibitions in Cleveland and the Weber Gallery at Winona State University in the works for late 2015.

Furniture Design graduate students imagine a new version of Brunswick Billiard’s most iconic pool table

UntitledBrunswick Billiards President Brent Hutton approached Herron School of Art and Design to connect with the talented faculty and students in its Furniture Design Program. The task? To reimagine the Gold Crown pool table for its sixth edition. The Gold Crown is Brunswick’s most iconic table—preferred by the pros and tapped by Hollywood to serve as the centerpiece of such classic movies as The Color of Money and The Hustler.

Through the school’s Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life, 11 furniture design graduate students got the chance to create a new version. The Basile Center pairs Herron students and faculty with real client projects. Everyone involved gets an education in the process.

Brunswick views pool as a more than a game. Each pool table is a finely crafted piece of furniture, so the pairing was perfect.

Over the years, Hutton’s exposure to Herron as a Bedford, Indiana native and an alumnus of Indiana University has made a favorable impression. He has spent lunches between business meetings in Indianapolis at Herron, looking at student work. “The thing I remembered most is the freshness of the ideas,” he said. “I really did not see that anywhere else, and at the time I was traveling to New York and Chicago.

“The fit for me,” Hutton continued, “was, unlike an industrial design school, this was studio design, and I thought leading edge in terms of art and thinking.” Hutton considered the leap he was about to take working with students. “It was a risk we took,” he said, “but I tell you, it could not have worked out any better.”

Guided by faculty members Cory Robinson, Katie Hudnall and Glen Fuller, a detailed specification provided by Brunswick and their own research, the students had the opportunity to work on a project that would have been an exhilarating and challenging assignment for a seasoned professional—refreshing the Gold Crown’s appeal to a tech culture and a female audience while retaining its iconic brand attributes.

At the end of June, three finalists remained; Sam Ladwig, Shelley Spicuzza and Colin Tury. When the designs were presented to a gathering of Brunswick Billiards’ top retailers, they met with an enthusiastic response. The students will gain more than a hefty notch on their belts; the first place designer wins an award of $2,500, and the two honorable mention designers will walk away with $500 each. A decision about which design goes into production is expected later this summer. We’ll keep Herronline readers updated as this story develops. To hear an interview with the finalists produced by James Gray of WFIU radio, click here.

IUPUI Motorsports engineering and furniture design students build Formula-style race car

391007_w296The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Formula-style race car competing this week in Lincoln, Neb., is the unique collaborative work of students from two diverse programs on the IUPUI campus – motorsports engineering and furniture design.

The vehicle is one of more than 90 cars entered in the Formula SAE student design competition organized by SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Students from the motorsports engineering program in the Purdue School of Engineering & Technology at IUPUI designed, built and tested the majority of the IUPUI race car. However, the bodywork is the team work of motorsports students and students in the furniture design program of the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI.

“This inventive collaboration is a perfect example of the relevance of art and design to a broad array of applications beyond ‘fine art.’ It also serves as an example of the opportunities afforded to students at IUPUI by faculty who are more than willing to work across school boundaries with their colleagues,” said Glennda McGann, assistant dean for development and external affairs at Herron.

Pete Hylton, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology, is director of the motorsports engineering program at IUPUI, the first U.S. university to offer a bachelor’s degree in motorsports engineering.

Furniture craftsman Cory Robinson, associate professor and chair of Herron’s fine arts department, directed the Herron students working on the race car project.

“It was very interesting to see the kinds of machines that they use to make furniture….and to figure out how to translate our needs to their equipment,” said Nikky Saxon, a motorsports engineering student who worked on the race car project. “The Herron students were very helpful and easy to work with.  It was a great experience.”

According to the description on the SAE website, the concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style race car for a non-professional weekend autocross racer. Each collegiate team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules set up both to ensure onsite event operations and promote clever problem solving.

Motorsports engineering students developed the IUPUI race car’s basic shape using 3D computer modeling to fit a shape around the chassis, including an aerodynamic underbody which provides ground effects. The shape of the underside of the body creates down-force by channeling the airflow through a venturi shaped passageway, similar to what is done on IndyCar and Formula One racecars.

The IUPUI engineering students handed off their design to the Herron students who went to work using their school’s gantry mill — typically used to shape wood for furniture design projects — to shape the pieces which were assembled to form the car’s required body shape.

A fiberglass mold was then made of this shape, and finally a composite layup was made using that mold and it was cured with the help of Indy Performance Composites to complete the body parts.  These were then fitted to the chassis, which is a steel tube-frame configuration built with materials donated to the program by AED Motorsports of Indianapolis.

“We were able to make a much more complex shape by using the Herron gantry mill,” Hylton said. “We were able to design the car on the computer using 3D modeling and translate that to hardware using the gantry mill. Working with specialists from another (non-engineering) realm is excellent experience for our students….and very real world.”

The IUPUI vehicle completed its tech inspection Wednesday as one of less than 40 entries to accomplish that requirement on Day 1 of the four-day racing event.

Design judging took place Thursday. Dynamic competitions such as acceleration, skidpad, autocross, and endurance events will take place today and Saturday.

IUPUI last competed in Formula SAE in 2011 when the school was the top finishing rookie team at the event held at Michigan International Speedway.

For further information, contact Motorsports Engineering Director Pete Hylton or FSAE faculty advisor Andy Borme.