March 10, 2014

CalArts Visiting Designer Lecture on March 3, 2014

Roman Jaster presents his work at the Calarts Visiting Designer Lecture on March 3, 2014

Preparing to give my talk in F200

Class Sign-up Fall 2013…

Weirdly, I have always dreaded the possibility of this moment.

Not to seem overly presumptuous, but I had been teaching in the CalArts Graphic design program for four years. It wasn’t a total surprise when So Cho (the student coordinator) asked me to present my work as part of the visiting designer lecture series. Still, my heart dropped and I stuttered something about having to think about it and I will get back to you.

Two facts made me realize that I couldn’t say no. One was of serendipitous nature. The day that So asked me was the 10th anniversary of me signing up as a student for my first CalArts classes in the fall of 2003. That seemed meaningful somehow. And two: after having been out of school for six years I realized that this would force me to slow down, take stock and reflect on my career path so far and, possibly, gain insight for the future.

In the end, everything turned out well. While it took many weekends to prepare and I felt this thing hanging over my head for the last six months, it ultimately was a very rewarding process to sort through my projects, prioritize, judge, search for a narrative that holds my work together, and ultimately have this record of what I find important about my work at the beginning of 2014. And it was fun to provide my students with a deeper context besides what they see and hear of me in class. And from the feedback I received—they enjoyed it as well.

The audience at Roman Jaster's Calarts Visiting Designer Lecture

The audience

The Lecture

Below is a recording of my talk divided into seven chapters. You can also see all parts of the lecture on this youtube playlist.

Thanks so much to So Cho for recording the lecture. It’s a very meaningful document for me. And I hope that sharing it might be meaningful to other people as well.

1. An Illustrated Story of My Life

2. A Visual Style (of sorts)

Projects discussed:

3. Interventions

Projects discussed:

4. Collaborations with Artists

Projects discussed:

5. Books

Projects discussed:

6. Websites

Projects discussed:

7. Conclusion and Questions

A few people expressed an interest in the “Life After CalArts” diagram that I created during the final months as a student. I’m sharing a pdf of the document here:


Planning for the future is a scary, fun, important, difficult and ultimately hopeful act. It allows me to decide on what’s important and provides arguments for small decisions made every day, which eventually add up to a life. My timeline that I envisioned in 2007 ends with the year 2014. I suppose that it is time for me to deliberate my vision for the next 5 to 10 years…