Alumni showcased at DesignPhiladelphia

DesignPhiladelphia will stop at Temple Oct. 11-12 at the Tyler School of Art.

The ninth-annual DesignPhiladelphia festival will make Philadelphia its own stage during the eight-day festival. Complete with events like runway shows, book signings and open studios, these events will be set up in locations such as museums, warehouses, streets, boutiques and even universities, including Temple.

Temple will host an art market at the Tyler School of Art on Oct. 11 from noon until 7 p.m. and on Oct. 12 from noon until 5 p.m. About 27 artists will showcase and sell their work, most of which are Tyler alumni.

Temple alumni, Kristen Brennan, Patricia Dougherty and Eva Shelley, as well as visiting artist Patrick Carrow will all be a part of the Art Market in their own unique way.

Brennan attended Tyler from 1986 until 1991 and graduated with a BFA in painting and with a teaching certificate. After graduating,  Brennan struggled to find her niche but found that being creative was a major part of her life.

Approximately seven years ago she realized how much she loved drawing funny pictures of animals in outfits.

“As I have two girls and love kids, my work appeals to the little kid in all of us,” Brennan said. “I focus on being whimsical and silly. I love to watch my customers smile and laugh at my stupid jokes.”

Brennan said she finds inspiration for her artwork in everyday life, from her two kids to her French bulldog, Olivia.

Dougherty, also a Temple alumna, will participate in the market. Prior a student at Rowan University, Dougherty transferred to Tyler in 1982 and was a glass major. Like Brennan, Dougherty uses live organisms within her inspiration to create.

“I have chosen symbolic forms that are both universal and personal to express an idea of ‘time,’” Dougherty said. “Often I use nests, eggs, marine animals, and one-celled organisms. They are symbols for natural phenomena that manifest this notion of time. After seeing a specific creature I do a painting or two or three – this forces one to really examine a specimen.”

Carrow of Patrick Michael Designs will also have his work showcased. Carrow’s desire to be a part of the designing community came well before his college years.

“When I was 10 or 12, I would be collecting GQ magazine, Elle, Vogue, Bazaar and so on,” Carrow said. “I would create collages on my wall of assorted designs, from women’s to men’s, from shoes to jewelry. I felt a creative vibration. The fashion drive remained with me. In 2001 I enrolled in the Art Institute.”

Dougherty’s field of artwork has ranged over the years through various jobs and skills such as jewelry designer stain glass mechanic, bead making, silver snipping and much more. Dougherty said she would even go back to nonprofits to continue learning and skill building.

Dougherty explains the belief that design goes hand in hand with everyday life, from what we eat on to the furniture we sit on. Experiencing DesignPhiladelphia last year, Dougherty explains an event that moved her.

“An artist named Amdur did an installation called ‘Looking Glass,’ inspired by a paint-by-numbers kit for Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers.’ Amdur has turned Spring Garden station into something, well, almost garden-like,” Dougherty said. “To make the installation, Amdur had her drawings translated into a digital format, then printed on fabric, and finally embedded in industrial resin.”

Carrow receieved an opportunity to intern with Alexander McQueen and said when he realized that he could relate to this successful person, he knew he could follow his dream.

Patrick Michael Accessories now carries things from handbags, to clutches and much more. He said he finds inspiration everywhere he goes, even in a dark hallway,

“I’m out in this dirty and dingy hallway and the floor is all ripped up but there is shape and texture, highlights of light and dark that my eye goes to,” Carrow said. “So I can find it [inspiration] in this dark hallway, in my garden, anywhere. It’s all about pattern and color.”

Shelley, from Medford, N.J., is another Tyler alumna joining the market. Graduating from Tyler in 2005 with a BFA in glass, Shelley still carries what she learned at Tyler School of Art with her today.

Shelley explains that her glass flowers have become a big hit for weddings, but now it’s time to expand onto other things that will interest men and for people who have specific interests, such as the beach.

Owning her own business is not something that Shelley had anticipated happening. She is hoping that setting up at the art market will help her market herself, meet new people and grow with her business.

“It’s great to do something for myself. I never thought this could happen,” Shelley said. “Pushing myself is exciting. It’s exciting to grow.”

As a returning artist from last year’s art market, Brennan said she looks forward to seeing new student faces and visiting the facilities, she also urges that DesignPhialdelphia is for anybody, artist or not, who just enjoys visual arts. At her stand, look for original illustrations painted onto plates, mugs and more.

“I have one woman who comes back to each art show I do to buy a new cat mug,” Brennan said. “She has a collection of about six or seven of them. That makes me feel awesome. I also really enjoy the look on customer faces when they get my silly jokes. That is the greatest reward of all.”

Chelsea Finn can be reached at

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