Media artist discusses success, gives advice to creatives

Artist and author April Greiman (right) has had artwork on display at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (Neha Komatreddy/Daily Trojan)

“I consider myself a collaborator,” Los Angeles-based media artist and professor April Greiman said at her talk at the Roski School of Art and Design. Grieman spoke at the brand new graduate MFA design studio Tuesday.  

Nestled in the heart of Los Angeles’ Arts District, this new facility — a transformed warehouse complete with glass paneling, brick walls and an ergonomic floor plan — provided the perfect backdrop for Greiman’s discussion on the intersection of fine art and design.

According to Greiman, art and design have a beautiful, complex bond that strikes parallels with the perspective all creative disciplines share. She says art needs time to be breathe and live; it needs time to be conceptualized and completed. On the other hand, design has parameters. Art is for the artist, and design is not — a sentiment Greiman has come to understand through first-hand experience.

“Art is reaching a higher level of thinking and making,” Greiman said. “Design has deadlines, a budget and a client.”  

Greiman is an artist, designer and author best known for her work integrating technology and art. She is known for straddling the lines between art, technology, space and color in a way that transcends any singular medium.

She has created designs for the Olympic Games, Los Angeles Wilshire Vermont Station, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, AOL/Time Warner and Microsoft, while her art has been exhibited at museums and galleries like the Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She joined Roski as a faculty member in January.  

Greiman was also the first woman to design an official United States postage stamp in commemoration of the 19th Amendment — the result of the women’s suffrage movement. During her talk, Greiman touched on how her identity as a woman shaped her career and shared her experiences working with abusive male superiors.

“[I] wanted to call out a lot of dudes, famous dudes, for abuse, but like a lot of women, [I] buried it,” Greiman said.

Despite the hardships, Greiman said she has found wonderful collaborators within the field. She has created a space for herself and other women to thrive.

Artist and designer Channin Fulton attended the talk and said she made the trek from San Diego all the way up to the Roski MFA design studio to hear the talk because of Greiman’s reputation as a female leader in the industry. Specifically, Fulton said she admires the way Greiman balances being an artist and a designer.

“[I admire how] she finds the space between design and art, and how [she has] that conversation to educate clients about how good design takes time,” Fulton said.

When asked what advice she would give budding designers, visual artists and creatives, Greiman gave her response: “I don’t have any advice, I’m old enough to know not to give any.”