2015-08-21 / Sports

SVA’s Sports Show celebrates years of visual excellence

The Stoop
By Mark C. Healey

SVA alumnus Marc Levine is the New York Mets team photographer. His brilliant shot of a Juan Lagares catch at Citi Field may be his most brilliant. SVA alumnus Marc Levine is the New York Mets team photographer. His brilliant shot of a Juan Lagares catch at Citi Field may be his most brilliant. The School of Visual Arts has developed some of the most prominent photographers and artists in the sports industry. “The Sports Show,” a new exhibition at 601 West 26th Street is opening on Aug. 22 and is curated by graphic designer Todd Radom with Jane Nuzzo. It brings together the work of 32 alumni who have explored the theme of sports in recent years.

Radom, whose work includes logo designs for the Super Bowl, MLB, NBA, Walt Disney and even the logo for the exhibition, spoke with The Wave about his career.

Mark Healey: What made you get into logo design in the first place?

Todd Radom: I come from a family of artists—my father was a creative force, at various times a designer, a photographer, and a copywriter. My grandfather was a commercial illustrator and painter, as was my greatgrandfather. My brother is a photographer and a retoucher; I have a cousin who is a jazz drummer (and he is the son of an actress and a fine artist.) I was literally exposed to art and design from the time I was born, so an eventual career in design came as no surprise—I was literally surrounded by my artistic role models every day. I attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and cannot say enough good things about my education there.

MH: What is your process? Do you still use the older tools you were trained with, and how much does technology help?

TR: I’m old enough to have learned the business before it was all digital, and I still utilize some of those tactile skills, primarily sketching, before jumping in on the computer. But the finished product is 100 percent digital, as it has been for two decades and then some. Technology is great, don’t get me wrong, but having a sense of composition and the ability to draw and to compose letterforms—as well as a working knowledge of how the work will be used—all of that renders the Mac a very, very fancy tool that helps us make this stuff happen.

MH: Does loving a sport help in the design process.

TR: Absolutely! I say it all the time— sports fans are the most ardent, passionate brand loyalists on earth. I am one of them. Knowing what makes a particular fan base unique, knowing what a specific event or season means to fans of a particular team, and having a good sense of the passion with which people embrace the work—it’s helpful and I feel like it helps to make my work “on target.”

MH: Biggest thrill? Biggest disappointment?

TR: My first major league team rebrand, the Milwaukee Brewers, was huge. I was in my late 20s at the time, an enormous opportunity to say the least. I’ve also designed a Super Bowl logo, which is a definite career highlight. Just navigating the process was a job unto itself. In terms of disappointments, there are many, many teams that got away for one reason or another, efforts that never saw the light of day. I’ll keep those firmly sealed under my personal dome of silence.

MH: If you had to pick a favorite logo design other than your own, what would it be?

TR: This really covers a lot of territory! I think about logos both past and present, some of which really represent a moment in time. Like choosing a great meal in a restaurant with a diverse menu, sort of. There is something joyful and spontaneous about the old Montreal Expos logo, but it would never be made today. That said, as a child of the 70s, I love it. On the other hand, I am a classicist at heart, so I’d gravitate toward logos like the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Cardinals, and Indianapolis Colts.

MH: What does this show mean to you personally?

TR: The opportunity to see my work showcased alongside of so many great artists, in a Chelsea gallery setting no less, is a great thrill. Curating this show has been really been a labor of love—I could not have done it without the efforts of my teammate and co-curator, SVA’s Director of Alumni Affairs and Development Jane Nuzzo, as well as SVA Galleries Director Francis Di Tommaso and his staff. SVA means so much to me— I graduated there almost 30 years ago and I have served as a member of the SVA Alumni Society for many years now. So this represents a big career highlight, one which I think people will enjoy seeing as much as I enjoyed helping make it happen.

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