Tetreault Thesis: 35 Days, 35 Articles, 35 Posters

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 14, 2010

It was Feb. 9 when senior Graphic Design major Rick Tetreault ’10 blogged about his ambitious goal, soon to be the title of his senior Capstone thesis: “35 days, 35 articles, 35 posters.” The articles came from the New York Times.

The artistry was inspired—not just by the daily headlines, but also by Abbey Ryan, an Arcadia alum and now an Adjunct Professor. (See story on Ryan’s success with A Painting a Day, which has drawn the attention of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine.)

“It took me a long time to get to my senior year of college, most people don’t know that,” Tetreault wrote on Feb. 9, beginning the tale that would illustrate his life as well as his art. “I was on hiatus from the education system for about a year and a half—a time where I needed a healthy dose of reality (which apparently goes hand in hand with manual labor). Anyway, here I am looking up at the towering giant that is senior thesis. It should be noted that my neck hurts. He quoted Paul Rand, ‘If you can’t make it good, make it big.’

“Go big or go home (crying to dashboard confessional songs),” wrote Tetreault. “The time is now. I give you my senior thesis proposal, in its unedited entirety and conceivable splendor.

“Have you ever done anything consistent on a daily basis? How about each day of the week? The whole month? Neither have I, but I think you know where I’m going with this one. Starting Monday, Feb. 15, I will be completing a poster each weekday based on The New York Times daily paper. The posters are not limited to a single article or literal depiction of an article, but that is certainly a possibility. In my original proposal I had a weekly theme involved, but through talks with my thesis class and mentor Abbey Ryan, an accomplished Philadelphia-based artist, I’ve come to the conclusion that daily stimuli of the New York Times would be much more beneficial to the process and (hopefully) keep my ideas as fresh as possible. I’m also interested in checking out their new ‘Times Reader.’ This is a huge undertaking, so getting ‘stale’ is one of my biggest worries.”

Tetreault notes that Austin Howe “says that one great poster can change the world. And I agree wholeheartedly. While quality is almost certainly more important than quantity, the process of creating 35 posters over the course of 10 weeks would not only develop my eye, but also sharpen my ability to communicate complicated ideas in the most efficient way possible. The looming daily deadline should be quite an adventure, too, if nothing else.”

Day 1 came on Feb. 15, when Tetreault was inspired by the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and a New York Times article “Snowboarders Report Poor Halfpipe Condition”. The result is a striking image of snowboarders melting over Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain. From Toyota’s troubles to nuclear reactors in Georgia to the New York City Housing Authority to the economy…. Tetreault turned each day’s news into a poster.

See all 35-plus posters in Tetreault’s senior thesis at www.callmerick.com/blog.