‘Way Things Work’ author/illustrator will also receive honorary doctorate at May 18 ceremonies
Visual storyteller David Macaulay, known around the world for the detailed drawings, superb design and sly humor in elaborate show-and-tell books such as The Way Things Work and The Way We Work, will deliver the commencement address to the 2013 graduating class of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Saturday, May 18. Macaulay will also receive the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Fine Arts from Watkins during ceremonies at the Downtown Presbyterian Church beginning at 2 p.m.
“David Macaulay has an uncanny ability to illustrate and write in an innovative way that explains complex things to all of us—simply, metaphorically and with a great deal of fun,” said Ellen L. Meyer, president of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. “His insights will certainly benefit graduating seniors as they pursue their professions and provide encouragement to all who strive to use their artistic talents in unique ways.”
Previous recipients of the honorary degree from Watkins include the late interior designer Albert Hadley (2010) and cultural policy expert Bill Ivey (2012).
Macaulay’s revealing and entertaining illustrated books have been embraced by readers of all ages, selling more than three million copies in the United States alone and translated into a dozen languages. Much of his work demystifies and deconstructs the human race’s great architectural and engineering accomplishments, beginning with Cathedral (1973) and continuing with City, Castle, Pyramid, Mill, Underground, Unbuilding and Mosque. He is perhaps best known for the international bestseller The Way Things Work (1988), a seminal book in the field of illustrated-educational books which spawned a PBS television series and the 1998 update The New Way Things Work. Macaulay brought his extraordinary ability to explain complicated systems to the most intricate machine of all, the human body, in The Way We Work (2008). He has also created several lighthearted picture books, including Why the Chicken Crossed the Road, Shortcut and Rome Antics (about a pigeon-led tour of the Eternal City).
His numerous awards include the prestigious Caldecott Medal (Black and White) as well as a Caldecott Honor (Cathedral), Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor (The Way We Work),Christopher Award, American Institute of Architects Medal, Washington Post–Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award, and the Bradford Washburn Award, presented by the Museum of Science in Boston for outstanding contributions to science. In 2006, he was the recipient of a “genius grant” MacArthur Fellowship, with the MacArthur Foundation proclaiming “Macaulay’s visually arresting and thought-provoking body of work invites readers of every age to perceive the world they occupy from surprising and compelling perspectives.”
A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a degree in architecture, Macaulay is a longtime RISD faculty member. In 2009 David Macaulay Studio, an imprint of Roaring Brook Publishers, was founded to produce “books that explain things.”