The Fugitives of Design Fugitives – Siara

We previously discussed who Design Fugitives is, as a company, so our current series of blog posts are going to give some insight into who we are individually. Our diverse personalities are what make dF such a unique and creative company. Enjoy “The Fugitives of Design Fugitives.”

Siara collage

To paint an accurate picture of our newest designer, Siara, we first need to capture her goofy yet caring nature. About a month after Siara joined the Design Fugitives team, she took it upon herself to spruce up the office. In an attempt at beautification, she chose some plants, named them (as one does), hand-built them planter boxes, and placed them around the space. Due to the lack of direct sunlight in our office, most of the plants chosen were succulents, but we branched out and picked up a fern (named Nutmeg) and a hanging flower plant (Brenda). However, one unfortunate afternoon, Siara took Nutmeg and Brenda on a field trip outside to get some much-needed sunshine. They spent the day happily soaking up the sun, but when Siara checked on them at the end of the day, they were sadly missing. As to not let the plant thieves win, Siara tried to plan a memorial service for Nutmeg and Brenda and poured her effort into nurturing her last surviving succulent, Tyson.

Siara has always claimed to be “from Milwaukee,” but that’s only partially accurate. The truth is she was born in South Dakota, raised in Germantown, attended college in Kansas City, and lived and studied in London. But once her feet hit the ground back in Milwaukee, she was off running: securing a job with Design Fugitives, acquiring studio space to work on her personal projects, volunteering with the art gallery and charity Redline Milwaukee, and grabbing Friday fish fries all over the city.Siara Facts

Siara’s personal introduction into art began with oil painting, but once she gained more creative freedom and opportunities in college, she realized that her interests in texture, form, process, and actual spatial concerns broadened her artistic palette and directed her toward sculpture over painting. After completing her degree in sculpture and creative writing at the Kansas City Art Institute, Siara hopped across the pond to study furniture making and upholstery at the London School of Furniture Making and Shoreditch Design Room Studios. It was there that she discovered a love for woodworking. She uses a lot of wood in her studio practice, combining it with other mediums and materials to create new and unique compositions.

While she claims to not take compliments well, Siara said the best compliment she was ever given was when a younger classmate called her an inspiration, which is just about the biggest compliment someone can pay. For Siara, inspiration can come in many different forms; from houses, to her family, to flea-markets. But, in her words, “Inspiration is fleeting and ever-evolving. I can’t go looking for inspiration, otherwise I’ll become disappointed.”

At the end of the day, Siara tries to live by one piece of advice: Be brave and unapologetic. It’s a good reminder to never be sorry for who you are, liking what you like, or doing what you want. Whether it’s with regard to her art or her questionable dance skills, it’s safe to say that Siara lives bravely and unapologetically.

The Fugitives of Design Fugitives – Miguel

We previously discussed who Design Fugitives is, as a company, so our current series of blog posts are going to give some insight into who we are individually. Our diverse personalities are what make dF such a unique and creative company. Enjoy “The Fugitives of Design Fugitives.”

Miguel collage

Miguel originally planned to study Drawing and Painting while attending the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), but after taking an introductory sculpture class his sophomore year and realizing that objects and physical spaces were much more interesting to him than working within a flat plane, he decided to change his course of study to Sculpture and Industrial Design. We’re pretty happy he had this realization, as that passion and knowledge has lead him to become the lead fabricator at Design Fugitives. Being able to understand how things are made and what steps you need to take to achieve a certain result intrigues his curiosity regarding the fabricated environment we live in.kit and ace lighting

As he spends most of his time in our shop, Miguel has his hands on a lot of different materials. His favorite? “I think i would have to choose Aluminum as my favorite medium/material. It’s light, strong, nearly rust proof, and looks great raw. It is an incredibly malleable material and quite forgiving. I definitely understand why Apple keeps choosing it as their medium of choice.” He also enjoys working with lighting and creating suspended sculpture pieces, especially the lighting piece “Shuttles” that we created for Kit and Ace and the mobile “Orchid Bloom” for the Sojourner Family Peace Center.

Originally from Chicago, Miguel moved to Mexico when he was three and lived there for five years before returning to Chicago. He moved up to Milwaukee for college and has stayed here since, citing the numerous opportunities available to a young artist paired with the affordability of the city as his main reasons for staying. Although some people might argue that Chicago, New York, or LA are the “places to be” if you’re an artist, Miguel says he wouldn’t be able to afford Lauren Factsboth his apartment and his own studio if he lived in those cities and prefers the makeshift and independently run aspect of the Milwaukee art scene. The ability to rent his own studio space is especially important to Miguel, as he spends most of his free time at his studio, either working on ideas and sculptures for upcoming shows or just cultivating his creativity by playing conceptually.

This motivation and work ethic hasn’t been overlooked by his peers, former professors, and employers either, as he’s been told by many that he is hardworking with a healthy amount of perseverance. He’s always been motivated by the knowledge that we only have a limited amount of time on this earth, so he pushes himself to create the best work he can while he’s here. This same inspiration is what drives him toward volunteering activities in Milwaukee. Earlier this summer he participated in the Crohn’s and Colitis Walk with his girlfriend, Marissa, who has Crohn’s and has started working with a non-profit to bring more awareness toward the disease.

Miguel isn’t all work though. He describes himself as sarcastic (and we’re not arguing!) and spends his time playing on a soccer league with his friends or Snapchatting videos of his cat, Scoob. It’s that balance between motivation, creativity, and humor that make him a great fit with the Design Fugitives team.

Make sure you check back next month to learn about the rest of this team of Fugitives!

The Fugitives of Design Fugitives – Lauren

We previously discussed who Design Fugitives is, as a company, so our current series of blog posts are going to give some insight into who we are individually. Our diverse personalities are what make dF such a unique and creative company. Enjoy “The Fugitives of Design Fugitives.”

Lauren Collage

Lauren bravely moved to Milwaukee in January of 2014. She arrived in the frigidly cold and snowy climate on a Friday, found an apartment over the weekend, and started at Design Fugitives that Monday. It would be 3 months before the snow would melt and she finally saw the ground in Milwaukee. Lauren is no stranger to the midwest, but her hometown of Evansville, Indiana – only five minutes from Kentucky – doesn’t get quite as much snow as Milwaukee does.

Lauren received her BSC from BSU (Bachelors of Science from Ball State University, that is!). She then hopped across the pond to the University College London for graduate school where she earned her Master of Architecture degree in Experimental Digital Fabrication from their architecture school, The Bartlett. She chose her career path because she found it combined her interests in art and physics. As children, Lauren and her twin sister enjoyed experimenting and making new things. Their favorite toy was their Easy Bake Oven, although it saw more melted crayons than cakes or brownies.

direct supply 30_detailLauren’s favorite medium has since evolved from melted crayons to aluminum. Its lightweight and rust-resistant properties open up more options when constructing metal sculptures, which explains one of the reasons the Direct Supply 30th Anniversary sculpture, a 30-foot LED-lit sculpture made from water-jet cut aluminum and dichroic acrylic panels, is one of her favorite projects that she’s worked on at Design Fugitives. In addition to the aluminum, Lauren’s favorite part of the sculpture was the data embedded into it with each employee’s signature laser-etched into the acrylic panels. Plus, it was a project where Lauren had the opportunity to touch on every aspect of the process – from the engineering to parametric input to fabrication.

When she’s not working on projects for Design Fugitives, Lauren likes to utilize the shop to build furniture for her own apartment or gifts for her friends and family. She’s assimilating well into Milwaukee and its history of making, which is one of her favorite things about the city.Lauren Facts However, still being somewhat new to “The Good Land,” she also spends her free time trying out new things in Wisconsin – like catching a show at the Pabst Theatre, heading to “My Office” for a beer afterward, or even learning how to ice fish in the winter (someone please take her!)

The best piece of advice she said she was ever offered was to embrace the discomfort of trying new things or visiting new places; that’s how you know it’s worthwhile. Describing herself as tenacious, resourceful, and inquisitive, Lauren’s curiosity has always been sparked by multiple varied and occasionally unrelated topics, such as dumpster diving to building a 3d printer. A friend of hers once told her that he couldn’t figure her out, as she didn’t fit nicely into any of his preconceived labels. Luckily, her curious nature perfectly fits in with the team at Design Fugitives.

Make sure you check back next month to learn about the rest of this team of Fugitives!

The Fugitives of Design Fugitives – Tuan

We previously discussed who Design Fugitives is, as a company, so our current series of blog posts are going to give some insight into who we are individually. Our diverse personalities are what make dF such a unique and creative company. Enjoy “The Fugitives of Design Fugitives.”

Tuan collage

When Tuan was a child, he used to pick up discarded motorcycle parts and try to reassemble them into something new. Little did he know at the time, but he was developing the skills that would lead him to become one of the founding partners of Design Fugitives.

Tuan, who attended the UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning for both undergrad and graduate school, was conducting research for his thesis on a new approach to design computation when he had the realization that he wanted to focus his energy and creativity on design and fabrication. It was at UWM-SARUP where he met other like-minded architecture students who came together to found Design Fugitives.

Originally from a small town in Viet Nam, Tan Phu in the Dong Nai Province, Tuan and his family immigrated to “the frozen tundra” of Wisconsin when he was eleven years old. It’s safe to say that Milwaukee has grown on him since then, citing the city as “physically small, but rich in many other aspects such as culture, affordability, and opportunities.” Although, if he could travel anywhere, it would be back to Viet Nam to visit places that, despite being born there, he still hasn’t seen.

The restaurants in Milwaukee have also grown on him, listing Pastiche, El Cabrito, Pho Cali, and Classic Slice as some of his go-to eateries. He also regularly patronizes businesses in Design Fugitives’ neighborhood – Historic Walker’s Point – recommending Anodyne Coffee Roasters, the espresso ice cream from Purple Door Ice Cream, and rounding out the day with free pizza with a side of Art’s always-entertaining stories at Just Arts Saloon.

When he’s not out frequenting local Milwaukee restaurants, Tuan is either playing with his adorable 18-month-old daughter, Aimi, watching YouTube videos of robots (who doesn’t love robots?!), perfecting his steak-grilling skills, or wasting time binge watching Netflix (specifically, “Better Call Saul” and “Fargo” right now).IMG_2168

kit and ace lightingAs a founding member of Design Fugitives, Tuan as worked on a lot of projects, but his favorite is the Shuttles Dance Light Fixture that was designed for Kit and Ace.The scale of the project was small, yet it had a lot of space for experimentation in regards to concept, form, and materials. The process and execution of this project were, in Tuan’s opinion, an embodiment of Design Fugitives’ M.O. Check out the fixture yourself by heading into Kit and Ace in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward on North Broadway.

Although Design Fugitives has only executed one project with glass, the Sanctuary Lamp at Jesuit Retreat House, Tuan chose glass as his favorite medium to work with due to its great physical and experiential potentials. Glass can be transparent, translucent, or reflective. It can be spatial, or an object, or a sculpture. It’s a medium that is strong, yet fragile. Hopefully we can look forward to more glass in Tuan and Design Fugitives’ futures!

Make sure you check back next month to learn about the rest of this team of Fugitives!

The Fugitives of Design Fugitives – Justin

We previously discussed who Design Fugitives is, as a company, so our current series of blog posts are going to give some insight into who we are individually. Our diverse personalities are what make dF such a unique and creative company. Enjoy “The Fugitives of Design Fugitives.”

justin collage

Our next Fugitive in the spotlight is another one of the partners, Justin – someone who describes himself as tenacious and ambitious and is inspired by great works of art, architecture and nature. In addition to taking care of the behind-the-scene paperwork that keeps Design Fugitives running and being a fabrication wizard, he is apparently also our most well-written Fugitive, so I’m going to let him tell you a little bit about himself.

“I was born and raised in what I called Kenosha for most of my growing up years. Then one day the village of Pleasant Prairie grew up and got a Post Office: my zip code changed from 53143 to 53158. Alliteration can be nice, but the letter “P” is too messy…I’ll stick with Kenosha.

“My Dad was a big inspiration to me getting my hands dirty when I was younger. He encouraged perseverance and always had a unique way to solve problems. If anyone inspired me to help in making a business work, it was him. My mom is very creative, yet very humble about her talents. She is the go-to person for creative input in the family. I have two younger sisters, two of the smartest and most inspiring people I know.  My wife, Kathie, is an ICU RN at Froedtert, aspiring knitting wizard, and loves to watch cooking shows. She is extremely funny and level headed under pressure – perfect for a nurse. We have a 13-year-old boy named Vincent who loves anything technology, does freelance graphic design work for friends, and mixes his own digital music.

Print“Since a very early age I enjoyed creating art and thought I might attend an art school; however, I always had a  serious problem of having too many different interests. My dad convinced me to attend UW-Whitewater to get a few business classes under my belt before moving into the job world — I ending taking ZERO business courses and majoring in graphic design.  Through a professor at UW-Whitewater, I met some of the sculpture faculty at UW-Milwaukee and began thinking about grad school at UW-Milwaukee. I found that many discussions about my interests were centering around architecture. I began studying at SARUP soon after.

“I didn’t always know I wanted to go into design and fabrication. I just always hoped some position or some employer would allow me to experiment once in awhile.  I thought I would see what DF was all about in 2011. The other partners have not been able to get rid of me since then. If I hadn’t found DF I would have invested way too much into a personal workshop.”

Justin’s favorite medium to work with is metal because of the versatility of the material; the possibilities to manipulate different metals by welding, bending, forming, cutting, casting or tempering are endless. Which is probably why his favorite projects are the ones when he gets to use our CNC plasma and welding equipment. However, he says he is most rewarded by the latest project he tackles; the challenges of working as a team to figure out how to piece together every aspect of the project are the most exciting.

While Justin would love to take a trip back to Scotland someday, for now he’s happy where he’s at in Milwaukee. “It’s large enough to have some of the resources of a major US city, but small enough that you have the potential to make a meaningful impact. It’s often inspiring to meet so many other MKE area residents who care deeply about the present and future of the city.”

Make sure you check back next month to learn about the rest of this team of Fugitives!