Harry Umen

- Faculty; On campus

 
Umen_Harry
I try to build confidence in the value of their ideas.
 
 

Even if you've never heard of the Bauhaus School, an art movement founded in Germany at the turn of the last century, chances are you’ve observed its influence in everything from architecture to Web design, says Prof. Harry Umen, chair of Southern New Hampshire University's communications, media arts and technology department.

Umen, who pioneered digital design in the 1980s when he established one of the first academic desktop publishing programs in New England, says the Bauhaus artists, who combined crafts and fine arts, “manipulated space within the rectangle,” just like Web designers and other graphic artists do today.

In Umen’s classes, students learn to use digital technology to translate their creative impulses into still images, animation, layouts and other commercially viable products.

“Technology has accelerated the development of artists, without a doubt,” Umen says, marveling at how much students are able to learn in SNHU’s graphic design and media arts program.

The professor, who has collaborated with choreographers, composers and corporations, says technology has blurred the line between the fine arts and the commercial arts.

“We’re freer to dream and to realize with technology,” he says.

But technology isn’t a substitute for imagination and skill, he adds.

“In our society, in general, there’s a tendency to consider technology as magical thinking, that it will do things for us automatically,” Umen says. “I try to dispel that thought with students and build confidence in the value of their ideas.”

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