Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Graphic Design

First Advisor

Bethany Johns

Second Advisor

Paul Soulellis

Third Advisor

Douglass Scott


Cosmographies deal with the order of nature. They are general descriptions of the universe, and this thesis is a cosmography, dealing with visual content, constraints, and the complexity of symbolism.

Visual experience is dynamic, interrelated, and inherently tied to a value hierarchy. On a micro level, design is my way of understanding the world, while on a macro level, it is a tool to generate new perceptual structures for engaging with, not merely seeing, design.

The work is based on the idea that multiple symbolisms are inherent to all things, and these symbolisms will shift based on context. Cosmographies are elaborate systems of sense making that constellate a view on the order of things, allowing artists and designers to engage with intertwined concepts in their work. Using the histories of art, philosophy, science, and museology, I shaped a cosmography around which I have developed this thesis and the work within it. I pull from these subjects, parse, and re-present the concepts in a new form that relies on the fundamentals of human perception, while striving for a better understanding of our relationship with and our reactions to visual stimuli.

Ancient beginnings, Bronze Age metallurgical technologies, bestiaries, French theory, and contemporary art allow for a robust visual system to evolve that relies on the importance of context and conceptualized information. Flipping symbolism, content, time, and history are all integral to constructing human visual concepts, and provide the methods to re-inhabit hackneyed content in order to explore alternative hierarchies and value structures.



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