Mike Wirth, an assistant professor in the Queens art department is pioneering the department with the new media design major. Worth, who specializes in infographics, has been involved with the evolution from graphic design to new media design in both the community and Queens.
“I want my students to be of a high quality and to really have a great experience,” says Wirth.
“This program has offered me opportunities to learn design skills in a wide range of arenas via tutorials, studio visits and guest speakers,” said Marlene Anderson, a student of Wirth’s. “It has made me a stronger artist because it has provided me with the know-how to provide visually creative solutions in an array of situations and, not to mention, the added collective support system of the teachers.”
Students are able to choose their topic of interest and use the matrix of new media design to learn and become better designers. This year, the program has grown from two graduates to 12.
Students who major in new media design get a unique experience by getting a feeling for what it is like in the real world. Wirth covers simple business practices, like writing contracts and helping the students figure out what they are worth.
“I don’t want to just put my students into an agency and just say ‘be a designer,’” says Wirth. “I want them to pursue their passions, but use design as a way to be effective in those realms.”
The Core program helps them find their passions. Students come back to the art department with new ideas inspired by other classes outside of the field.
This year, Wirth’s students in information design have partnered with the psychology department’s research methods course to help design a poster to visually show their data.
“This is our community engagement,” says Wirth.
The infographics course also has a very unique final project. They have teamed up with admissions and marketing departments to create an infographic about Queens University of Charlotte. The final project is a competition between students and the winners will have their infographic sent out to all potential new students. The final projects give students a real life example of working with clients to produce a desired product.
Wirth also owns his own business, Mike Wirth Art. He says that “owning my own business and teaching here gives me this ability to keep my finger on the pulse in both areas.” He is able to experiment with design at Queens and then takes what works to his business without having to worry about finances.
Wirth considers himself a designer and artist before a teacher. His passion runs deep, which allows students to have rich and fulfilling academic experiences with him. The “creator” from Long Island obtained his master’s degree from Parsons School of Design.
“Mike is so knowledgeable and well known in the design community,” says senior Peyton Doyle. “He offers insightful feedback, valuable skills and tries to get us to solve these design issues in a creative way.”
Wirth was fortunate enough to ride the tech wave and specialize in digital art. He worked with musicians in New York City to explore the relationship between music and visual art and used to hang out at the Ace Bar and provide visual art during performances.
Wirth’s many years of experience and relatable attitude gives students a reason to check out new media design. His hard work and continuous efforts have helped shape the design major. Students cannot wait to see what he brings to the department in the upcoming years.