The Brothers Mueller: Successful alumni return to Myers School of Art

By:  Mahala Bloom

 Excited whispers vibrated through the Myers School of Art last week, revealing that two very special guests would be visiting Folk Hall to lecture.

Nate and Kirk Mueller, also known as The Brothers Mueller, stood once again on University of Akron ground last Thursday.

The twins, alumni of The University of Akron, returned to share the wealth of knowledge they had accumulated from their experiences in working with graphic design as well as new media and digital publishing. Workshops were held to teach students how to create digital editions of magazine publications that could work on the iPad, Kindle and other similar devices.

As students, the Mueller brothers did not initially know what career path to choose. They did know, however, that they wanted to work with new and evolving technologies. While studying at the Myers School of Art, the Muellers were exposed to New Media during a Saturday class.

“We hacked Nintendos with Cory Arcangel, we shot 8-bit video on wrist watch cameras with Patrick Lichty and visited new media exhibitions in New York and Cleveland,” they said. “Our work began to incorporate technology, hacking, and most took the form of installations.”

Not satisfied, the brothers approached painting professor Matthew Kolodziej, who had been interested in bringing Marius Watz, a generative artist with a background in graphic design, to UA. Pulling efforts and resources between departments at the university, they were able to compile an event that brought a workshop taught by Watz, along with an exhibition of his work, to The University of Akron.

During their educational career at UA, the twins took every opportunity to apply for scholarships and grants and to take advantage of travel opportunities offered by the Myers School of Art. This took the brothers to places like London, Japan, Belgium and New York City.

“The Myers School of Art provided us with a solid foundation that helped prepare us for graduate school, which then propelled us into our professional practice,” the brothers said.

Currently, the Muellers work for New York-based Studio Mercury, where they are designers, lead programmers and new technology developers.

“Studio Mercury is a…multimedia design firm offering services in film, photography, branding, print, interaction design, iPad, eBook and tablet application design,” said the Muellers. “We’ve worked with small teams of very talented people on digital magazines projects for companies like Martha Stewart, Newsweek and Condé Nast.”

In addition to working for Studio Mercury, Nate and Kirk Mueller have personal projects and unique interests that set them apart from many other professionals who work with technology and design.

“When we are not in the office coding or designing, we spend time in a print studio making wallpaper,” said the Muellers. “We enjoy working with a process that doesn’t create perfect outputs like the technology we deal with on a daily basis. Plus we love working with patterns and repetition.

“We are genuinely excited about our career. We love the people we work with, the projects we work on, and the projects vary greatly so we are always working on something new.”

To many at the Myers School of Art and UA as a whole, The Brothers Mueller are an inspiration and boost to the hope that success is within reach.

“We would encourage graphic design students to try new methods, take classes outside of their major (like a printmaking class) or try an output that isn’t print based,” they said. “Don’t be afraid. Academia allows students to explore new things and ask questions in a nurturing environment.”

When asked for advice on becoming successful, their humble response was, “When we become successful, we’ll let you know,” but it is difficult to argue that one is not successful when he is doing what he loves.

Examples of work by The Brothers Mueller can be seen at www.thebrothersmueller.com

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