Student to Teacher

“Design is just ability to recognize the map of connections,” says Marco Lukini, 28-year-old recent graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s Graphic Design Department. Though Lukini was technically a student for the Fall semester, Graphic Design Chair David Grey, who Lukini considers a mentor, assigned Lukini classes to teach and asked Lukini, on many occasions, to accompany him on his professional travels around the world. On one of those trips, Lukini explains, he and Grey worked with hundreds of students in Mexico City, where Lukini is originally from, on a fashion blog sponsored by Sony.

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Lukini’s photographs for a fashion brand catalogue in Mexico City

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An collection of Lukini’s photographs for his catalogue

In the three years Lukini has been at SFUAD, Lukini says Grey has helped him build his teaching skills and their many discussions have fueled his own understanding of his art. “The language [of graphic design] is a remix,” Lukini says, describing his techniques of altering photography. “We’re actively reusing and re-interpreting language over and over again. If that’s so, then every single material needs to be remixed…every person who comes to see it is reinterpreting the aspect of the photo. There is no law in purification, it’s just law in exploration.”

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Examples of Lukini’s alteration art in photography

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An experimentation in album art

Unlike the majority of nervous December graduates, Lukini’s previous schooling in photography and cinematography in Mexico City and communications from UVM (Universidad del Valle de México) has prepared him for stepping in as official staff for the SFUAD Graphic Design Department next semester. Lukini explains that it was his classes at SFUAD, his participation in the Hexagono club and the influences of David Grey that veered his life into graphic design and that ultimately made him decide to teach.

“Graphic Design helped me to…notice the connections in the visual systems,” Lukini says, describing his philosophical application of graphic design. “In every single effect, you would modify the world around you,” he says. “Because of that, design is not a discipline of commercial[ism], necessarily, design is a discipline [in] understand[ing] the correlation and responsibility of community and your own life within that community, or with nature, or with canvas…”

In finishing his degree at SFUAD, Lukini presented his final BFA show on Dec. 5 in the Fogelson library. His presentation included a gallery display of his personal projects from the Fall  and a collection of quotes in the form of a final book (see below).

Lukini says that more than anything, he wanted his presentation to show his gratitude for people like Director of International Development Mark Astrom, who made his travels with Grey possible; Vice President of Academic Affairs Gerry Snyder, who approved his class proposals; his parents, who traveled from Mexico to view his gallery; and of course his mentor David Grey, who Lukini will accompany to New Delhi this December for yet another workshop.

“Grey and me, we’ve been in the battlefield,” Lukini says, reflecting on his classes, his teachings, and his travels. “To me, it’s all an incredible journey.”

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Lukini’s parents travel from Mexico City to admire their son’s work

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Lukini poses in front of his art work