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Brian Shamie

Desk-rocking pixel pusher, twiddler of bits

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Shamie family crest

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With this project, I tried to incorporate bits and pieces from my grandparents and how they converged to form the basis of family for me and my brother. The four family names up top sum up the four family names -- Siragusa and Sciame being the Sicilian side that eventually was changed to Shamie upon my family's arrival in America, and Kaszynski and Latza making up the German, Polish and Bohemian side.

Both of my grandfathers worked in factories (after one left the farm in South Dakota and the other came back from Europe after WWII), and the ability to work with one's hands was passed down through the generations. My grandpa Ralph was addicted to tinkering with machinery and had a garage full of abandoned bikes and lawnmowers he'd pick up from the side of the street and would fix up for the neighbors, while we often called my grandmother Santa "Grandma MacGyver" because she could fix practically anything with whatever odds and ends she had around the house. Both of my grandmothers Santa and Dolores were excellent at sewing, quilting and crocheting, and I tried to represent that with the stitching down the side and the cross-stitchery trim near the bottom. And as you can imagine with all that European blood flowing through our veins, food was (and still is) hugely important to my family. They passed that love of cooking and entertaining down to our generation, even though my brother and I took widely divergent paths -- he's a firefighter, and I work at a newspaper and as a designer. But family recipes are still important to both of us. 

Lastly, the shape of the shield is a nod to my grandfather "Little Joe," who (until his hearing degraded too badly near the end of his life) would get together with his neighborhood cronies at White Castle down the street to drink coffee all morning and "solve the world's problems." 

I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked to on this project, but I really enjoyed this class and would recommend Aaron's classes to anyone looking to learn more about researching and designing projects.

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