Jodi Cohan graduated from NYSID’s associate’s program in 2008 and has worked at Studio Sofield; Thom Filicia, Inc.; and Alan Tanksley, Inc. on high-end residential, retail, restaurant, and hospitality projects. A few years ago she founded her own firm, JAC Design Studio, and has since worked on residential design projects in New York City, East Hampton, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Paris.
What was your career before coming to NYSID?
I received a BFA in painting and printmaking in 1999, and then went on to found Desiderata, a decorative arts and color consulting company. I specialized in Italian/French limestone plastering and various special finishes. I loved the work but it was physically demanding and I was often in a lot of pain, so I decided to pursue a career in interior design, which had always been a great interest of mine. For me, it was a good way to integrate my fine arts background into something new and lasting.
Why did you choose NYSID?
I actually moved to New York to attend the graduate interior design program at another college. But the program was not what I expected, so I conducted a thorough search of all the interior design programs in the city, including NYSID’s. The moment I walked through NYSID’s doors, it felt like the right place. I really liked the vibe and the diversity of ages among the students, many with professional experience.
It was also great that the AAS program was so flexible. I was able to go to NYSID part-time while working at a furniture showroom in SoHo. I worked really hard and I had to be so focused, but it was all worth it. My experience at NYSID was amazing. I loved my professors; they were so passionate, personable, and dedicated. I never felt like I was just a number.
What were some of your favorite classes?
I absolutely loved Barry Lewis’s class Modern Architecture and Design. He is so passionate, entertaining, and knowledgeable; I learned so much from him. And Ellen Fisher’s class, Design Process, was also wonderful. It was a conceptual class that really delved into the process of architectural planning and the history of architecture. And I ended up loving Alphonse Diaz’s AutoCAD class. I was really freaked out about learning that computer program, but he was so humble and sweet and patient. I don’t think I could have done it without him; it was a real turning point for me.