Capp Street Project: John Maeda

October 03, 2000 to December 16, 2000

MIT professor John Maeda's powerful artistic ideas combine computer science and visual arts to challenge our common assumptions about designing on the computer. As a Capp Street Project artist-in-residence at the California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) this fall, Maeda will create new works of art and share his approach to art making with CCAC students, faculty and the Bay Area public. In conjunction with his residency, the CCAC Institute will present two San Francisco exhibitions of Maeda's work. Maeda@Media will include digital books, posters and new sculptural works. John Maeda: Coded Blue will feature a new work Maeda develops during his residency.

As an artist and a computer scientist, Maeda views the computer not as a substitute for traditional tools, but as an artistic medium in its own right. He advocates teaching artists and designers computer programming in order to liberate them from the limits of prepackaged design tools. By thinking about computer code as an art form, Maeda is redefining graphic design.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Maeda received bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science from MIT in 1989. Inspired by Paul Rand's book Thoughts on Design, Maeda turned his attention to graphic design, completing his doctoral studies at the Tsukuba University Institute of Art and Design in Tsukuba, Japan. There he began to experiment with ideas on ways to bond the simplicity of good graphic design with the complex nature of the computer. His experiments grew into a series of five "Reactive Books" that today are the world-recognized standard for high-quality, digital media design.

Maeda's recent awards include the 1997 Tokyo Art Directors Club Interactive Prize, the 1999 Japan Ministry of Culture Interactive Prize, the 1999 I.D. Magazine Gold Prize, the 1999 New York Art Directors Club New Media Gold Award, and a 1999 Daimler-Chrysler Design Award. His commercial work was honored in 1996 in John Maeda: Paper and Computer at the Ginza Graphic Gallery in Tokyo and the Dai Nippon Duo Dojima Gallery in Osaka, Japan. His work has been featured in IDEA, AXIS, Print, ArtByte, Technology Review, ID Magazine, Creative Review and other publications. He is the author of Design By Numbers (1999, MIT Press) and a forthcoming book, Maeda@Media (Rizzoli). Maeda is Sony Career Development Professor of Media Arts and Sciences/associate director of the MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a partner in MEADEASTUDIO, a Lexington, Massachusetts–based print and digital design consultancy.