About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Students and Alumni Flock to Behance to Connect with Potential Employers 

Pratt Institute’s Behance page allows students, alumni, and faculty to collect their portfolios in one place so they’re easier for potential employers and recruiters to peruse.

When recruiters and hiring managers are looking for Pratt students and alumni, there’s one central spot on the web for perusing hundreds of resumes, work, and contact information: the Pratt gallery powered by Behance

Dubbed “Cupid for creatives” by Wired magazine, Behance pools portfolios from visual artists and designers and connects them with companies seeking job candidates. Started more than a year ago, the Pratt page now includes nearly 900 people: roughly 30 percent are alumni, and 66 percent are graduate and undergraduate students. Pratt's Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) is encouraging people to sign up so they don't miss out on opportunities.

Through Behance, Kemar Swaby (M.S. Communications Design, Class of ’15) was asked to create a submission to a public service announcement competition. He designed a poster for an anti-human trafficking campaign and ended up winning the competition’s grand prize.

Christopher J. Lee (A.O.S. Graphic Design '13) is another one of Pratt’s success stories with Behance. He designed a font called  “Canter Typeface” that, through Behance, got picked up by Fontfabric, a site with a huge designer following; it's available to download for free there.

"Behance gave me tremendous amounts of exposure and job opportunities I've never thought I would get! I continue to tell and push my friends to join the Behance community," he says.

Another feature of Behance is its social media aspect. Viewers can comment on pieces—those that draw the most remarks land on a “Most Discussed” page. Likewise, viewers can “appreciate” work, directing pieces to a “Most Appreciated” page. 

Lee’s piece sits at the top of the “Most Viewed” items on Pratt’s page—and was featured on one of Behance’s general, curated pages that include all organizations and users. “It’s a badge of honor. It means a lot,” says Hera Marashian, associate director of CCPD, who launched Pratt’s Behance page. 

When recruiters call Marashian looking for designers in a broad variety of disciplines—architecture, interior design, fine arts, communications, fashion—she often directs them to Behance.

“We’re going to send them there because it’s logical. They can see plenty of work and zero-in on what they want,” says Marashian. "For both employers and artists, it's a huge asset that everyone should know about and use."

Text: Ruth Samuelson


Students Learn Nuts and Bolts of Architects’ Work on Construction Sites  

Nebil Gokcebay (B.Arch. ’00), an associate at Marvel Architects, talks about the schematic phase of designing with third-year architecture students. Architecture students are famous for practically living in their studios. But as professionals, they’ll also work in a distinctly different setting: a construction site.

To explore this aspect of the field, third-year architecture students visited a current project of the Tribeca-based firm Marvel Architects one morning in early November. The students are part of adjunct associate professor Frank Lupo’s “Professional Practice” class, which discusses building codes, contractors, and the methods for managing and delivering a complete architectural project.

Led by Marvel associate and Pratt alumnus Nebil Gokcebay (B.Arch. ’00), the students toured one of Marvel’s new townhouses located in Boerum Hill. The brick homes, which sit next to traditional brownstones, are built to blend into the block and display a distinctive, modern look.

Students pause in front Marvel Architects’ townhouses on State Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Gokcebay first met the students at Marvel Architects’ office and discussed the architect’s role in overseeing the construction process.

“It’s exciting—you get to hear about a lot of the details that you aren’t exposed to at the drawing phase,” said third-year student Chia-Wei Lee.

Gokcebay led the students through one of the townhouses, discussing the architect’s role in managing construction, and reminding students that the devil is in the details. Choose the wrong bolt or materials—“and you need to wait a lot of time to get the replacement,” he said.

Gokcebay also talked about the design inspiration for the townhouses—discussing a trip to Amsterdam that firm principal Jonathan Marvel, FAIA, and the developer Abby Hamlin took for research purposes.

Several students said that the tour was their first guided visit of a construction site. To student Ana Londono, the tour injected a layer of “reality” into the design process. “There are codes to follow and contracts to adhere to,” she said.

But ultimately, knowing these rules and regulations is key to completing projects, according to Lee. “From the design perspective, all of these building codes apply restrictions to the range of design possibilities,” he said. “You have to think about your design and your intention because at the end of the day, you want to see your project realized.”

Text: Ruth Samuelson
Photos: Elizabeth Candela


Pratt Alumnus Illustrates New Yorker Cover in Honor of Nelson Mandela 

The New Yorker cover for the week of December 16 was illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Illustration ’96) in honor of the life and work of Nelson Mandela, who passed away at the age of 95 on December 5. Titled Madiba, Nelson’s oil painting depicts a young Nelson Mandela with his fist raised in the air. Nelson sees the painting as “a tribute to the struggle for freedom from all forms of discrimination.”

Previously, Nelson wrote and illustrated the biographical children’s book, Nelson Mandela. The illustration of Mandela’s 1994 presidential victory, like The New Yorker cover, shows him raising his fist. “It’s different, it’s changed. He’s proud that he fought this fight,” Nelson said of the symbolic gesture.

Nelson has a long-standing relationship with The New Yorker. In 1997, the artist, then 22 years old and a recent Pratt graduate, was featured in the magazine after Steven Spielberg hired him to create the storyboards for the film Amistad. Since then, Nelson’s successes as an artist have included illustrating several stamps for the United States Postal Service and painting the double album cover for rapper Drake’s 2013 release “Nothing Was the Same.” His art is widely collected, and several of his paintings recently joined the permanent collection at the Muskegon Museum of Art, in Michigan.

For more information, visit the artist’s website.

Text: Hannah Holden



Five decades of Pratt alumni reminisced and reconnected on Alumni Day 2013 in the fall. Many alumni were impressed by recent changes on Pratt’s campus, such as the redesign of the Engineering Quadrangle, which was made possible with support from Trustee Emeritus Bruce M. Newman (B.F.A. Interior Design ’53). Attendees also browsed ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and photography for sale at the Alumni Art and Design Fair, listened to a conversation with renowned songwriter Valerie Simpson, and enjoyed a live jazz performance by Madame Pat Tandy and her trio. Alumni Day 2014 will be held on September 20, 2014.         

Text: Ruth Samuelson and Hannah Holden
Video: Peter Tannenbaum
Music: Pat Tandy
Production: Peter Tannenbaum and Ruth Samuelson