Design professor brings decades of art experience

By Michael Bueno – Junior Art Director

When Professor Stephen Fischer announced at his fifth grade Catholic school assembly that he wanted to become an artist and not a priest, everyone broke into laughter.  Now, Fischer, Associate Professor of Graphic Design and faculty advisor for both Polished Magazine and Tarnished Magazine, is one of Lasell’s most talented artists, having had his work on display inside the Yamawaki Art & Cultural Center.

Professor Stephen Fischer is the faculty advisor for both Polished Magazine and Tarnished Magazine. He is pictured above at his gallery in Yamawaki in September. Photo by Michael Bueno.

Growing up, Fischer was the youngest of three, calling his older sisters his guardian angels for all the guidance they have given him. “They provided a lot of advice and coaching through the years… They’re very wise and thoughtful people and they’ve given me a lot of support,” said Fischer. During Fischer’s art gallery last semester, he gave a tribute to his sisters in the “artist’s talk” portion of the exhibit.

“I actually was doubtful that I could have a career in art and design. I was a psychology major for two and a half years in college and then I just didn’t feel like it was me,” Fischer said. “Even as I considered what it would be like to be a psychologist, I tried it and it just didn’t fit, it didn’t seem right,” Fischer said.

Fischer graduated Lycoming College with a Bachelor’s degree in fine art. “I left there with a mission statement; I didn’t care what I did. As long as I could get paid to draw,” Fischer said. His statement led him to be a draftsman in an engineering firm where he was doing layouts and technical drawings for power plants. After developing his drafting skills there, Fischer worked in advertising and then publishing. 

He has been producing group art shows for nearly 40 years, his first art show was in 1979, about a year or two after Fischer was out of college. Fischer worked at Personal Computing Magazine as a staff artist drawing and designing pages’ side by side with eight other artists about the same age as him. “Because there were no computers, we made magazines by hand at drafting tables,” he said. During his time there, Fischer connected with his coworkers in a way that would lead to lifelong friendships and the production of two shows a year, for over 30 years. “We were struggling, we were in our first apartments and very poor but that kind of brought us together more. We partied together and we worked together,” said Fischer.

After leaving Personal Computing Magazine, Fischer obtained a job at Raytheon, where he worked for 20 years as an illustrator and mechanical artist. While working at Raytheon, Fischer also picked up photography. He managed photo shoots and worked with company photographers on product shots and publications of all kinds. “I call it corporate graphics, it was really anything that the company needed. I did that for 20 years,” said Fischer.

For the last five years at Raytheon, Fischer started teaching night classes at Mount Ida College where he discovered a new passion. “I liked that a lot, I kept wishing that I could do that full-time.” After finally taking a leap, Fischer entered a master’s program at Goddard College in Vermont. “That was an amazing transition going from corporate life to being a free artist,” said Fischer.

“I hoped to get a teaching job, but I didn’t have one in place until the second semester of my master’s program. I learned about the graphic design program [at Lasell] that was just starting… It was a big risk and it paid off,” said Fischer. In 2002 Fischer began teaching at Lasell part-time, while he was finishing his master’s degree in fine art. After the completing his degree, he began teaching full time. Since then, Fischer started the Graphic Design League and serves as the faculty advisor for award-winning Lasell publications, Polished Magazine and Tarnished Magazine.

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