#1 Tip To Succeed As An Artist

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A common joke in the 1950’s is often attributed to comedian Jack Benny.

“How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice, practice, practice.”

Although the joke didn’t originate with him, the comedian did actually play in the famous Manhattan concert hall. And the message of the punch line is true to this day, no matter the instrument.

The same idea holds true in the world of visual arts. The more you do your art, the better you’ll be. And the better you are, the more chance you’ll have of attaining your artistic goals. Whatever your chosen art form is, it requires patience and dedication, attention and repetition.  Painters, animators, ceramicists, costume designers, architects and printmakers alike, all need to pay focused attention to their craft, over and over, and over again.

I think that’s why I love this quote from Ira Glass, story-teller, host and producer of This American Life.  We’re never too young or too old to learn this lesson.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Go forth!

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Photo courtesy of RISD

New Design School Rankings

DesignIntelligence 2013 News

DesignIntelligence has come out with their newest list of the top design schools across the country, ranked by those they say know the most; design firms. Just released today, you’ll find a comprehensive list for undergraduate and graduate programs in Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Industrial Design. You can purchase the entire report, but the top five undergraduate programs in each area are listed here. 

If you’re wondering where to start your exploration for art programs, or just looking to expand your search, this is a great place to begin. Enjoy the journey.


1. Cornell University

2. Southern California Institute of Architecture

3. Rice University

4. Syracuse University

5. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Interior Design

1. Savannah College of Art and Design

2. University of Cincinnati

2. Rhode Island School of Design (tie)

4. Pratt Institute

5. Auburn University

5. University of Texas at Austin (tie)

5. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (tie)

Landscape Architecture

1. Louisiana State University

2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

3. Pennsylvania State University

4. Kansas State University

5. Texas A&M University

Industrial Design

1. Art Center College of Design

1. University of Cincinnati (tie)

3. Pratt Institute

3. Rhode Island School of Design (tie)

3. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (tie)

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what research you’ve found, and whether or not you agree with these rankings.    

The Company You Keep: Top Design Educators

While I was searching through DesignIntelligence’s website I stumbled upon their list of most admired architectural and design educators.  Clearly, studying under the top educators in your field will have an impact on your education.  Think of understanding the nuances of your art form, the perspective of professionals and the contacts for future jobs.  They are all critical to future career success.

I’ve listed a few of DI’s top design professors, but suggest you check out the listing to learn more about each one.  Many work in a variety of fields.  I’d recommend googling the professors and schools that seem most interesting to you.  Let me know what you find.

Margo Jones, Professor and Interior Design Internship Coordinator, School of Building Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design

Randall Stauffer, Interior Architecture Chair and Professor, School of Architecture,
Woodbury University

Craig Vogel, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Professor and Director, Center for Design Research and Innovation, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati

Lisa Kinch Waxman, Professor, Department of Interior Design, Florida State University

John Weigand, Professor and Chair, Department of Architecture and Interior Design,
Miami University

Top Ranked Interior Design Programs

Each year DesignIntelligence, the Design Futures Council’s bi-monthly report on future design trends, ranks America’s Top Architectural and Design Schools.  Design leaders rely on DesignIntelligence for their comprehensive research as well as their insight into emerging design trends.  This year’s survey results have just been released.  Interior Design programs – both undergraduate and graduate are considered in their research – are listed below.

Interior Design, Graduate

1 Savannah College of Art and Design

2 Rhode Island School of Design

3 Pratt Institute

4 Cornell University (tied)

4 Parsons The New School of Design (tied)

Interior Design, Undergraduate

1 Savannah College of Art and Design

2 University of Cincinnati (tied)

2 Rhode Island School of Design (tied)

4 Pratt Institute

5 Auburn University

Do you agree with these rankings?  Let me know.  Regardless of whether you do or don’t, this is a great place to begin looking at the variety of interior design programs across the country.