Hennessy and Pratt collaborate for 2nd year

Wednesday - October 16, 2013

Pratt Institute and Hennessy V.S challenge students to create new work inspired by pushing limits of their potential. Finalists' work honored with special exhibition during Art Basel Miami

André De Castro
André De Castro
Michael Finkelstein
Michael Finkelstein
Stephen James Mondics
Stephen James Mondics

2013 Participants

André De Castro
MFA, Communications Design; Pratt Institute.
First Place
Project website

Michael Finkelstein
BFA, Photography; Pratt Institute
First Runner-up

Stephen James Mondics
BFA, Film + Video; Pratt Institute
Second Runner-up
Watch video here

Karla Saldaña
MS, Communications Design; Pratt Institute

Sierra Siemer
MS, Communications Design; Pratt Institute

Jenni Ng
BFA, Communications Design; Pratt Institute

Lourenca Alencar
BFA, Film + Video; Pratt Institute

Desmond Wong + Christina Janus
BFA, Communications Design; Pratt Institute

Samantha Nania
BFA, Jewelry Design; Pratt Institute


Videos of the process of some of the artists and designers can be found on our Vimeo page and under the album Pratt and Hennessy, Never Stop Never Settle: 2013 participants André De Castro, Michael Finkelstein, Karla Saldaña, and the 2012 collaboration with the artist Futura


Press Release

Pratt Institute, a global leader in higher education, has partnered with Hennessy V.S, the number one selling Cognac in the world with its own history of excellence, in a competition that challenged nine art and design students to explore the universal theme, and Hennessy's mantra, Never Stop. Never Settle. The competition, judged by representatives from Pratt and Hennessy, will culminate with an exhibition featuring the three top works at the Epic Hotel during Art Basel Miami Beach. Student artwork will also be showcased on the Hennessy website and social channels, providing students with exposure through the company's global platform.

"The Hennessy challenge provided our students with the opportunity to redefine their creative process," said Jeff Bellantoni, faculty advisor and graduate communications design chair, Pratt Institute. "When academic institutions and corporations collaborate, students can benefit from having a springboard to experiment. Students from different backgrounds and disciplines took advantage of this unique opportunity and fully immersed themselves in a collaborative exchange--one that sparked an innovative range of new work," he added.

The challenge started in June when Bellantoni invited participants from photography, jewelry, film/video, and communications design to develop a piece of art inspired by their Wild Rabbit, a constant pursuit of their creative potential. The judging panel reviewed the students' final projects and selected Andre De Castro (M.F.A. Communications Design, '13) as the winner. He was awarded a cash prize and a trip to Art Basel Miami Beach in December.

De Castro's winning project began with reaching out via social media to young people from countries experiencing political or cultural change. He asked each person to choose an object, place, individual, and color that best represented their feelings. The final work, a vibrant series of silk-screened portraits called Project Movements, gives voice to a group of people who are trying to make a difference in the world.

"The partnership between Pratt and Hennessy is very natural because both institutions share a passion for pushing the limits of individual potential," said Rodney Williams, Senior Vice President, Hennessy. "It is a privilege to provide the next generation of talented artists an international platform to showcase and share their unique abilities."

The competition—the second annual—builds on a relationship between Pratt and Hennessy that began in 2012. Mike Cook (B.F.A. Communications Design '12) won the inaugural challenge by creating his first-ever mixed media piece marrying stop motion and live action video with sculpture. He continues to explore multi-media practices in his professional career at a New York design studio.

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