ANTOINETTE WESTPHAL COLLEGE OF MEDIA, ARTS & DESIGN
A native of Hirosaki, Japan, Shushi studied Graphic Design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Allgemeine Gewerbeschule in Basel. Her ongoing design research projects — visual translation of cultural ideas — focuses on gesture, form, and type compositions and is based on baroque liturgical music. Twenty-seven series are housed in the permanent collection of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts’s museum in China. Shushi has lectured in London, China, and Japan, and given radio and TV interviews in Japan and Argentina. She has also exhibited her works, presented papers and published in the US, Japan, China, Italy and Argentina.
An avid advocate of international opportunities for students, Shushi created a cultural exchange program with Tamagawa University in 2013, which she has led every year. This multidisciplinary intensive course in Japan is the first Study Abroad program at Drexel to have a reciprocal relationship. Shushi also organizes a mentorship program for the Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD) in Philadelphia, where Drexel students work with CHAD seniors to design their yearbook. After five successful collaborations, the program became an official class at CHAD.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE EDUCATION A MEANINGFUL PART OF YOUR CAREER?
Vezelay, France, changed my life! One summer, a couple of decades ago, a group of us, alumni of the Basel School of Design and the UArts, met in this UNESCO World Heritage Site for a two-week drawing camp, with Dorothea Hofmann and Bill Longhauser. Drawing and painting the gorgeous Burgundian rolling hills, the Romanesque abbey church and capitals, and engrossed by village architecture (coupled with great regional cuisine and wines…), was quite inspirational! Not long after, I left my internet corporate job and never looked back.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE TEACHING OF FUNDAMENTALS VERSUS THE NEED TO RESPOND TO OUR FAST-CHANGING WORLD OF MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE?
While in Basel, though a frustrated student at times, I enjoyed drawing letterforms in André Gürtler’s class and eventually managed setting type by hand in Wolfgang Weingart’s Typography class. Today, I teach my students that while technologies come and go, our knowledge of design foundation remains highly adaptable and timeless. Reintroducing humanity in what we do is a much-needed oasis in our world…
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