(Poster, 24″ x 36″)
Virginia Postrel writes that “[today’s aesthetic profusion]–the choice of thirty-five thousand colours of plastic, fifteen hundred drawer pulls, thirty thousand fonts, motifs from nearly every culture that has never existed–serves a variety of tastes and circumstances. And all those choices allow ever more specific signals of identity and affiliation.”
With this quote in mind, my professor set us on our way towards a five week, often trying, adventure about developing our digital literacy by becoming familiar with notable historical movements in design and learning how they’re represented visually. To note, this happened back in October, but since I never ended up putting it up, I’m still eager to share it!
All of us were randomly assigned three different styles (I had new typography, baroque, and navajo/southwestern) along with being tasked to choose an object that represented us. Without going into specifics, my self-referential item was a pair of socks. Using those three styles we were to create 54 portraits of our object and include both a poster that displayed our best 9 portraits and a process book that had a title page and table of contents.
When it came down the poster, I really wanted to make something simple, that spoke to the styles I had without it becoming a fight between the filter tool and my hand. So keeping my colour palette minimal and choosing portraits that shared similar qualities felt like the right direction to take and from there I eventually made the poster above. Ten months down the road and I’m not sure if all of the background information (the styles, the portraits, the “aesthetic profusion”) holds up, but the result is something I’m still keen about.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything related to what I’ve made and even longer since I posted a spec preview for the mobile phone interface I was working on last semester. But here, finally I’m sharing it! (Scroll to the bottom if you’re keen on getting straight to it and not so keen on the behind-the-scenes stuff.)
The assignment itself was quite open – we were to come up with a mobile app concept, design the interface for it, and create a promotional clip to accompany the specs. (Including sound was highly encouraged, having text present was required!) My goal was to design an app that would benefit the students at the university I attend and it was clear that an app that would solve a lot of problems and complaints on campus would be a transportation-related one.
I tried to make the functions as simple as possible for someone familiar with the how the university’s shuttle bus system works. Ideally, you’d be able to see where the bus is (so you know whether it’s on time or running late), what the schedule is for the day, the route the shuttle bus takes (so you can see which stop is closest to your destination), and the always important plan-your-trip. The home symbol in the upper left would let you change which bus route you planned to take and a personalized log-in would mean that the person symbol on the bottom would link to a copy of your student identification card, just in case.
Ideally, I’d go back into the file and slow down the frames per second even more…but at thirty seconds the lyrics started to come through the speakers, so thirty seconds is how long my promotional clip ended up being. Hope you enjoy!
(Diptych, black/white 35mm film, Canon Infinity Baryta paper)
At some point once you move back home for the summer and the euphoria of being able to sleep passes on, being able to leave the house, even if it’s to run errands with your mother, feels like an accomplishment. In between work and the continual process of editing my wardrobe, my family and I spent a week in Florida, somewhat sporadically documented on my Instagram. Upon return to suburbia, I conveniently broke my laptop and have been bumming off of my mother’s ever since. It’s been completely refreshing to not have the internet at my constant beck and call (I’ve been reading a lot of books). I’m starting to remember a life that didn’t depend on half-way completed proposals sitting in gdocs and organizing folders of scanned negatives.
It’s been miserable weather in New York recently, traversing from summer weather back to what the weather should’ve been like in April. To date I’ve had two driving lessons and, with all of the rain, each one has left me slightly more terrified than I think I was before I started learning how to drive. Quite clearly I’m meant to live in a place where driving is not a necessity and of it weren’t for the pressing need for grocery runs next year, I have a feeling that I might’ve pushed even getting my permit until post-college. Any driving tips for the otherwise inclined would be greatly appreciated.
A simple, 5-second parallax video from earlier this semester as being on spring break permits me to finally sleep. I don’t love the colours completely, but I don’t absolutely hate it either (one day I will take that colour theory class!) and, if anything, it’s worth it for the music clip. Watching the whale is highly recommended if you’ve just finished your morning coffee and are looking for a further pick-me-up.
(Charcoal, 16″ x 24″)
A quiet weekend filled with Mendelssohn and Bach. After many months I tried drawing again. It was like meeting an old friend, the kind you’ve kept in touch with but haven’t physically seen in awhile. An assignment in one of my design studios is focusing on a lot of handwork at the moment. I find that my lines have become stiff again and it stutters here and there – from misuse and nonuse – but it’s nice to be off of the computer for a change.
(Black/white 35mm film, Canon Infinity Baryta paper)
Post-midterms and in the process of cleaning my desk – I’ve built piles of so much junk that this process is a little horrifying. I found sketches for designs that never materialized and scraps of old projects dating back to first year studies, so now I just have folders of paper everywhere. Just two weeks ago, we did a study in one of my studio courses that ended up with over 100 sheets of paper. In a way it helps since I have my sophomore review right after spring break, but otherwise, a lesson in recycling properly.
A few weeks ago some friends and I got on a train to NYC and indulged in some good food and some good art. For awhile I’d wanted to see the Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avante-Garde special exhibit at MoMa…really, it was exciting to see work from this period of transformation into an international center for arts, culture, and commerce. You see screenprints from designers such as Yokoo Tadanori and yes, they’re iconic works but they also speak for design that radically influenced the way design was viewed then and now.
Also have been taking my 35mm camera out often, partly because I’m taking another photography class, but also because there’s something great about film. It was only last week though that I got around to developing my film from the excursion…and everyone needs a good graffiti photography in their repertoire, right?
(Black/white 35mm film, MGIV Fiber Paper)
Looking ahead, the weather app on my phone claims that it’s going to snow again this weekend…which would be fine and dandy if 1) Nemo hadn’t happened at the beginning of the month and 2) the threat of snow hadn’t been a possibility every weekend since. I’ve found that ever since I stopped being on a ski team (and subsequently skiing regularly), the last dregs of winter have less appeal. Sam from Sam is Home often mentions her love of layering despite the often ridiculous heat in Hong Kong. As it turns out, although I also have a love of layering, that hasn’t stopped me from wearing some clothing (re: thin skirts and questionable shoes) truly not suited for New York winters – because dressing for the weather you want is the way to get that weather to happen, right?
All of the slush and snow has gotten me to try photographing indoors more though. In photo class this semester we’re still using 35mm film, but the move from 8 x 10 paper to 11 x 14 paper feels a little liberating, even if my exposures are clocking in at about 40-50 sec. So far I don’t have a complete focus for my photos, but I’m looking – at repetition, shadows, angles, things that make me so excited that I’m nervous to bring a print into class because I’m not sure if my classmates will understand why I like that particular print so much. As photographer Mark Steinmetz said in an interview, “You can’t be wishy-washy in your motivation…having an ability to focus and concentrate is necessary for making good [photographs.]” He was actually talking about his interest in portraiture, but those qualities seem important to the medium as a whole, no matter the subject matter.
Even if the photograph is of a bathroom.