We promised to share updates on the students who were awarded Corzo Fine Arts grants and we are excited to keep that promise. Meet Rush Jackson, a 2019 Fine Arts graduate, who received one of the 3 Fine Arts grants awarded. Rush walks us through their idea, how this grant will forward that mission, and thoughts on the process.
Can you explain your idea?
My relationship to graphic design feels more like a social practice than a typical commercial graphic design practice. The project will operate as an independent design studio, and will be where I share graphic design work I've done. The first of hopefully many facets of this project is going to be a dedicated pro-bono initiative. I want to assist marginalized folks— prioritizing Black people, people of color, and QTPOC folks, by assisting them with whatever project they may be thinking of. For example, a local musician may need a series of flyers or a tour flyer without the means to make it. A black-owned family restaurant may need menus, a website, or general creative direction. The goal here is specifically is starting to take a stab at Black institution building.
Furthermore, what started off as an idea for an independent design studio has the capability to house other miscellaneous projects that are more communal in nature. One-off publications made by myself, friends, colleagues, or a larger community could be housed within the project. While at its current scale I cannot do 100% pro-bono work, but even starting to chip away at Black institution building and community building is truly exciting for me.
What made you apply for the Fine Arts grant? What will it allow you to do?
I applied for the grant because I saw it as an opportunity to receive some infrastructural support in the form of establishing an LLC and getting a website up and running for a currently untitled project in the works.
How will this project/grant affect your work as an artist?
This project originally stemmed from the idea of partitioning my freelance design practice into a separate, less individualistic entity. In other words, I wanted to distance my name from the design work I was doing. This feels like a pragmatic approach to me, as an artist and designer; where do the two begin and end, where do they meet? Is it worth making these distinctions?
I found the answer to the latter question to be yes! Context determines a lot, and the context of graphic design in America is one that is largely commercial/for profit, and has deep ties into marketing and capitalist interests. One doesn't have to look far to trace the destructive impact of a gentrifying cafe that’s been branded with "good design" qualities.
How can we stay updated on you and this project?
I am looking forward to seeing how this project molds and shape-shifts— look out for a future update on rushjackson.com/news for more info in the coming future.