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New Faculty Member Making His Mark in DAAP’s Print Making Program

New fine arts faculty member Noel Anderson sees DAAP’s print-making studio as a combination experimental laboratory, creative boot camp and exercise room all in one.

Date: 1/22/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Michael Everett

UC ingot   Printmaking – and art making in general – is like yoga in that it stretches the mind.

So says Noel Anderson, new assistant professor of fine arts in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), who is actively recruiting students from a variety of majors to see and use printmaking as an adaptable, creative tool that can contribute to all manner of projects.
UC's Noel Anderson
UC's Noel Anderson with students in the print-making studio.

“Printmaking can easily contribute to the creative endeavors of fashion design students, interior design and architecture students, and planning students, and there are applications for other majors as well, especially when it comes to project presentation. And no passport is needed to enter the printmaking studio,” states Anderson.

For instance, printmaking can help fashion design students create color and patterns on cloth, help interior design and architecture students produce a unique wallpaper, help planners and other majors produce a silk-screen poster, diagrams and color stills.

“Printmaking can add creativity that is very individual to almost any endeavor with a two-dimensional component,” explains Anderson.

He adds that the most important characteristic any student can bring to DAAP’s printmaking studio is a work ethic, something that UC students have in abundance. “I’m always telling students that my motto is ‘exhaust the system.’ Experiment and seek out creative solutions till you hit the wall. Then, walk away from the wall and keep going.”
Noel Anderson

Anderson continues that “the majority of UC students I’ve worked with so far do that. The work ethic here is tremendous. Students routinely sleep in the building here in DAAP. I’ve never been in a school like this,” says Anderson, who has previously taught sculpture and performance art at Vanderbilt and Yale universities.

Anderson, who has previously taught at Vanderbilt University and at Yale University (where he was a graduate student),  also routinely produces and exhibits his own printed textiles, often showing work in Miami, Fla., and New York City. In fact, his work has been briefly reviewed in "The New York Times."

In his art, he is most interested in exploring black masculinity and how any need to redefine black masculinity must begin with children.

“If we’re going to influence perceptions, we need to go back to where perceptions begin to take root at a young, developmental age,” he explains.

For instance, one figure that Anderson focuses on in his exploration of race and identity is the cartoon character, Fat Albert, who served to shape and define attitudes of black masculinity for generations of children, in a show where the main character (Fat Albert) works to maintain integrity in a show that dealt with serious issues – from smoking to gun violence and from racism to immigration – in an manner appropriate for children.
Work by Noel Anderson
A tapestry by UC's Noel Anderson depicting the cartoon character, Fat Albert.

In other tapestries, Anderson depicts an Ebony magazine cover in addition to creating a portrait that combines the features of John F. Kennedy, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Now that he has joined that faculty at UC, Anderson is planning to show his work locally.