My first exhibition at Bower Ashton Faculty of Creative Arts in Bristol entitled ‘The Library of Individuals’ explores the body of work from MA Graphic Arts Students. From the 20th to the 24th of February 2012. F Block Gallery Bower Ashton Faculty of Creative Arts - Bristol, BS3 2JT.
How their individuality affects their art. Alongside posters and typography, is a selection of the work done during the past few months - including, motion graphics and animations.
My first exhibition at Bower Ashton Faculty of Creative Arts in Bristol entitled ‘The Library of Individuals’ explores the body of work from MA Graphic Arts Students.
From the 20th to the 24th of February 2012.
F Block Gallery Bower Ashton Faculty of Creative Arts - Bristol, BS3 2JT.
Color perception and language
A bit of taste and lifestyle from a surf trip in North Devon, a short movie by Greg Williams
- Final piece N°2, for the module 1 project “The Library of Babel” - B4 Book containing B4 Posters of the prints, printed on somerset paper - Cover made out of wood and laser cuted with the type face and drawn “materialism”
Final piece N°1, for the module 1 project “The Library of Babel” - B3 Poster prints, printed on somerset paper
The Library of Babel from Jorge Luis Borges, introduced the module. This text enabled us to find our own theme. In a text, there is many ideas and possibilities that we may turn our own way. We started with a broad range of potential ideas.
The text from Borges was abstract and the use of language wasn’t that easy, for a none English person. Despite not understanding well the meaning of the sentences I could still have bright visual ideas of the story.
It make me think that words have the ability to bring images in your mind. It is an unconscious process. It is incredibly interesting when we think about it. If you decompose the process, it is our reading ability that put together letters into words and our mind change it in visuals. But it is the shape of the letter that enable us to make this process. Words in a text have letters that have shapes and these shapes get materialised in images. For example the letters T-R-E-E makes in your mind the images of a tree! Who says that this shape T-R-E-E is a tree.
We seem to be driven by a desire to make meanings. We make meanings from the interpretation we have of signs. Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects, but such things have no meaning by themselves and become only signs when we give a meaning to it. ”Nothing is a sign unless it is interpreted as a sign”, declares Peirce (an American philosopher of the 20th century). We interpret things as signs unconsciously by relating them to familiar interpretations.
This explanation is called semiotic, it is the study of signs and their understanding. Semiotics is closely related to the use of language. It is the relation among their meaning and how it effects on the people who use them. In a book there is many signs that we interpret.
I had to make a baseline for the project to start with :
A Book is full of words,
Words are full of letters,
Letters have shapes, they are images,
So Library are full of images.
A library for me is a place where you get inspiration and where you may plunge into loads of different universes. It may have the shape of a library but it could also be the things that you love in life and that stimulate your ideas. My library is my inspiration.
Materialism is a good word to describe this process. In philosophy, the theory of materialism is that the only thing that exists is matter. All things are composed of material. In other words, matter is the only substance. All matter has a shape and a content.
It is all about content and shape. The content of a book are words, that give you images in your brain through the shape of letters. It is the shape of the content that makes visual ideas in your mind. A book tells a story from is content, a design does the same.
I started to research about shape and content and how you may be affected by them.
I discovered an author, Mark Z Danielewski, who wrote House Of Leaves. His work is known as visual writing or Ergodic literature. Which allows the reader to traverse the text. In House of Leaves a passage talk about a tunnel, Danielewski changed through the pages the shape of the paragraph into a small shape to enable the reader to jump into the book and have the feeling of being his self in a tunnel, that have restrictive space. It will makes you think if there is any relation between the shape and the content. It would completely change the view you have on the text that you are reading.
These reflections led me to shape objects and put abstract or non abstract text in it. The results was interesting. The first impression you have from the text came from the shape of it. And then you have a second impression when you read it. Visually interesting, but I wanted to discover and research further.
Digging deeper in the concept, I found out about an artist, John Baldessari. His work demonstrate the narrative potential of images. He tells the viewer not only what to look at but how to make selections and comparisons.
It made me think that images can tell by them selves. Without any words you may understand the subject of the visual and give an interpretation.
Combined with my first research, I add images to the content of shapes rather then texts.
I worked with contents that have not any connections with the shapes, it makes you think and try to find a reason or an association between the two. It end up with an abstract connection and visually as a great impact.
Following these ideas, I kept researching. I wanted to give a meaning and understanding of my concept.
The quote “Je pense, donc je suis”, “I think therefore I am” by René Descartes a french philosopher from the 17th century, gave me a grip to answer how my concept is working on the intellectual level. The meaning of the phrase is that, asking to yourself whether or not you exist prove that you’re thinking.
I found it was an interesting point of view. From an other angle you would ask yourself if an objects exist or not, or if it is your mind who is materialising the idea you have of it into an object.
From his book “Méditations métaphysiques”, Descartes makes a distinction between formal reality and objective reality. The objective reality is the object itself, it has a shape. The formal reality is the idea of the object of what the object his made for or his meaning.
For example a mug. The objective reality is the mug as an object as a shape. The formal reality is be the mug is made for drinking hot beverages for example. According to Descartes, the idea, so the formal reality, has more reality then the object. By seeing the object you make a story. So the shape of a mug could be whatever you think it is, you can make your own judgement of the shape. A mug is common, everybody have already and formal reality of it. An uncommon object with an uncommon shape would question yourself, you would try to make up a story around it, give a meaning to it. That the fact I kept for my design, shapes can make stories in your brain.
Gathering meaning of shape and content, led me to a Belgian artist : René Margritte. He became well known for is painting that shows a pipe, and painted below the pipe “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, “This is not a pipe”. It is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. You can’t fill it with tobacco and satisfy your need. That’s the formal reality, pipe are made for smoking. The objective reality is not a pipe as an object, it is a painting. This idea make me think of the content and the shape that I would use for my design. I tried to find elements that don’t combined together, that you could say for example: “this is not an apple (the shape) this is an aeroplane (the content).
The shape used in my design are common or well known, you will have straight away an idea of what it is and its story. But by putting a content which doesn’t relate to the shape, confuse yourself and you would start to interrogate if the shape is really what you think it is and vice versa. The formal reality of a shape could be totally mixed up by the formal reality of the content of the shape. That’s the purpose of the concept which is the meaning of my design.
Shape containing images without any connection to the formal reality of it reflect the idea that the content is not the shape. I added drawings that push even further the content context and makes the viewer believe that the design is about the content and not the shape.
If I follow my concept, words shouldn’t be used because images tells by them selves. But to visually say so I had to put words in the design. I add sentences putted upside down and invert them, that you can’t read it. So the viewer will see the text as an image and focus on the shape of the typeface.
As a continuity to the project and to apply the idea of type seen as an image, I found appropriate to create my own font that would be used also in my projects. A typeface also know as a character tells by itself it as character like any person. The shape of the letters reflects the temper of the typeface. For example bold types are strong and powerful, while italic types are more gentle and poetics. I wanted my type to be either formal and fancy. A typeface that you could use for everything.
To make it fancy, I didn’t used straight and usual grid but V shape grid which bring to the typeface amplitude. The formal way of the character could be seen from his traditional shape of Serif.
To put a name on the typeface I used the name of my concept, Materialism. It is the version 1. I kept the rough outline that the pencil give, which I used to draw the type. Which give to the typeface a kind of hand drawn style.
I’m working on the next version that are going to be redrawn by computer to make the outline smooth and straight. Then to have a proper font family I will draw different thickness and special characters. The version 1 is meant to be used for title, illustration or short sentences. It is not appropriate to a full body of text. It is the purpose of the next version.
The outcome has the form of a book to stay in the topic of the module “the library”.
I wanted to design it as an old book, roughly bind with a large rope to give an uncommon book form. I used B4 format to have slightly more space to express the design. The paper used is Somerset, which has a texture that gives the impression of a painting, the ink get sucked by the paper, like a water color paint.
The cover is made out wood and is laser cut with the sentence “this is not a book, it is pieces of paper made out of tree” to introduce the concept of the designs. I used wood to materialise the sentence. To reflect the shape and the content, you can see trough the letters, an image of trees and leaves. The content are trees and the shapes are letters.
The themes used in the design have not any relation between them but actually for me it has connections. It is themes or universes that inspires me. They are, surfing, home made lifestyle, road trip, nature, freedom, wildlife, ocean, motorbike, history.
I can connect all those elements from my experience of traveling and my everyday life anecdotes.
- Birds are not related to motorbike, but any biker would tell you the same, going for a ride is a pure sense of freedom that let you fly away like a bird.
- Stag and deer are not related to surfing, but while traveling in New Zealand, I had an amazing surf session and then I went for a walk in a park called “Deer Park Heights”, still in the mood of surfing and ocean, I encountered a huge stag right in front of me.
- Road are not related to tree, but also in New Zealand on a road trip, I traveled with a van and a car, along the way I saw many different types of trees which has amazing shapes and huge sizes, growth that are hundreds of year old.
- Motorcycle and pizza are not related, but this was my brand new motorcycle, I took pictures of it and went then cooking my own home made pizza and apricot cake.
- Castles are not related to subtropical forest, but a friend which is an author, wrote an heroic fantastic book which talk about this castle that inspired him and in the story there is a huge subtropical forest surrounding it.
All the pictures used for the design are mine, either the pictures to make the shape and also the contents.
The final result is an abstract book which encourages the questioning of the meaning of shapes and contents. It is a interesting challenging visuals concept. A visual puzzle that dispute your perception skills.
It is designed for people who are interesting in visual challenge and understanding the materialising process of our mind. It is another way of reading.
Book are made to communicate stories but not your own, the author’s one.
This “book” allows you to make your own story. It is a unique experience that not any book does.
Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer and poet. His work involve essay and new literary and are considered classics of the twentieth century. He often deals with the nature of infinity, mirrors, labyrinths and drift. Jorge Luis Borges is one of the modern writers it is essential to have read. “After having approached, we are no longer the same, our vision of people and things changed, we’re smarter” says one is colleague.
Charles Sanders Peircewas an American philosopher, mathematician, scientist and semiologist of the nineteenth century. He largely contribute to the logic of semiotics.
He developed a semiotic theory which is the study of the signs and their meanings.
Mark Z Danielewski an American author. His work is characterized by experimental choices in form, such as intricate and multi-layered narratives, typographical variation, and inconsistent page layouts, otherwise known as visual writing or Ergodic literature to allow the reader to traverse the text.
René Descartes was French mathematician, physicist and philosopher. He was a major figure in 17th-century. He has been called the “Father of Modern Philosoph”. He was he first major philosopher in the modern era to make a serious effort to defeat skepticism. His views about knowledge and certainty, as well as his views about the relationship between mind and body have been very influential over the last three centuries.
René Margritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of provoking images. His work challenges observers perceptions of reality.
Magritte’s work frequently displays of objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The use of objects as other then what they seems in his painting. The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe became famous. Magritte painted below the pipe “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe.
Borges, JL. (1941) La Biblioteca de Babel. Editorial Sur. Argentina.
Translated by James E. and Kerrigan A. (1962) The Library of Babel.
Danielewski, MZ. (2000-03-07) House of Leaves. Pantheon Books, Random House. United States.
Descartes, R. (1641) Méditations métaphysiques (Meditationes de Prima philosophia). France.
Project 3 - Manifesto - Final piece, color print, consist of a poster folded into a 5 pages booklet
From my notes
From my sketch book
Project 2 - Like and Dislike - The Pure Stat of Life - The final result of my stop motion short movie of 60sec - made out of color card paper
Project 3 - Manifesto - Final piece, consist of a poster folded into a 5 pages booklet.