New York City native Keith Major’s love for photography and art began in his pre-teen years, when he attended after-school programs at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Pratt Institute. Keith specialized in photography at New York’s highly regarded High School of Art and Design, and after graduation attended the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
With more than 30 years of experience and a roster of A-list clients including Sony Music, Colgate-Palmolive, Essence and Cosmopolitan, Keith has achieved his childhood dreams and established a sterling reputation as one of New York’s most talented and productive commercial photographers.
Keith’s memories of his years at the HS of Art and Design
There was so much talent at the High School of Art and Design. I was as much in awe as I felt at home in a very special place. I couldn’t help but to feel like we were all special. I was always curious about every single student, particularly the ones I didn’t know well or share classes with, “what talent brought them to this place? I’d ask myself.”
My love of the school started the day I took the test to get in, a love at first site that never faded. A&D was the start that gave me the confidence to pursue my photography career with clear purpose and intention.
See more of Keith’s photography on his website Keith Major Photography.
On May 29, 2014 the High School of Art and Design presented to senior honor roll students scholarships and achievement awards. The A&DAA was in attendance to present the numerous alumni awards and well as the association. Here are the award recipients:
The Marcel Fitzner Memorial Award
for Excellence in Architecture and Service
The Victor Stabin Daedal Doodle Award
for Excellence in Conceptual Drawing*
The Alan Hipwell Memorial Award
for Excellence in Photography
The Barbara Nessim Award
for Excellence in Illustration
The Art Spiegelman Maus Fund Award
for Visual Narrative
1st Place- Danielle Duemesi
2nd Place- Cindy Arguello
3rd Place- Danika Grace Sanchez
The Ron West Award
for Visual and Academic Achievement
Graphic Design- Tasnima Tanzim
Graphic Design- Nicolette Francis
Illustration- Anna Niklova
Illustration- Lisa Li
The Broader Brush Award
Graphic Design–Skyla Mangine
Fashion Design–Aiko Taniguchi
Community Service–Gustavo Romero
School Spirit–Abbygayle Williams
The Class of 1980 Merit Award
Photography— Christian Moses
Graphic Design–Kesha Hollins
*The Victor Stabin Daedal Doodle Award for Excellence in Conceptual Drawing is a school award and not associated with the A&D alumni association.
A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans
World War II (1941-1945)
As the German Army was pushed back to its homeland, Benedetto and his company saw bitter fighting in cold winter conditions, often hunkering down in foxholes as German 88 mm guns fired on them. At the end of March, they crossed the Rhine and entered Germany, engaging in dangerous house-to-house, town-after-town fighting to clean out German soldiers; during the first week of April, they crossed the Kocher River, and by the end of the month reached the Danube.During his time in combat, Benedetto narrowly escaped death several times. The experience made him a pacifist; he would later write, “Anybody who thinks that war is romantic obviously hasn’t gone through one,” and later say, “It was a nightmare that’s permanent. I just said, ‘This is not life. This is not life.'” At the war’s conclusion he was involved in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp near Landsberg,where some American prisoners of war from the 63rd Division had also been held.
Benedetto stayed in Germany as part of the occupying force, but was assigned to an informal Special Services band unit that would entertain nearby American forces. His dining with a black friend from high school – at a time when the Army was still racially segregated – led to his being demoted and reassigned to Graves Registration Service duties.Source: Wikipedia
SIA Class of 1939
Sunrise: 12.15.1921 | Sunset: 11.25.2013
Eliscu served in the army in WWII from 1942 to 1945. He was first put to work on camouflage and maps for the Allied invasion. In 1943, he developed a unique technique used by the US Army to rehabilitate facial disfigurements from war injuries. According to his discharge papers, “Made drawings in the operating room of surgical procedures, modeling of features for reconstructive surgery, and carving cartilage for grafting in plastic surgery, pigmentation of skin in plastic procedures. Had three assistants working under him. Served at Valley Forge General Hospital in Plastic Surgery Department.”
Albert A. Verber
Former SIA teacher
Albert A. Verber who was a navy and test pilot died on November 7, 1943 in a plane crash upon take off in Virginia.
Korean War (1950-1953)
A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans
Meet the Art and Design women veterans.
Beatriz Trujillo, Art and Design class of 2008 is in her fourth year in active duty — United States Army. Sergeant Trujillo’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is 27D, Paralegal. She’s a paratrooper assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and her current deployment is with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Sergeant Trujillo is presently deployed at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Janet Gonzalez was a 25 year career navy personnel. This writer’s high school classmate. She was a fun person to be around, nice and truly missed. Janet passed away in January 2014 of breast cancer.
Deirdre Wexler, class of 1974 joined the navy right out of high school.
Charon Hannink, class of 1975 is a 13 year navy veteran.
A Tribute to SIA/A&D Veterans (1980s-Present)
When I graduated from Art and Design in 1980, it seemed like a good portion of my male classmates “disappeared.” Well, not quite. Years later, I was told during our 30th year class reunion in 2010 they literary had to report to boot camp the next day after graduation. Though the United States was no longer in an “active war” during the 1980s, still many of our classmate veterans faced hostile situations abroad prior to the Gulf War. Thomas Michael Tracy was a young marine in Beruit when terrorist blew up the marine barracks.
Class of 1980
Class of 1980
Class of 1980
Joint Forces Command
Class of 1985
USS Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft Carrier
Class of 1988
Gulf War (1990-1991)
Our recently retired career military servicemen.
From one of many tribute to Colonel Rivera. “My wife and I are are very appreciative that you and our sons crossed paths serving in the Reserves. They always had high respect for you and it rubbed off on this Old Marine. I could see that you were a fine Officer, had Great Integrity and was a fabulous leader. I would have been proud to have served with you myself.”–Sam Otto
Afghanistan & Iraq War (2001-Present)
Finally, we’re honored that among our classmate veterans we have a Bronze Star Medal recipient.
CPT Quiles had numerous deployments in various locations like Kosovo, Sarejevo, Macedonia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. During his deployment to Afghanistan, CPT Quiles was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. CPT Quiles has obtained an undergraduate degree in Information Technology and a Masters Degree in Education during his time in the military. Captain Quiles obtained his commission as a Signal Officer.
No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation
— General Douglas MacArthur
“Music happens to be an art form that transcends language”
Music and art, have gone hand in hand since man clapped two sticks together and painted on cave walls. The HS of Art and Design has “churned” out an artistic wide range of talented artists from advertisers to typographers. Art & Design though well known for producing budding visual artists, the school has inspired a good number of musical talent in various musical styles and genre. Jazz, rock, top 40, dance and rap, A&D has its share of notables. From smooth crooner Anthony Bennettedo, but you all know him as Tony Bennett, jazz diva Lynette Washington, fusion jazz drummer Lenny White, Christian “Big New York” de Mesones, neo-soul singer /song writer Nicole Willis of Repercussions, Christopher Martin aka “Kid” from hip hop duo Kid & Play and rap lyrical artist Pharoake Monch. Art and Design high school can add music to its list of “art” style.
The A&DAA would like to take a moment and “put on blast” those former students who may have missed a class to practice harmonies in the staircases, lyrical battles in the hallways. Hanging out a little extra nailing that guitar riff or getting in one more practice after class for the annual talent show.
Let’s look back and check out our musical “peeps.” As Meshell N degeocello would say, “yes I’m digging you… digging you like an old soul record.
Tony Bennett (singer)
Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, New York City. Bennett attend the School of Industrial art, today is the HS of Art & Design. Bennett began singing at an early age. He is a World War II vet and after the war he developed his singing technique, signed with Columbia Records, and had his first number-one popular song with “Because of You” in 1951. In 1962, Bennett recorded his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”.
He remains a popular and critically praised recording artist and concert performer in the 2010s. Bennett has won 17 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented in 2001) and two Emmy Awards, and has been named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree. He has sold over 50 million records worldwide. In addition to all these accomplishments, Bennett is the founder of the Frank Sinatra High School, a New York city vocational high school with focus on the arts.
Mike Collazo (timbales) SIA class of 1953
Orlando Marin (timbales) SIA class of 1953. Considered one of the last Mambo King, Marin formed his first band, Eddie Palmieri and his Orchestra, in 1951-52. A 60+ career and counting Marin still performs today.
Joe Quijano (band leader, singer, timbales) SIA class of 1953
Dick Roman (Ricardo Sebastian De Giacomo, singer) SIA class of 1953
Bobby Weinstein, (song writer) SIA class of 1953
Eric Carr (Paul Charles Caravello, drummer), rock band Kiss
Christian de Mesones (bass, Groove Skool Band)
Christian “Big New York” de Mesones has been playing bass guitar for over 30 years. His first major professional achievement as a musician was playing the military club circuit in a hard rock cover band on the island of Oahu in 1981. During the mid-eighties de Mesones’ heavy metal band Twice Shy was a staple of the local New York Metal scene, and shared the stage at the legendary L’Amour Rock Club with acts such as Manowar, Twisted Sister, Overkill, White Lion and Trixter. A resident of Lake Ridge, Virginia since 2003, de Mesones currently teaches bass guitar at A2G Music. Read more about de Mesones and listen to his music on de Mesones’ web site.
Frankie Knuckles (Francis Warren Nicholls, Jr, Dj/producer)
Bronx native, Frankie Knuckles moved from New York City to Chicago in the early 1980s where he played an important role in developing and popularizing a form of dance music into what’s known today as “house music.” Knuckles passed away in April 2014 and he will fondly be remembered as “The Godfather of House Music.” See A&DAA tribute to Frankie Knuckles. To read more about life and career of Frankie Knuckles, the New York Times and RollingStone Magazine wrote a very nice wrap up.
Perez Jazz (Jazz vocalist)
Born in Harlem, New York, to a homemaker mother of Cuban Irish decent, and a Puerto Rican father, a machinist who played congas and guitar in the Navy Big Band, she was drawn to music and art from an early age. By age four, Perez would hear a song once and recite the lyrics and hum the melody. However, as a creative person it was photography that eventually became her self-expression that eventually led her back to music. So transformed is she that her moniker has become, simply, PEREZ. Read more about Perez and listen to her latest tracks on her web site.
Lynette Washington (singer)
Jazz vocalist Lynette Washington is a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her extensive music career in jazz, R&B, and gospel, has taken her across the globe traveling as far as Australia. She has the gift and ability to sing in several languages including Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Ms. Washington is a sought after artist for a variety of multicultural events. Lynette was the 2005 Grand Prize Winner of the Jazzmobile / Anheuser Busch Jazz Vocal Competition.
Lenny White (drummer)
Drummer and producer Lenny White has been continually pushing the musical envelope for 38 years. At 18 years old, White was asked by Jackie McLean to be a part of his band. In 1969, still a teen White performed with Miles Davis on the landmark recording “Bitches Brew.” White has been described as “one of the founding fathers of jazz fusion.”
Christopher Martin (rapper, group Kid & Play)
Mobb Deep (hip-hop duo)
Ivan de Prume (former drummer in the groove metal band White Zombie)
Roger Sanchez (Grammy Award winning DJ, producer, recording artist)
Nicole Willis (singer/song writer Repercussions, Soul Investigators) Willis started playing music when she was a teenager. At first she wanted to become a ballet dancer, then learn to play bass, then sing. She said, “I was very shy so it was a slow start. I do music because that seems to be what I do most readily, easily. I’m proud to be in the alumni along with the likes of Frankie Knuckles, Tony Bennett, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, the list goes on.” Willis has perform in many places across the EU (European Union) including: Spain, France Italy, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, England, Scotland, Wales, Southern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Finland where she resides today in Helsinki. Read more about Nicole Willis and listen to her music on the web site.
Fabolous (John David Jackson, rap artist)
These following alumni have made the business of music their career path:
Ron Coro (art direction) The Cars, Candy O album cover
Milhan Gorkey Fishman (former VP & Press Relations for Charisma/Virgin Records ) See Mihan’s bio.
Ida S. Langsam (Public Relations, Aucoin Management)
Izzy Sanabria (emcee, comedian and founder of Salsa Magazine)
The A&DAA is proud of the musical contributions that our fellow alumni have brought to the world and us. The universe sounds a little sweeter and our souls lifted from the gift of sound and melody. Fly on little wing. ♦
444 West 50th street between 9th & 10th ave
JoJer specialize in fine art gallery quality framing. We offer acid free matting, backing, hinging tissues with rice paste or Klucel G, as well as UV glazings as our standard materials used.
Art and Design alumni receive a 15% discount (with each purchase a 5 % donation goes to the alumni association).
Tony Bennett Gives Props to A&D, and still is sketching and painting! Check out the video
3D printed timepieces by NOOKA + 3D systems
Check out the full interview with artist and A&D Alumnus Matthew Waldman (Class of 1983), also the president and chief creative officer of NOOKA, head over here… Read interview at Designboom.com