If you’ve never heard of PechaKucha Nights, or simply PKN, they’re global events for presenting work and ideas of every variety. The catch? Willing participants are limited to 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds. The timed slides stop for no one—thereby limiting ramblers to a total of 6 minutes and some change. Right here in Pittsburgh, PKN nights are co-organized three times a year by Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, AIGA Pittsburgh, and AIA Pittsburgh (American Institute of Architects). We love to see partnerships between neighboring industries like ours in action. These events are valuable to help expand our reach beyond the graphic designers of our city. Architecture, design, and art are naturally PKN staples, but presentations are by no means limited to said categories. Anyone can speak on any subject, which often leads to unexpected entertainment.
The latest event didn’t disappoint. PechaKucha Vol. 31 at Alloy 26 marked the 10 year anniversary of PKN in Pittsburgh! Tickets to the anniversary event included a steady stream of drinks and appetizers to enjoy while we heard from ten brave presenters.
First up was Charles Rosenblum who led us through a really relatable aspect of architecture. He turned a critical, and sometimes comical, eye on finished structures. Even us non-architects in the room easily laughed along at the disasters he pointed out, and tipped our hats to the successes. Later in the evening, Mark Ramdarass shared his experience defying convention when it comes to first impressions. He argued that wearing suits just doesn’t suit for job interviews these days, and that showing personality in your appearance can propel your progress building connections.
A common thread in many of the other presentations at this particular PKN was progress. The 20×20 format lends itself well to step-by-step walk-throughs of projects from conception to final product. We saw the evolution of Julie Mallis’ mural on Strawberry Way in Downtown Pittsburgh, Doug Dean’s design for the Good Charlotte album Generation Rx, and Jan Loney’s mixed-metal installation for Carr Hall at Allegheny College.
Walking into PKN, you never know what you’re going to hear. The mixed bag of presenters is bound to have a little something for everyone, and you walk out knowing a few things you didn’t on the way in. If this interests you, consider attending or presenting at the next PechaKucha Night. Vol. 32 will take place in March; check back in the spring for more details on our website and social.
Props to all of the presenters: Phyllis Kim, Claudia Berlinski, Charles Rosenblum, Kirsten Compitello + Group, Doug Dean, Jan Loney, Mary Cvetan, Julie Mallis, Mark Ramdarass, and Rob Pfaffmann. Additional props to the hardworking organizers of the event: Jen Saffron Director of Communications at Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, Greg Coll AIGA Pittsburgh, Kira Kellner, AIA Pittsburgh, Marissa Dello Russo, AIA Pittsburgh, and Michelle Fanzo Executive Director at AIA Pittsburgh.
Author: Laura Shirley
Associate Art Director at Elisco’s Creative Café
AIGA Member since 2013 (5 years)