Jen Christiansen

An Infographer’s Journey through Time and Technology

Monday, April 2, 2018
Lecture Center 102
Jen Christiansen will share how she reconciled her love for art and science amid the shifting landscape of the publishing industry. From Rapidograph pens to Wacom styluses; lush magazine pages to mobile phone screens, she’ll examine what has changed and what hasn’t when it comes to developing science-centric graphics for non-specialist audiences.
Jen Christiansen is senior graphics editor at Scientific American, where she art directs and produces illustrated information graphics and data visualizations. She completed undergraduate studies in geology and art at Smith College, then happily merged the two disciplines in the scientific illustration graduate program at UC Santa Cruz. She began her publishing career in NY at Scientific American in 1996, moved to DC to join the art department of National Geographic, spent four years as a freelance science communicator, then rejoined the SciAm team in 2007. She’s a regular contributor to SA Visual—the Scientific American art blog—writing on topics ranging from reconciling her love for art and science, to her quest to learn more about the pulsar chart on Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album cover. 



Vivian Beer in her workshop

Today's Landscape: Digital making and the creative "shop"

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Lecture Center 102
For Vivian, landscape is an inspiration and the setting for her work – the magnificent landscapes of the planet, the cultural landscapes shaped by the Industrial Revolution, the changing landscape for metalworking in the rise of digital design and the domestic landscapes that we create at home. Her furniture is inspired by diverse forces of nature and culture such as desert ecosystems and aeronautic. Her studio process is deeply embedded in cultures of making and industry.

"To me, design in its most INSPIRING sense is not a market, job, skill or even a process. It is the patterns that interconnect things. Whether formed by nature or nurtured by culture, it is these connections that most interest me in making work... And one of the reasons I find myself endlessly fascinated by the subtle and powerful relationship between ourselves, our environment, our culture and the things we make or use within it."
This lecture is a window into her many sources of inspiration, her wide range of skills and tools, and the ongoing question - how can we push ourselves and our work with the quickly shifting tools in today's "shop"?
Vivian Beer is a furniture designer/maker based in New England. Her sleek, abstracted metal and concrete furniture combines contemporary design, craft, and sculpture creating objects that alter expectations of and interface with our domestic landscape. Her work is in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, MFA Boston, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Arts and Design and the cities of Portland ME, Cambridge MA and Arlington VA. She holds a MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and has held numerous residencies including Penland School of Crafts, Museum of Glass, and a Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and was a 2016 recipient of the United States Artist Fellowship.