My Mentor But More

Ralph Wileman was my design professor when I was in graduate school at UNC. Anyone who studied under him recognizes him as a guru and a mentor to many. He always has a kind word of encouragement about design efforts, but also is a straight shooter about what might be right or wrong about a student’s efforts to create a logo, an advertisement, and instructional video, or anything visual, verbal, aural. What alerts and informs your senses in any medium.

Anyhow, Ralph is also an artist in his own right. I am intriqued by his patternly, abstract, detailed fiber art. An unusual combination of thread. He studied at Pratt, he designed products for Tiffany, he was a loved professor here in Chapel Hill with a solid following. He is also funny, witty, imaginative and always entertaining.

Ralph loves the likes of Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Jasper Johns, Josef Albers and other contemporary artists. What is striking about Ralph’s work is its childlike fascination with the interplay of forms and shapes. The work feels spontaneous and appears to “just happen” by some miracle of the unconscious mind. Viewers are frequently amused and amazed. See this website I created for Ralph and don’t forget to click to see closeups with all the needlepoint details.

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