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kelly salchow macarthur

is a graphic design

educator and practitioner.





Thousands of miles rowed on bodies of water around the world has instilled in me a deep connection with the natural environment. Modern lifestyles have increasingly separated us from our diverse and nourishing surroundings. Given that environmental action is urgent and imperative to the health of humankind and our planet, my creative research aspires to catalyze empathy and positive action towards ecological issues.

Informed by life and social sciences, and inspired by architecture and industrial design, my work often exploits volume to emphasize the message. The integration of surface, volume, and material has led me to investigate various production methods and technology. This inquiry-through-making explores (among many other things) visual/tactile interchange, planar/spatial relationships, and variation in communicative tone.



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Turning a critical eye to one's daily interactions with objects and the built environment reveals opportunities towards development. Space and function can be enhanced by bringing the peripheral into focus. Such moments have been explored through site-specific mailbox designs for Mid-Century modern homes in Ann Arbor, the interior signage for Kresge Art Center on Michigan State University's campus, and handmade products that push materiality and form.







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In 2010, I designed a 2-sided printed and lasercut poster, and shared it with a large network of collaborators. Designers, artists, paper engineers, and architects around the world contributed to this initiative, following these prompts: 

a poster does not need to be flat //
please take this opportunity to alter the plane
investigate the latent spatial possibilities that
this sheet of paper embodies

1 / discover ways to introduce dimension + disrupt the surface //
fold / bend / tear / cut / deconstruct / reconstruct / etc

2 / photograph it (full or cropped) in a considered environment

3 / share your observations with a brief phrase concerning this experience


5 / view the collective exhibition of our tactile experiments and volumetric forms at elevatedesign.org