Kevin O’Callaghan (BFA 1980 Media Arts), chair of 3D Design, part of the BFA Advertising and Design departments, is one of a kind—a longtime designer and educator with an eccentric, inventive and lighthearted approach to public art and transformative conceptualization.
O’Callaghan has taught at SVA since 1985 and in 1999 founded the undergraduate 3D Design program. In collaboration with his students, O’Callaghan has helped create some of the wildest, most memorable and peculiar contraptions, sculptures and conceptual products over the years—much of it transforming and repurposing discarded or obsolete objects, and displayed both on the SVA campus and in such prominent Manhattan locations as Grand Central Terminal and Rockefeller Center.
As a professional designer, O’Callaghan has created colossal and imaginative spectacles for clients including MTV, the History Channel and NBC. Among his best-known creations is the MTV Movie Awards’ “popcorn” trophy; his own awards and distinctions include being named Hall of Fame Laureate, Art Directors Club, and having his work included as part of the Library of Congress.
Given all this, O’Callaghan was an inspired choice to create SVA’s latest subway poster and, unsurprisingly, rather than create a traditional poster, the designer instead created a fantastical 3D sculpture apparatus.
“I love public art,” he says in a video interview about the work (below). “I love when someone can stumble upon something and didn’t expect to see it. ... Maybe someone can learn from it—that’s what I’m all about.”
Like many of his other works, O’Callaghan’s SVA subway “poster” uses antiques and found objects (to really see this unique object, you must watch the video). “I love learning from the past and reinventing it,” he says. “So I wanted to create something where you went, ‘Oh, look at that. Look at that!’ And yet, there was a beginning and an end and it was a contraption that actually solves a problem.”
Check out the new SVA Subway poster video below.