I locate my practice in the interstice between graphic design and fine art. Graphic design is the language I choose for giving form to my independent thought. It is this discourse and history that I respond to, though I resist delimiting the field by commercial validation. I am interested in the possibilities of process, in the negotiability of signs, and I seek to engage readers in the play of meaning. I draw on critical theory and travel, using my work to investigate the ways that private experiences intersect with public spaces, rituals, and narratives. Lastly, because graphic design is inherently social, I look for ways to use its tools to promote criticality and active citizenship.

Aggie Toppins teaches graphic design at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and serves as Associate Head of the Art Department. After working for more than 15 years as a commercial designer, Aggie is directing her creative energies towards self-publishing editions through The Unofficial Press, writing about design, and doing community-based projects. Aggie received her mfa from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012. She lives beside a mountain with her husband and their two silly dogs.

Contact Aggie at augusta-toppins@utc.edu.

Exhibitions

  • Cincinnati Art Book Fair, 2017. Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Chicago Art Book Fair, 2017. Chicago, Illinois.
  • Critical Cocktail Party, 2017. Gallery so and Ambika 3 as part of pic. photo festival. London, United Kingdom.
  • Publications and Multiples Fair, 2017. Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Typeforce 8, 2017. Co-Prosperity Sphere. Chicago, Illinois.
  • By the People: Designing a Better America, 2015–16. Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. New York, New York.
  • Endless Biennial, 2016. 20x20 Gallery, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. New York, New York.
  • Vancouver Art Book Fair, 2016. Vancouver Art Gallery. Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • tdc62 Traveling Exhibition, 2015–16. Cooper Union. New York, New York (and locations in several other countries).
  • Philadelphia Art Book Fair, 2016. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 6x6, 2016. Covenant College. Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
  • By Hand, 2015. Association for the Visual Arts. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • The Floating Library, 2015. Silverwood Park. St. Anthony, Minnesota.
  • Horse of a Different Color, 2015. Gateway Center for the Arts. Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.
  • Renaissance, 2015. Frank Gallery. Raleigh, North Carolina. Asheville Bookworks. Asheville, North Carolina.
  • Project Passion, 2015. Minnesota State University. Mankato, Minnesota.
  • Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair, 2015. moca Los Angeles. Los Angeles, California.
  • Open Spaces, 2014. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  • secac Members Exhibition, 2013. unc Greensboro. Greensboro, North Carolina.

Community Projects

Publications

Press

Awards & Grants

  • Causeway Civic Engagement Grant, 2017
  • Certificate of Typographic Excellence, Type Directors Club. 2016.
  • Print Regional Design Annual Awards, 2016, 2013.
  • Open Spaces Chattanooga Artist Grant, 2014
  • American Graphic Design Awards, 2014.

Studio Residencies

  • Fish Factory Creative Centre, 2017. Stöðvarfjördur, Iceland.
  • La Porte Peinte Centre pour les Arts, 2016. Noyers, France.
  • Hambidge Center Creative Residency, 2015. Rabun Gap, Georgia.