Educator David Jon Walker on Transitioning Between Communities Without Losing a Sense of Self
David Jon Walker is an assistant professor of graphic design at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. In addition, he also acts as the principal of Rhealistic Design, a small design consultancy. Furthermore, he’s also one of 12 designers featured in Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators: Conversations on Design and Race, edited by Kelly Walters and forthcoming from Princeton Architectural Press.
As Walters notes in her introduction, those included in the book teach across a variety of institutions. Yes, from big research universities to small liberal arts schools and community colleges in different parts of the country. Their conversations with Walters take them back to their own education, paths, and experience of becoming designers and educators. Together, they give insight into the ways that race, racial identity, and design education influence how designers of color position themselves in the world.
In the following interview, Walters speaks with Walker about going from an HBCU to a graduate program. There, he was the sole Black student in the graphic design track. Also, all the while learning to design on the job and the early influences of album artwork and party flyers.