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New Faces: Jonathon Anderson

The new architecture professor on Ducatis, desert living, and ignoring the boundaries between art and design.
People  |  Sep 16, 2013  |  By UNLV News Center
Architecture professor Jonathon Anderson. (Geri Kodey/UNLV Photo Services)

Jonathon Anderson grew up in Chicago, where he was inspired by 20th century modern and international-style architecture. The architecture professor joins UNLV with expertise in digital computation and fabrication, having formerly run a design/fabrication lab in the North Carolina Research Triangle region. Anderson has a Master of Fine Arts in furniture design from the Savannah College of Art & Design, where he was awarded a full artistic merit scholarship. He also serves as co-editor of the newly established International Journal of Interior Architecture and Spatial Design, which solicits the work of educators, practitioners, and doctoral candidates in all disciplines that investigate interior built environments, spatial design, installation art, and light-mobile-architectures.


Why UNLV?

Las Vegas is truly a designer's playground. The intrigue of the city is compounded by its location in the Mojave Desert, as well as its proximity to Los Angeles, a West Coast city with a rich art and design history. Consequently, Las Vegas nurtures a sense of unrestrained creativity and avant-garde risks, which is evident in UNLV's School of Architecture, where progressive design ideology inspires students and faculty, while challenging the future of architecture.

Biggest misconception about your field?

The purpose of design is not to solve problems, but to apply creative thinking and methods to develop solutions and advance understanding. Problem solving is simply a byproduct of the design process.

Biggest challenge in your field?

Communicating the critical value and role of design in improving the human condition.

Proudest moment in your life?

Knowing and watching my parents be so proud of my career and my accomplishments.

One tip for success?

Design is not a 9-5 profession; it is a lifestyle that is collaborative in nature, and requires constant attention, exploration, and interdisciplinary practice.

If you could fix one thing in the world, what would it be?

World peace.

What would people be surprise to know about you?

I do not own a car and exclusively ride my motorcycle every day.

Who was your favorite professor and why?

Sculptor and professor Andrew Scott at the Savannah College of Art and Design was my favorite and most influential mentor because of his philosophical approach toward interdisciplinary visual work that ignores the boundaries that separate art and design. Additionally, his ability to see the value and potential in each of his students creates a genuine sense of empowerment and excitement in the classroom. These are all traits that I strive to embody in my teaching methods.

What can't you work without?

Raw materials.

Who is your hero?

Designers Charles and Ray Eames are inspiring because of their playful, experimental, and progressive approach to design. Additionally, the Eames are significant as there is yet to be any other designers that have as greatly influenced American design at a comparable capacity.

Hobbies?

Cooking, riding my Ducati, camping, and exploring the great outdoors.

--compiled by Jennifer Vaughan, public relations director for the College of Fine Arts