Dear Boliou wanderers, procrastinators, and foolish econ majors who took an art class thinking it would be ‘easy’ and now it’s 3 a.m. and you have no idea what raku is supposed to look like: greetings from a ghost no longer privileged to haunt the halls of fair Carleton. Prof. Alison Kettering recently wrote to me and asked if I wouldn’t mind contributing a short bio; like all blowhards I can’t resist talking about myself ad nauseam, so I readily assented. What follows is a short exercise in self-congratulation; it hopefully contains some relevant nugget of wisdom, or at the very least makes you laugh.
Jason Engdahl graduated with an art history degree from Carleton in 2000.
Shortly thereafter he moved to New York City to find his fortune. A combination of luck and persistence soon paid off – this former editor of the Carl found work at a fashion magazine (NYLON) as production manager. As is the case with many a small company, the few who are willing/gullible get to do the lion’s share of the work. Within a few months he found that in addition to production manager he was the photo editor, junior designer, and staff photographer (to say nothing of his side work as illustrator and tech support). During this time he lost few chances to lord his art history degree over anyone willing to listen. Shortly thereafter, the art director was poached by Condé Nast to launch Teen Vogue and she took Jason along as a senior designer. A few more years of long evenings elapsed, during which time Jason honed his skills as a designer and art director, again using his degree to inform and elaborate new ideas with regards to publication design, photographic art direction and web-press color correction. To many, his background was an anomaly- the rest of the art department had all been to some sort of art trade school where they learned the same Rodchenko layouts and Jan Tschichold typography. But this lack of canonical knowledge was the very reason for his success: the Carleton-honed mind of efficiency was able to adapt itself to any situation, finding new ways of doing old things and keeping things fresh. After a few years of this he struck out on his own, opening Enamel design in 2006. From his Chinatown office he works mostly with a clothing company called Rogan on their varied projects, anything from textile design to look book art direction to designing surfboards. Some of this work can be viewed at rogannyc.com (find the very small ‘projects’ button for some interesting videos). In his spare time he hangs out in Brooklyn with his girlfriend Siobhan and their small dog Pickle Von Corndog. For the last decade he has also gotten his art on with Brooklyn art-combine the Madagascar Institute (madagascarinstitute.com for a poorly updated, wildly confusing tableau of slightly misguided art ‘projects’ and videos of things blowing up). His misses Carleton, hopes you are all having a good time, and asks you to recall that famous line of Herrick, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may; Old time is still a flyin'”.