Joel Frank

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Submission for Nike design Competition

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Photography and Digitization

After completing graduate school at Mills College, I was hired on as a digitizing technician  by the art museum to photograph, edit, and maintain a growing digital database of the over 10,000 piece collection. Documenting the work is part of a global push to make the world's art collections privately accessible to curators around the world. Having never been documented before, it was an amazing honor and thrill to open and digitize box after box of undocumented treasures from the collection. Highest among those were the Japanese ceramics collection, a ceramic plate by Picasso and an amazing set of drawings by Georgia O'keefe and Arnoldo Pomodoro. Additionally, before I left MCAM, I wrote and graphically illustrated a technical manual on 'best practices' museum staff and future digitizers.

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Moment of Conception:

After being a sperm donor for friends, I created a body of photographs that explores the moment of conception by painting with oil on water. I cast lines of light over the compositions to represent our intentionality over this biological moment. 


For Mammals: 

I'm fascinated by places that are pleasurable and also entirely artificial. As mammals you'd think we'd be turned off by synthetic grass and chlorinated pools yet Palm Springs is one of my favorite places to relax. 




This series of photographs uses Chia Seeds to visually represent my love of psychology and fascination with how our brains function. the central image below shows how different centers of the brain fire given different stimuli.  The two purple images explore SSRI's or medication that modulates Serotonin levels.  They were exhibited at the De Young Museum in San Francisco as part of a group exhibition in 2016. 


Slow Build:


Things like stalactites are a kind of visual representation of time. Everything moves fast in the day to day so when I come across something that can only be accomplish with build up over time, I'm stopped and enjoy thinking about the larger narrative of time. This series is about deposits that build to something fantastic that can't be reached any other way that plodding on over time.


Chemosynthesis II:


Thinking more about environments foreign to mammals and most life on earth—i made this series to reflect the deep sea thermal vents that feed the chemosynthetic tube worms. i used chia seed and strobe lighting to create a mars-like foreign atmosphere that I imagine reflects the vents in these deep parts of the ocean.

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Netflix altered an entire industry by changing the way people connect with digital media. This painting done for their head quarters, depicts a break from linear thinking represented by fractured orange and white lines. The crystalline, blue and green organic forms behind that show the responsive, algorithmic connections Netflix used to pioneer a new way delivering media. The title of the painting, "Occam's Razor" is pulled from a philosophy terms that ponders multiple was of looking at the same thing to get different results; in this case, signifying a shift in thinking when it comes to connecting people to entertainment.  Netflix chose a different way to connect an audience to entertainment. 

Materials: Acrylic Paint on Linen


Color and drafting skills from my background in traditional fine arts have translated into being an extremely fast and effective visual communicator. Drawing from life, gets me through design iterations quickly and painting has afforded the ability to understand how light works and make nuanced 3D renderings that resonate with clients and coworkers.