Maryland Institute College of Art

Design Mecca at MICA

As soon as I left New York City, I started to miss the museums, the art, and the inspiration. I enrolled in Open Studies at Maryland Institute College of Art. At the time I was a Marketing Assistant in the nonprofit industry, and I wanted to learn Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. I hoped to enhance my pitches and content for work, and also to research what to do next with The Last Frontier, the Coloring Textbook about Alaska I wrote and illustrated.
MICA DesignDaily
Sample: Layout for a fictional Architectural digest, assigned for InDesign class.
MICA MetStairs
MICA 1867 Mitchell Map of Baltimore Maryland Geographicus Baltimore mitchell 1867

Tracking History

Moving back to my home town after 7 years abroad was a big deal for me. I had to reacquaint myself with the city and the streets – so much has changed here – but the historical maps are beautiful all on their own. This map by J. Mitchell was published in 1867, in the middle of the Civil War. I was fascinated by the neat and tidy district boundaries – the total opposite of gerrymandered districts – and decided to use this piece as the basis for the Final project in InDesign.

East Coaster Prep

I hated prep school but still appreciate a more conservative, preppy wardrobe. Bright pastels make me happy, and I love to decorate my home with them. The Final project required that we come up with 5 cards, but I wanted to make laminated coasters. I selected the most colorful neighborhoods for my graphics and included important historical facts on the back. My classes at MICA were great but this project was the first time in my life I could see myself actually making something I could hold in my hands.

MICA 1867 Mitchell Map of Baltimore Maryland Geographicus Baltimore mitchell 1867

A Material Girl

MICA map city blocks
Making these coasters was a major turning point in my life. I have always been a creative but before had only worked with words. After the semester at MICA ended, a local artist helped me to make my coaster designs real. These coasters are inspired by my fascination with urban planning and, in the case of Baltimore during the Civil War, the impact of infrastructure on future economic opportunities. Originally I thought I would silkscreen these coasters but it turns out I am better at hand painting. Working with my hands on this project was intoxicating, and fueled my ideas even more.