Personal Statement

Jacob Ristau is a tinkerer and maker in all modes of life, but most particularly in design. Through personal projects, writing, and educating, he explores design as a form of embodied vitality grounded in curiosity, empathy, and play.

Jacob’s self-initiated projects typically utilize bodily engagements to trigger re-evaluations of held assumptions and common sense views about the nature of reality. Leveraging play to create a positive political space for disruptive/creative discourse, his works are lighthearted and approachable. Through his writing, he seeks to invigorate disciplinary discourse in design by defining it in vital terms and extending the role of designer beyond the domain of the strictly human.

Jacob’s design work has been recognized nationally and appeared in design publications Communication Arts; Graphis; and Print; as well as in the book Logo Lounge Vol. 2 among others. His writing has also appeared in various publications, most notably Design Issues. His artists' books are part of the Joan Flasch Artists' Book Collection. Jacob has also lectured widely at design education institutions around the U.S. and abroad, sharing his creative work and unique philosophy of design practice and education.

Jacob joined the SAIC Visual Communication department in Fall 2014, having previously taught full-time in a range of design education contexts from a liberal arts university, to art and design schools, as well as state university art and design programs. He completed his graduate study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005.


Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.