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Take 5 with Frank Fisher
Friday, June 10, 2011
Take 5 with Frank Fisher
By Katie Land, news editor

Composed of a diverse array of faculty, staff and administrators, the Oakland University community is unique, creative, and dedicated. As part of a continuing effort to explore the various roles and lives of our Golden Grizzlies, the News @ OU website presents a new interview series. We invite you to share these stories and “Take 5” with OU.

“Take 5 with Frank Fisher”

Frank Fisher is a senior graphic designer for the University Communications and Marketing Department. As a designer, Frank works on a variety of print and web projects for various departments and divisions on campus, on both internal and external communication materials. Frank looks to find the best way to present the client’s message while representing the marketing interests of the university. Prior to joining the OU community in 2006, Frank ran his own advertising agency for ten years, worked for a technical publishing firm and was a freelance marketing consultant.

1) What types of projects do you work on for the university? 

Most of my projects are print materials such as brochures, invites and posters or web work for e-mail communications such as e-newsletters and e-vites. Projects for certain clients like the School of Nursing, College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business Administration tend to come my way, but at some point I get to work with almost every unit. I enjoy getting to know the departments. It’s like working for an old friend: after a while I get to know their likes and dislikes and what they are looking for in a project. Working for the university offers so many more opportunities than a corporation would. It is like a mini-city and I am able to work with different clients with different specialties. I love the variety, it keeps my day interesting.

2) Do you have any particular skills or hobbies?

Well, I like to “play in the clay.” For me, ceramics offers a chance to create art. I studied ceramics for four and a half years in college but stopped after graduating. In 2000, I wanted a new hobby and went back into clay. After a few years, I began to write articles for ceramic art magazines. Then, I started teaching advanced ceramic courses at Schoolcraft College, then presenting workshops at universities and art schools. I have been very fortunate. My work is published quite often in books and magazines. This month the cover of Pottery Making Illustrated features my art for the second time.

Actually, the positive attention took some adjusting to. It was a really weird situation at first, especially because so much art never receives any response. As an artist, you can put work out there but you don’t know if anyone is paying attention. Then, all of a sudden, it comes back … and starts making demands on you. Now there are a few fan sites and blogs about my art, and I frequently am contacted by students writing papers about my art. It is exciting. But most importantly, I get to be in the studio all day on Saturdays and at least an evening or two during the week. It’s still fun, and I expect I’ll be playing with clay well into my golden years.

3) How do you display your original pieces?

My marketing approach began in a very pro-active, aggressive way, but now my role has become almost reactive. With my marketing background, I understand how to get my work out there and have come to develop strong relationships with many galleries, publishers and fellow artists. I’ve received a lot of exposure through books, magazines and workshops, so my work and techniques have become recognizable. I display my work publicly in two different ways, in sales galleries and in exhibitions, where I explore new and creative territory. My work also is shown and sold through my website at frankjamesfisher.com. There are three galleries in Michigan selling my ceramics, and I am prepping for a show at Red Star Studios that opens the first of July in Kansas City, Missouri.

The life of an artist can be a bit isolated, but now that my 15 year old daughter is into photography, we have been able to work together in my studio. She has been doing the photos for some of my pottery articles, and has now been published internationally. My father was an artist and my brother in New York is a painter, so you could say it runs in the family. Creating art with my family and friends makes it all that much better.

4) What is the busiest time of year in your department?

We tend to get really busy after summer when the faculty return to school. The instructors come back energized with new ideas they want to execute.

5) What is your favorite movie or genre of film?

My sons and I are comic geeks, so for us, this is going to be a great movie summer! We love science fiction and adventure movies. Once a week we have a guy’s night and make spaghetti and watch sci-fi movies or cartoons. We’re total geeks.



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