15 Jun 2011

butterfly in the sky

Every year, since I was old enough to watch PBS' Reading Rainbow, I have had some sort of summer reading list. For the past month, I've been working my way through an unofficial summer reading list. It's been made up of mostly mysteries and sci-fi novels, with a memoir or two thrown in for a healthy dose of burnished reality. However, my priorities changed this week when I received my official summer reading list:

The Culture of Design, Guy Julier, Sage Publications
Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design, Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen, Routledge

Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition, David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins, MIT Press
Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing, Adam Greenfield, New Riders

Graphic Design as Communication, Malcolm Barnard, Routledge
Botsman, Rachel, Rogers, Roo (2010). "What's mine is yours." HarperCollins Publishers, New York.

Bercovitch, Jacob, Jackson, Richard (2009). "Conflict Resolution in the twenty-first century: principles, methods and approaches." The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
Durham, Gigi, Kellner, Douglas (2006) "Media and cultural studies." Blackwell Publishing, Malden.

Completing this reading list is the initial step towards getting my Masters in Graphic Design (MGD) at North Carolina State University. I start the program this fall and hope to continue to take special client-based projects as cottage industries during the two years I pursue the MGD degree. First things first; I think I hear the library calling me.

18 Mar 2011

helping japan

Sadly it appears the crisis in Japan is not ending any time soon. Seeing the devastation on television and online can leave one feeling powerless and unsure of what they can do to help.

Happily, I know three great artists and designers offering to donate 100% of the proceeds from sales of their work to Japan: Mike Perry, Satsuki Shibuya and Emi Tamaru.

Fellow Minneapolis College of Art and Design alumnae, Mike Perry, is a prolific artist and designer who works in a variety of mediums. From now until March 31, he has pledged to donate 100% of any purchase from his online store, whether one spends $10 or $5000. Items for sale include original artwork, prints, zines and objects. Perry reported on Facebook yesterday he just hit $6000 and hopes to raise another $4000 to reach his personal goal of $10,000 for Japan.

Satsuki Shibuya, my former student, proprietress of Zakka Nouveau and recent graduate of Otis College of Art and Design, created stitch+connect to benefit Japan. Her project offers two ways to be involved. First, Shibuya is seeking donations of fabric remnants as material for the stitch+connect products. More information about stitch+connect is available at the Zakka Nouveau Etsy shop. Don’t have any extra fabric? Then visit the Etsy shop to buy one special product each day made from a combination of those donated. 100% of the sales from stitch+connect (minus shipping + materials) will be donated to the purchaser’s choice from a list of charities.

Otis junior Emi Tamaru is also taking action. She is selling adorable plush toys created with her fellow junior, Lane Kinkaid. The link to her Etsy store seems to be broken, but check back to her blog for an update.

11 Mar 2011

two lectures + update

Image for "The Free Church of Public Fiction" by Public Fiction

Image for "The Free Church of Public Fiction" by Public Fiction

It has been a busy week for attending art and design events. On Tuesday night I went to the opening of LUX an installation by Maureen Keaveny at Public Fiction. Keaveny’s piece, part of the ongoing "The Free Church of Public Fiction" exhibition, is worth seeing for its monumental and transformative use of cardboard.

On Wednesday night, I headed to LACMA for Wolfgang Tillmans’s feature-length talk. His presentation was content-rich, if his delivery style was a bit halted. At one point, he contextualized his practice this way:

We like to see people do one thing, but I like to challenge that…the multifaceted that we don’t fit into blurbs, that’s been my project, that’s what I look for in my photographs and my installation strategies.

There are two more lectures this weekend I am excited about. Tonight at 7:00 pm, Art Center is hosting “Get Real” a panel discussion with Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG; Wired UK columnist), Ian Sands (Founder and Managing Partner, Intentional Futures) and Jason Tester (Research Director, Human-Future Interaction, Institute for the Future). The panel will look at the factors of futuring: promises v. predictions, the made up made real, gleam v. glum, props for props, and future fatigue. It is moderated by Tim Durfee.

On Sunday at 8:00 pm, Public Fiction is offering a lecture about rainbows by Trinie Dalton. My life-long love of rainbows is no secret to anyone who knows me. I am looking forward to this slide-talk about rainbows what they are, how they're formed, and their roles in the history of art, spiritualism, mythology, and color theory.

And lastly, an update. For Your Art published a great story by Swati Pandey this week about Big City Forum’s, “Making a Case for the Book”. If tonight's and Sunday's events prove as thoughtful and well-attended as their predecessors, then I am in for a great weekend!

09 Mar 2011

wolfgang tillmans at LACMA tonight

Installation view of "himmelblau", 2005 and "Sportflecken", 1996 from the 2006 exhibition at UCLA's Hammer Museum taken from the artist's website.

Installation view of "himmelblau", 2005 and "Sportflecken", 1996 from the 2006 exhibition at UCLA's Hammer Museum taken from the artist's website.

I am heading to LACMA tonight for a lecture by German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans. The free lecture is a collaboration between Otis College of Art and Design, where I teach, the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department and the USC Roski School of Fine Arts.

I am familiar with Tillmans’s work, having seen it published in various books, but have not had the opportunity to see it in any of his site-specific presentations. In preparation for his lecture, I’ve been reading the essays in the catalog created for his first touring show within the U.S. One can find and download that catalog on the artist’s website.

In the catalog’s introduction, curators Dominic Molon and Russell Ferguson describe Tillmans’s work better and more concisely than I can:

...he has developed a highly distinctive style of image making that encompasses a broad range of subjects—from still lifes that transform the folds of casually tossed clothes into a profound experience of the everyday, to abstractions featuring textures, lines, and contours that possess an almost bodily presence. Tillmans also takes a powerfully unique approach to presenting his work, varying the size of his photographs based on the specific spatial situation of the particular venue and producing them as large ink-jet prints that emphasize both their pictorial and material qualities.

Later in the introduction the curators further describe a segment of his work as “conceptually inspired meditations on natural phenomena as well as often startlingly beautiful abstractions that result from experiments with the photographic process, among other subjects.”

Installation view of "For the Victims of Organized Religions", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

Installation view of "For the Victims of Organized Religions", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

I am particularly interested in the pieces that fall into the category described above. I hope he delves into how he lets processes determine outcomes. Furthermore, I wish to hear him talk about his approach to installing his work at each site, whether he develops a system specific to that time and place, or whether intuition drives his decision-making.

Installation view of "slate", 2005 and "economy", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

Installation view of "slate", 2005 and "economy", 2006 taken from the artist's website.

Tonight’s free lecture is at 6:30 pm in LACMA’s Bing Theater. It is a ticketed event; the box office opens at 5:30 pm.

04 Feb 2011

new book ordered!

I just pre-ordered myself a signed copy of Function, Restraint and Subversion in Typography by J. Namdev Hardisty here. This is Namdev’s third book in a matter of a couple years. His previous titles include: DIY Album Art: paper bags and offices supplies and New Skateboard Graphics.

I am particularly excited about Namdev’s latest effort, because it strikes me as his most ambitious. Here is an excerpt from the book’s “Disclaimer” transcribed from preview images of the book Namdev has kindly posted to his studio’s Flickr page:

The work in this book will resemble other books you have seen. They will have had titles containing keywords and phrases like the new.... Minimalism, white space, and simplicity. If this book was anything like those, it would unfold in the following fashion: I (or a noteworthy essayist) would claim that the work in a new trend/movement, that it is a reaction to X or a reemergence of Y, and that this book documents the future of graphic design. I would then use a certain thesis—aesthetic, theoretical, or otherwise—to prove my point. I would arrange and group the illustrations by aesthetic criteria that would give the impression of a mass movement creating similar work and exploring the same ideas. When all was done, I may even have convinced you that this is what your work should look like if you wanted to stay at the forefront of the field.

But this book is not that book.

The tone the author establishes here is intriguing—self-aware, anti-establishment and confident. I am looking forward to seeing how this tone affects Namdev’s analysis of each designer’s work.