Wayne State Associate Professor of Graphic Design Danielle Aubert is a 2021 Kresge Arts Literary Arts Fellow.
Aubert said she received $ 25,000 and support for the development of a short film showcasing her work. She also plans to use her scholarship to pursue her passions for the visual and literary arts.
Aubert has experience in producing written works, she says.
âI first published a book on Lafayette Park, which looks like a neighborhood in downtown Detroit that’s sort of well known for its architecture,â Aubert said. âI co-edited it with two other graphic designers. And then I did other artists’ books, but more recently I did a book about the Detroit Printing Co-op, which was just a printing house in downtown Detroit from 1970 to 1980. .
Although she could have applied for an award in the visual arts category, Aubert chose literary arts because she wrote and co-wrote books on graphic design, she said.
Aubert’s books include “The Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing”, “Marking the Dispossessed” and “Thanks for the View, M. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit”.
âI felt like I had to be able to write because in graphic design, when you’re working with a client, it’s pretty straightforward and you’re kind of meeting the needs of the client,â Aubert said.
Katie Grace McGowan, CEO of Kresge Arts and WSU alumnus, said she met Aubert 10 years ago while working at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit.
âWe had a book launch for ‘Thank you for the view, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit,â McGowan said. âSince then we have run in similar circles and have admired his work as a ‘artist, activist and organizer Her art excel and’ The Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing ‘are particularly exciting for me.
Much of Aubert’s writing is incorporated into her teaching, she said. She emphasizes Detroit’s graphic design history in her lectures.
âI felt like a lot of the history you know has been taught and a lot of the history of graphic design focuses on graphic designers from Western Europe,â Aubert said. âOr if he’s from the United States, he would focus on designers from New York, maybe California, but I couldn’t find much in Detroit.
Kresge Arts program coordinator and WSU alumnus Asukile Gardner said Aubert was his teacher during his graduate program.
“I worked a lot on sequential art and design during my time there, so his knowledge of graphic design was extremely helpful in broadening my perspective and complementing my practice, âGardner said.
Aubert said one of his recent interests includes integrating other topics into graphic design, such as politics and activism.
âDuring last year’s covid, I interviewed different designers who sometimes used graphics in the service of certain political movements or works,â Aubert said.
Aubert also uses social movements such as Black Lives Matter to integrate the identities of graphic designers as individuals and activists, she said.
Gardner said he visited Aubert for advice and ideas during his graduate program.
âShe was very helpful when it came to exploring the different methods of printing, binding and composing my pieces,â he said. âI think she really helped develop and advance Wayne State’s graphic design program. One of the first (probably the first) MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in this program graduated while I was there if I recall correctly.
Aubert deserved the scholarship because she collaborates with artists in the city, has impactful work and supports all artists, Gardner said.
Assistant professor of music technology Joo Won Park said he worked with Aubert on teaching styles.
“His graphic design course and my electronic music ensemble course had an interdisciplinary collaboration in 2018-2019, âsaid Park. âThe students in the design class made concert / tour posters for my ensemble, and the ensemble used them to promote events throughout the year. All the artists involved were committed and passionate. Danielle and I were thrilled with the learning experience we provided for the students and the resulting products.
Aubert is a great candidate for the scholarship because of her creativity, Park said.
âIn addition to being a great artist, she helps her students and collaborators from multiple disciplines to grow and shine,â Park said. âShe first reaches out to help newcomers to the community (like me a few years ago). Collaborating with Danielle was fun and enjoyable, and I trust her artistic decisions and directions. I think Kresge saw those traits in her.
Marisa Kalil-Barrino is the Arts and Entertainment Editor-in-Chief at The South End. She can be reached at [email protected]
Cover photo provided by Danielle Aubert.