A Search through Windmills and Skyscrapers
10 x 12" book
Project from The Natural and Artificial Course at the University of Dayton 2007-2008
Project exhibited at the University of Dayton, February 2008 and Nanjing, China, June 2008

This project utilizes works of literature representing two lifestyle choices. The project addresses the decision of balance between commercial and personal design aspirations in a designer’s life. It features a parallel summary of Steven Millhauser’s novel, Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s novel, Don Quixote de la Mancha. Martin Dressler grew up working in his father’s cigar shop to become a famous hotel owner and manager in New York City. He is a man who dedicates his entire life to his work. The classic tale of a farmer in pursuit of the adventures of knighthood is Don Quixote, the “dreamer.” Abstract photography of textures is used to depict both stories. Color plays an important role to guide the reader in correlations between the two stories.

The book allows the viewer to experience the two stories in a side-by-side comparison or individually. It allows the viewer to conclude which path is correct for him or her, that of a business man or of a dreamer or a combination. I find these two stories parallel a question we as designers might ask: how to balance an individual's acquisition of wealth and the fulfillment of personal aspirations in design.

This project was created during a course at the University of Dayton as a part of an art and design exchange program with the Nanjing Arts Institute in China. The course was offered to a select group of visual art students. The focus was a semester long investigation defining the “natural” and the “artificial.” After four smaller investigations, each student created an extensive cumulative project for exhibition. In February 2008, the University of Dayton students’ work was exhibited in conjunction with the Nanjiang Arts Institute students’ exhibition on the Dayton campus. The University of Dayton students work then traveled to China for an exhibition in June 2008.