Designing WOMAN

Columbus native Kristin Tidwell brings her southern creativity to the Hong Kong art scene.

By Roberto Caligaris • Photos by Rebecca Judy

When Kristin Tidwell bid farewell to her family and friends in Columbus, it was no surprise that she was embarking on her latest worldly adventure to a foreign land. Tidwell, a Columbus native, is pursuing a Masters in Graphic Design (her second graduate degree) from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Hong Kong, where she will become the first graduate to complete an entire masters program from the new Hong Kong campus. She was recently selected to design the t-shirt for the Hong Kong Tourism Board Offices for the 2011 Year of the Rabbit.

Before departing on her newest journey, Tidwell sat down with SVM to discuss her passion for architecture and graphic design, volunteering in a Cambodian orphanage and her recent move to Hong Kong.

You are currently pursuing a Masters in Graphic Design from SCAD Hong Kong and you were selected to design the t-shirt for the Hong Kong Tourism Board Offices for the 2011 Year of the Rabbit. How you were selected?

The HKTB held a competition for the students at SCAD-hk to design their upcoming 2011 t-shirt. After collaborating with the HKTB office for 2 months on my designs, my t-shirt "Hong Kong Chinese New Year 2011: Year of the Rabbit" was chosen as the winner. Though it was a challenge to design for a different culture I’m proud to say my exclusive t-shirt will be sold from the Hong Kong Tourism Board Offices for the entirety of the 2011-year.

What was the concept for your design?

The concept is a playful rabbit hopping from the front of the shirt to the back. In each jump the rabbit takes, he leaves footprints and the words “Hong Kong” in his trail.

Why did you decide to continue your education in Hong Kong?

I’m always looking for my next great worldly adventure. When I heard about the program in Hong Kong I jumped at the chance. My goal is to continue working within the architectural community. Having this 2nd masters was a way for me to become a double threat in this economy.

Some of your other work was featured at the Moot Gallery in Hong Kong. Tell us about it.

Six of my graphic design posters representing HK were selected to be featured in Whitespace (an online magazine) for Creative City. (

Also, 1 of my posters (of 367 entries) was selected to be in a Hong Kong exhibition in the Moot Gallery from November 1-12 featuring artists from all over the world.

What other types of work do you do?

I mainly concentrate on architecture and graphic design but do commissioned acrylic paintings and charcoal portraits on occasion.

What surprised you most about Hong Kong?

The sheer volume of people is what surprised me the most about HK. Just getting to and from one place to another can be a daunting and time consuming task.

You also have a Masters in Architecture from SCAD in Savannah and you were one of the winners of the re-design of the Savannah Civic Center.

Yes, my group was the first place winner of the AIA-Georgia Legacy Charette in which I was the team leader and presented it to the Judges.

Asia is not foreign to you, what other places have you visited and what was the purpose of your previous trip?

While in grad school I took five weeks off to work and research in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I worked in a small orphanage with 80 children teaching English and hygiene. While there I completed research for my architectural thesis, based on a squatter settlement in Cambodia.

What’s your favorite building in Columbus?

I’m drawn to the new YMCA in Columbus. I interned 2 summers ago for 2WR (previously Andras, Allen, and Starr

Architects) for a few months and believe strongly in what they produce. The YMCA is great example of contemporary design and materials woven into the historic fabric of downtown Columbus. svm