2011 NVA Winner: Scott Barry

By the Print staff

Title/Type of Work: Graphic Designer
From: San Francisco
Lives in: Los Angeles
Age: 29
Education: MFA graphic design program, California Institute of the Arts

The next five years of Scott Barry’s life has already been determined. In what Barry describes as “five year, multi-phased, limited duration, experimental practice,” he (and Montreal designer Neil Doshi, a recent graduate of CalArts) architected a plan for quite an unusual endeavor. “The practice operates under a different name, and a different set of conditions for each year,” he explains. The themes of each project, in sequential order, are Connections, Encounters, Impressions, Recursions, and Reflections. In some ways the life cycle of a career is encapsulated in these five words.

Illustration for Good magazine.

Barry’s career currently hovers somewhere between Connections and Encounters. Currently an MFA candidate in graphic design at CalArts in Valencia, California, Barry is tirelessly working on the first installment of his practice, set to open next January, while also trying to find ways to fund it and secure its life through the entire conception. He is also collaborating with Montreal designer Neil Doshi, a recent graduate of CalArts, on a project called “Descartes,” set to launch this February.

“Descartes” speaks to a specific concern Barry has about the design world: the consumption of information. “I think the current wealth of blog culture is leading to an overindulgence in form,” he says. “Work is ripped off without any idea of who the maker is and what the forms represent. It’s important to me to understand what my work is consuming, and inversely how it is being consumed.” Barry continues, “‘Descartes’ is a mobile, collapsible unit; it’s a thinking thing. Its mobility enables it to seek out and gather objects, stories, and experiences.

Friedrich Kunath lecture poster.

This collective experience enables the cart to function as a thinking thing; a living archive.” If “Impressions” is what follows Connections and Encounters, Barry’s current and future work seems to give off an impression of ambitious innovation. “In the future I hope what makes my work different is the questions it asks, and connections it makes.”

Work is ripped off without any idea of who the maker is and what the forms represent. It’s important to me to understand what my work is consuming, and inversely how it is being consumed.

Click here to learn more about Scott and to see more of his work.

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