Inside “Fashion Illustration Performance” Class at Parsons

We paid a visit to this class–taught by AMT Illustration faculty, Nora Krug, and School of Fashion faculty, Gabriel Asfour–sat in on some fantastic presentations, and asked a few questions. 

Read on for student responses, insight from the instructor, and some amazing outfits, process shots and performances from the Fashion Illustration and Performance class and blog!

What was your project based on? 

“My project was inspired by Agnes Richter’s straight jacket and Japanese Boro fabric. I was drawn to their personal, historical and durational qualities. The materials I used varied, but were mostly found objects or personal scraps discovered each day.” – Sarah Lawrence

“My project was based off my personal life being a gay man growing up in a Christian family; the idea of being trapped in a cage.” – Richard Lopez

“My Project was about Nightmares and Dreams and how could I create a portal betweeen our subconscious and our reality. I used dream catcher based elements like think rope, wire, beads, fake pearls and ostrich feathers.” – Rosa Andia

“Creating wearable objects for kids with physical disabilities.” – Lexy Ho-Tai

What was your favorite part of the class?

“Seeing other people’s work. Especially from other programs and getting their feedback.” – Xinyi Li

“Receiving feedback from both professors who have such different ideas/talents/approaches. I also enjoyed exchanging ideas with students in different majors/ disciplines.” – Sarah Lawrence

“My favorite part was the openness we were given with the assignment. We were able to allow our aesthetic to come through.” – Chrisila Maida

“The freedom and flexibility of creating our own projects.” – Carmen Gama

What has this class taught you? 

“This class has taught me bigger life lessons about society and the problems that people face. This class helped me push my boundaries and develop my concept to it’s full potential.” – Advika Aggarnial

“How to follow my gut. Channel my sentimentality. Move away from writing. Achieve compelling aesthetics. Have a lot of fun!”- Anais Freitas

“This class has encouraged me to treat my work as an art form. To not hold back to make something “wearable” in ans everyday sense of the term. I have grown to trust my guy and my vision and explore it with out hesitation.” – Sarah Lawrence

“[How to combine] art with socially engaged works.” – Lexy Ho-Tai

We also asked instructor Nora Krug about the formation of the class and the development of the “Fashion Illustration Performance” blog.  

How did this class and the subsequent blog come about?
I developed and taught this class last year with Pascal Gatzen, and taught it for the second time this year, together with Gabriel Asfour. This is the first year that we’ve had a blog. We thought it was important to set up a blog as a platform to not only collect and share inspirational images and visual precedents from the world of illustration, fashion and performance, but also to make sure that students kept each other updated on the development of their pieces, and their thinking and making process. Two of our students volunteered to set up the blog, and Gabriel and I kept on reminding the students to regularly upload and tag their work.
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Are there any themes/restrictions that the students abide by during the semester?
There were no restrictions. We wanted to give the students as much freedom as possible, which would allow them to explore non-traditional and unconventional approaches and consider the relationship between art and society, and fashion, illustration and performance from a new angle. Bringing together students from different disciplines and having them collaborate and exchange ideas in the classroom was crucial in this approach. We encouraged students to think of the design process as a sculptural process, and to look at their pieces not as garments, but rather as art projects that, hopefully, will challenge common contemporary perceptions of how we look at the media of fashion and illustration. We urged illustration students to think beyond the flat surface and consider how wearable drawings can transform the experience of moving in a public environment, and fashion students to move away from a more commercially-driven approach and think about how garments can work as canvasses for personal expression. The only things we asked of the students was to choose themes that are of importance to them as human beings, to experiment, to share their work-in-progress on a weekly basis, to produce work consistently throughout the semester, and to deliver a fully executed final project in the end.
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What are your ultimate goals for the blog and performances?
The goal of the blog was to create a platform to not only share inspirational images and visual precedents from the world of illustration, fashion and performance, but also to make sure that students kept each other updated on the development of their pieces, and their thinking and making process. Also, we wanted to be able to share what was created with the larger community at Parsons, and the general public.
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We didn’t have a particular expectation of how the term “performance” should be applied. Not every student interpreted the performative aspect as engaging in a publicly staged event. For one student, the performative aspect of her project meant wearing her garment in a secluded environment, which was her own room. For another student, it meant creating tools that would help disabled teenagers engage in painting activities, and thus creating their own artistic performances. We wanted to keep the term “performance” as loose as possible.
How does this class influence the students?
The class allowed students to think more experimentally and inter-disciplinarily as artists and look at their own medium from a new, non-traditional angle, and to consider their role as artists in society.

Live Supermodel Drawing and Talk Sunday, 12/7, with Coco Rocha and Simon Collins

Parsons Students and Faculty are invited to join supermodel Coco Rocha and Dean of Fashion Simon Collins for a 30 minute conversation followed by a live drawing session, as Coco Rocha poses for students as in her upcoming book “Study of Pose: 1000 Poses by Coco Rocha.”

Both events will take place at 7PM on Sunday, December 7th at the University Center’s Tishman Auditorium (63 Fifth Ave.)

RSVP here:

*Please note, drawing materials will not be provided. Bring your own.


NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium: Peter Maresca

kidscrackerc-small1The 111th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 8 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Please note 8 pm starting time.

Peter Maresca on Artists and Anarchy, Origins of the Sunday Comics – 1895 to 1915
Discover the first 20 years of comics, a time when there were no set styles or formats for the medium, when artistic anarchy helped spawn a completely new type of entertainment that would influence popular culture for a century to come. Here is a long-overdue examination of the origins of the American Sunday Comic Strip, the art form that gave birth to modern comics. View rare examples of the seminal work of Outcault, Dirks, Swinnerton, McCay, Herriman, and dozens more known and unknown “Founders of the Funnies.”

Peter Maresca  is a lifelong collector of comic strips and owner of Sunday Press. He was a pioneer in digital entertainment when working for Apple and Macromedia in the 1980s and 90s. In 2003, frustrated by forcing comics onto small, monochromatic cell phone screens, he set out to create, on paper, full broadsheet-sized Sunday comics. His proposals were turned down by major publishers and thus he became an “accidental publisher,”  producing his own reprint collections.  The first was the original-size comic strip volume, Little Nemo in Slumberland, So Many Splendid Sundays, and Sunday Press was born. Nine books and 12 Will Eisner Award nominations later, Sunday Press has assembled the first full-size review of the earliest newspaper comics in Society is Nix, Gleeful Anarchy at the Dawn of the American Comic Strip.

NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium: Marguerite Van Cook

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The 110th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 7 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Please note 7 pm starting time.

Marguerite Van Cook will read from and discuss her original graphic auto/biography The Late Child and Other Animals, accompanied by a slide show of images from the book. The book is written and colored by Van Cook and adapted to the comics form and drawn by artist James Romberger.

A decade after Hetty Martin survives the bombing of Portsmouth by the Nazis in World War II, she gives birth to a child out of wedlock, Marguerite. Now Hetty must go before a tribunal to prove that she is a fit mother. From there, The Late Child and Other Animals tells the story of Marguerite’s childhood in the recovering British naval port and the rural beauty of the Isle of Wight and in Normandy, France. The journeys and struggles over decades of this mother and daughter are linked in five episodes that veer between lyricism, wry wit, and harrowing suspense.

“The hallmarks of this remarkable writer-artist team are intensified in this loose, often lovely, personal coming-of-age narrative, haunted by a dark undercurrent, that focuses on Van Cook and her mother.” – Hillary Chute, author of Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists

“Everything feels so very alive in these pages, words and colors and line!” – Mary Ann Caws, author of The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter.

“Reading The Late Child and Other Animals, one experiences how poetic the graphic novel form can be, how memories rendered through sharp lines, soft watercolors, and penetrating narrative prose can immerse you in worlds far, far away.” – Tahneer Oksman, author of Mourning the Family Album

Marguerite Van Cook came to New York her punk with band The Innocents, after touring the UK with The Clash. She stayed and opened the seminal installation gallery Ground Zero with her partner James Romberger. Her own works as an artist and filmmaker have placed her in many museum collections.

Her current generational graphic memoir The Late Child and Other Animals with James Romberger (Fantagraphics) has been translated and published in France under the title L’Enfant inattendue. Her color work on the graphic memoir 7 Miles a Second, a collaborative project with James Romberger and the late David Wojnarowicz garnered her a nomination for an 2014 Eisner award for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist.


James Romberger’s ecological comic Post York was published in 2012 by Uncivilized Books; it includes a flexi-disc by his son Crosby and it was nominated for an 2013 Eisner award for Best Single Issue. Romberger collaborated with Marguerite Van Cook and the late writer, artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz on the critically acclaimed graphic novel 7 Miles A Second, which was first published in 1996 by DC/Vertigo and then released in a revised, expanded edition in February 2013 by Fantagraphics Books.


NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium

The 108th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 7 pm at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Please note 7 pm starting time.


Abigail Zitin on William Hogarth: Narrative Art and Visual Pleasure.

British artist William Hogarth (1697–1763) is, arguably, the ur–graphic novelist, famous above all for pioneering the form of the pictorial narrative series (for instance, in A Harlot’s Progress and The Rake’s Progress). For this reason, his work has always been championed by literary critics, particularly those committed to thinking about textuality across media as well as the development of the novel form in English literature. But in addition to his popular graphic works, Hogarth also published The Analysis of Beauty, an essay whose main arguments often seem at odds with the images for which he is best known. In the Analysis, Hogarth defines beauty abstractly, as an effect of lines and spatial relationships rather than representational content; he has remarkably little to say about storytelling, visual or otherwise. This presentation explores the disconnect between Hogarth’s theory and his reputation as a virtuoso of visual narrative, asking how―and whether―we should reconcile the visual style of by this famously literary artist with the formal principles he seems to have held dear. I approach this question by looking closely at how Hogarth talks about technique: both his careful attention to the mechanical practices of drawing, sculpting, and engraving―even boxing and dancing―and his evident insecurity about expressing his ideas verbally. Hogarth never lets his reader forget that he is not a writer, and this self-consciousness, I argue, should prompt a reexamination of what it might mean to describe him (whether appreciatively or critically) as a literary artist.

Abigail Zitin is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and the 2014–15 Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University. She studies aesthetics, visual culture, and literary criticism in eighteenth-century Britain; her research focuses on Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty and the history of formalism. A recent essay on Hogarth’s aesthetics appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies; another is forthcoming in ELH.

Pop-Up Gallery Show for Beyond the Page

DeathBecomesUs_GalleryShow1Check out the pop-up gallery show featuring projects from this semester’s Beyond the Page class, run by Noël Claro. Along with student work, they will be displaying the results of the collaborative project they did with Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and Universidad Iberoamericana.

BFA Illustration Alumni Featured on

crybaby collective

The Crybaby Collective, an online store that was formed by a group of BFA Illustration alumni, was recently featured on the Tictail blog! Learn more about the group of artists and the Collective here.

Alumni within the Collective include:

Sarah Bibel, Vincy Cheung, Ayline De Wilde, Hannah Drossman, Caelina Eldred-Thielen, Sylvia Jun, Aleen Montchal, Jieshan Ng, Josie Stevenson, Steph Tan, Grace Wagner, Pinky Weber, and Justin Yoon.


Alumni of the Week: Hannah Drossman

   Hannah‘s detailed and repetitive mark-making first began in her sketchbooks her freshman year at Parsons when she realized how meditative it was to work that way. Later on in school she started incorporating that kind of drawing into her projects and eventually her thesis.
    Since graduating, Hannah has explored using this technique in different forms, such as sculpture, mixed media and, most recently, very tiny books.
    She also started The Crybaby Collective with her friends and fellow Parsons Illustration 2014 alum. They have an online shop on which they sell products made independently and collaboratively.
Alumni:Hannah Drossman  Screen Alumni:Hannah Drossman
Alumni: Hannah Drossman

Student of the Week: Anna Outridge

Hailing from Newcastle Australia, Anna has been living and studying in New York for the past three years. Anna’s work is inspired by childhood nostalgia and the appreciation for all things weird and wonderful. Her work is often autobiographical, and she likes to utilise visual story telling as means to process experiences, and understand the world around her.  She is currently part of Meagan Cignoli’s creative team, where she makes short form stop motion animations for a bunch of different brands. In her spare time Anna enjoys spending time with my wiener dog Alfonso, watching B grade reality TV shows and eating grilled cheese.

Visit her website at and her instagram @annaout !

Student: Anna OutridgeStudent: Anna Outridge

Line Up Image

Illustration Faculty Steven Guarnaccia to Open Exhibition “Line-Up” in Rome

Line Up ImageIllustration Faculty Member Steven Guarnaccia will be exhibiting his work in Line-Up at the Tricromia Art Gallery in Rome. Learn more about his exhibition below!

Running from November 15 – December 5
Opening Saturday November 18, 2014.
Tricromia Art Gallery Rome, Italy

About the Exhibition: Line-Up is a retrospective exhibition of the illustration work of Steven Guarnaccia. The “line-up” is the classic parade of possible perpetrators before the victim of a crime. Guarnaccia works primarily in line, with pen, ink and watercolor. He is above all interested in how, with a minimum of means, line conveys character, and in turn how character conveys an idea.

Learn more about Steven’s work here.