Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Degree Name

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Dicharry, Bradley C

First Committee Member

Gratama, Jan A

Second Committee Member

Williams, Rachel M

Third Committee Member

Snitzer, James G

Fourth Committee Member

Barbuzza, Isabel

Fifth Committee Member

Dilg, John


In the field of alternative journalism, my work seeks to build empathy and combat inequalities of representation within a specified community of viewer-participants. Through MA thesis work, I built flexible, minimalist design systems that succeeded by receding—by eliminating expressive elements and pushing contributor content (visual and literary work in a variety of styles) to the foreground.

In response to the highly technological, reductive mindset that had come to dominate my creative life, I engaged in exploratory exercises that were antithetical to this prior work. Through expressive engagement with analog materials, I isolated the skill of making and responding to a range of personal marks that were free of the constraints associated with developing marketing materials or periodicals for a general audience. Slowed into a more contemplative mindset, I explored abstraction, symbolism and personal history in works that engaged on different levels, and became more open to discovering images through the process.

I found that at the heart of my work—from clean, legible layouts for books and magazines to the most abstract, personal or expressive wall-hanging pieces—is a desire to connect, to bring about preferred (clearer, deeper) states of information transfer by fusing content, form, and viewer participation into moments of contemplative engagement. Whether in pictures, objects, publications, or the user interfaces and platforms of the future that are yet unknown, this understanding will help me respond to changing media environments with work that connects and resonates.


Journalism, Media, Relational Aesthetics, Social Practice


xv, 173 pages


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Copyright © 2016 Matthew de Clairmont Steele

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