From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
Faculty Feature: Prof. Jerry Berg: A Touch of Art and Technology
Art Professor Jerry Berg is an artist with a foot in two worlds, both as a classical realism artist and as an interactive designer. Jerry draws inspiration from both 13th century master artists and 21st century technologists. From this bi-directional perspective, Jerry is taking Tech’s interdisciplinary focus and activities to a new level in the School of Art. In reflecting on his interests, Jerry stated, “I am greatly influenced by the masters of 350 years ago and more recently with the gilded altar paintings of the 13th-14th centuries. I strive to meet the examples those great masters met; in balanced and graceful composition, clear observation, and precise execution. I delight in exploring and merging old techniques and the contemporary realist style and my own modern sensibility inevitably expresses itself.” From the classical viewpoint, Jerry considers himself a contemporary realist painter who works on many paintings from official portraits, religious and historical paintings, as well as still life and small plein air paintings. He works in traditional oils based on the old master techniques and mainly uses wood panel, grisaille and multi-layer glazing techniques to achieve a higher level of detail in his paintings. Jerry also works with 13-14th Century techniques of 24kt Gold Gilding within a painting. He has recently started to design and construct his own frames based on his experiences while traveling in Italy. Jerry received a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts which allowed him to spend the summer of 2012 in Italy studying painting at the Florence Academy of Art. He just recently sent some of his paintings to the International Guild of Realism’s 8th Annual Exhibition at Tempe Center of the Arts. From the interactive designer viewpoint, Jerry uses 15+ years of industry experience in the high-tech creative design world of San Francisco to introduce our students to the interactive design of web and mobile applications. Jerry and his colleagues have just started a new Advanced Web/App Design track within the School of Art, a cross-disciplinary initiative that helps to differentiate Tech’s program from others. Several of the courses in the track are done in collaboration with computer science faculty and students participating in game development. Computer Science faculty Jean Gourd and Mike O’Neil are also collaborating with Jerry on other projects and courses. Jerry continues to look for other venues for cross campus collaboration to enhance innovation and learning opportunities. The new Communication Design track is a comprehensive program offering a hands-on approach in the fundamentals and theories of web, mobile app, and game design and development. The program allows students to focus on interactive communications design within both web and mobile environments. This focus will help students to be highly competitive in today’s more demanding design industry. During the Web design courses, students learn a variety of graphics and web tools for the creation and coding of their web sites. Emphasis is placed on design as well as a basic understanding of modern standards-based HTML5, CSS3 coding, and the latest techniques in modern web development. Students are guided through exercises and projects that give them the knowledge necessary to be successful web designers in today’s competitive market. In the advanced courses, they learn to implement more advanced technologies as well as designing for multiple screen sizes from desktop, tablet, and mobile resolutions. The Mobile App design courses cover multiple aspects of designing within the mobile environment. Students are challenged with designing and considering the user in User Interface design for multiple types of applications and the design of how a user moves through the information within an app. They are able to develop designs and applications that will ultimately be ported to both iOS and Android platforms. Another course included in the curriculum is the Mobile Game Design/Development class. This course focuses on designing games for the mobile environment. Students from both Computer Science and Communication Design are teamed together to collaborate on development of a mobile game. Students learn concepts in level design, character development, animation, scene design, and interface design all within the confines of the mobile game setting. Jerry just recently took his Game Design class to the Digifest South Game Jam, an event where programmers and artists team up in teams of 2-3 to build a game within a 24hr period. Jerry takes his innovation seriously, not only in his approach to art and design, but in his approach to teaching. He constantly strives to keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and changes in technology and innovative application within the design realm. Each year, he evaluates what he has taught in the past and the success of the students, and then along with the latest in software changes, techniques, recent design approaches, modifies each course to keep students learning the best tools to allow them success in their field. Jerry considers himself to be very demanding of his students. Regarding his expectations, Jerry noted, “With my industry experience, I know what is expected of students once they graduate and try to hold my students to industry standards. If they make it successfully through my courses, they will be able to readily compete in any design center. I have students who immediately find jobs in competitive markets such as San Francisco, New York and Memphis. Those are the students that I judge my success from as a faculty member.” Jerry is the father to 2 great kids who are aged 8 and 2. He is also a competitive triathlete, runner, and cyclist. A Brief History of Jerry’s Experience:
- 1995 Creative Director and Cofounder – Golf Media, Inc. in San Francisco Bay Area. This interactive design firm specialized in Golf Marketing CD-ROMs and Web Sites for the largest golf resorts and clubs around the world including Pebble Beach, Loch Lomond, The Prince and many more. The firm was purchased in 1996.
- 1997 Creative Director and Cofounder – Spark Online, inc. This firm took emerging interactive design techniques and used that technology for advertising and other marketing purposes on the web. (for companies like Levi’s, Bank of America, etc.) The firm was purchased in 1998 and Jerry moved on.
- 1998 – present President, Creative Director, Founder Black Lizard Interactive. The firm focuses on Web Design, AdverGame Development, and Interactive Product Demos. Jerry created his own design firm, bringing on a few select team members from his previous companies, started creating highly creative and innovative interactive web sites and online advertising for many Fortune 500 companies. His clients include ABC, Buick, Chevy, Armor All, Chase Bank, Schwab, Dell, HDS, Cisco, Oracle, and many many more.