Monthly Archives: January 2012

I was interested by most of the lectures for critical studies but after looking through my notes  I found some of the subjects uninspiring and irrelevant to the course and projects I have going on at this time. So i made the decision to pick the most relevant lecture notes i had so i can use these as further research in future and present projects and also go into more detail of the artists and their designs. And also to form more of an opinion on the subjects and artists to further my overall knowledge.

I hope you enjoy.

The medium is the message
The medium is the mess-age
The medium is the massage
The medium is the mass age

The quote above interests me and is a clever play on the message. The main idea revolving around the medium and the many contexts it gives off in different eras or areas. The medium is the mass age and leaves us were we are today. Looking at the medium of art through out the ages of the futurists and the Bauhaus period leaves us where we are today even if it is a mess or not. The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace that effects human affairs.

The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure.’

New media has a large influence on audiences and the message it perceives. Most modern day artists are always trying new ways and areas to represent themselves and the medium thy present. Leaving the message to be shown or deciphered by the audience. Herb Lubalin is a prime example of a typographer that uses his medium to give a message. His unique, original techniques and ideas are inspiring to a high degree. His use of type and image give the reader the excitement designers thrive to achieve. I have used Herb Lubalin as in influence for work I have done. When I need to create a typeface to represent a poem I used him as a basis of my work. I found that he represented the message he was trying to show through type and I gave myself the same challenge. With this I tried to create a typeface that represent my message without reading it. His work has such emotion and depth and involves you within his work without you realizing. He him self believes that what he does isn’t typography but more of putting a character on a page. I think what he means by this is that he isn’t trying to write a word but more turn the type into a message that you can see and understand and gives you an emotional involvement but also that you can read.

What I do is not really typography, which I think of as an essentially mechanical means of putting characters down on a page. It’s designing with letters. Aaron Burns called it, ‘typographics,’ and since you’ve got to put a name on things to make them memorable, ‘typographics’ is as good a name for what I do as any.” Herb Lubalin

Alexander Brodovitch is an outstanding modern day designer for magazines for his time. He seemed to have very little arrangement or grid system for his layout but seems to use all forms of graphic art to produce a unique style that the modern art world ate up. Famously known for his work on the American fashion magazine Bazaar. Born in Ogolitchi, Russia in 1898 in an aristocratic and wealthy family. He became painter on stage sets for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Diaghilev’s approach to such freedom within in the design inspired him to become the designer he was with such lack of boundaries between different arts and the work he produced for magazines such as Bazaar. Brodovitch created a harmonious and meaningful whole using avant-garde photography, typography and illustration. Brodovitch was the first art director to combine image and text. Similar magazines of the time used image and text separately, using obvious grid systems and white boarders. I think that this is the main reason he was so popular because of his courageous avant-garde approach to do things no other designers had done. Creating his own perspective on design with a brave approach to message and medium. Brodovitch accentuates the fluidity and movement of the images by using repetition and diagonal and horizontal stress. He often cropped his photos off center bringing them to the edge which brought a new dynamism to fashion layouts. His most popular typeface was Bodoni but he mainly matched the typeface with the feeling of the message and his generous use of white space. Ledgeability was not his primary concern. I am at the moment creating an editorial piece for a younger audience and feel inspired to use Brodovitch in my design. His no boundary approach inspires me in the way he has created his own mark on his work. I inspire to do this and will inspire to create something original that is apart of me more than to recreate something similar to his work. I have never been a fan of grid systems and boundaries and believe that design is best when it is original and obvious of the designer of whom it came from, similar to Herb Lubalin.

Most of the futurists were young and inspiring people confronting their society through design. The artists created a manifesto almost a guideline or law which they followed similar to a club or society. Practiced in almost every field of art and design/illustration the variety of work produced was vast and wide. It was again similar to the Bauhaus, a very avant-garde style with strong bold decisions. Exploring new and untouched media in different ways such as music and noise between human existences.

He believed in erasing the boundary between ‘sound’ and ‘noise’, and that there must be continuity between music and all the noises of human existence. (Luigi Russolo/ The Revolt 1911)

In the early 1900s a group of young Italians wrote the manifesto that celebrated the industrialization. It was a rebellious and almost anti-social manifesto and was the big bang start of the futurist with the ring leader Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.

Let’s break out of the horrible shell of wisdom and throw ourselves pride-ripened fruit into the wide, contorted mouth of the wind! Lets give ourselves utterly to the Unknown, not in desperation but only to replenish the deep wells of the Absurd!’.

The futurists welcomed modern technology and more controversially war! They believed that it was a political change and almost a cleansing means of fascism. They completely dismissed feminism which in my opinion is completely hypocritical and controversial in the way they were about the future and moving into a new world and meaning. But it was believed or still is that moralism and feminism were acts of cowardice. 

Most of the art work and design produced explores new meanings and technologies, creating bold moves with an extreme avant-garde feel. Using media as light, movement, speed, shape and form. The work produced certainly stands out as something completely new for its time and era.

Giacoma Balla was a self taught artist. He was one of the founding members of the first wave of futurists and was a well established teacher. His pre-futuristic work was influenced by pointillism and Italian Divisionism, a style developed by a group in northern Italy that shared Impressionism’s concern with capturing the effects of light. The Futuristic movement completely changed his painting style, becoming almost obsessed with pictorial depict of light, movement and speed that was mainly outlined in the futurist manifesto and their vision of moving forward into the forever changing world. Some of his work addressed themes of humanitarian issues and others celebrated the machine as where his early futuristic work captured objects moving and in motion. One of the most famous and in my opinion my favorite is ‘Dynamism of a Dog on A Lead 1909’. This is because I think that it shows clearly the movement of the object painted and is a clear example of futurism and avant-garde, constantly pushing boundaries that had never been explored. Also using a technique before the time of digital media and still managing to show clear movement in a still image.

For me the futurists are too extreme and almost fascist with some of their ideas and motions within the manifesto. Although I understand that the movement of moving forward into the 20th century was important so that we produce design and artwork that leaves us where we are today. Some of the work involving movement and light I find fascinating that at the time with their technological restrictions they were able to produce what they did. Looking at what resources and advancement we have today I am still impressed with the work and ideas that were produced in the early 1900s that today we still struggle to match or advance.

The Bauhaus was a building in Germany as well as a school, depending on how you would perceive it. With its main inspiration and effort to bring together creativity into one whole. Combining or separating all disciplines; painting, sculpture, architecture, handcrafts and so on. With an avant-garde view of guts and vision pushing the boundaries beyond of what was accepted at the time of the norm. The Bauhaus school of 1919-1933 was a completely new concept to all areas of creativity, pushing boundaries that had never been touched. For me a school consists of teachers and students, were as the Bauhaus had a different view to the idea of their school.

The school is the servant of the workshop, and will one day be absorbed in it. Therefore there will be no teachers or pupils in the Bauhaus but masters, journeymen, and apprentices.’

Every morning the school would commute to the roof of the building to start the daily routine of stretches and exercises to inspire and relax the students mind ready for the day ahead of creativity. The ideas of teaching always started very basic using only simple shapes of squares, circles and triangles, relating colours to each one. These all relate to most of the work produced by the Bauhaus students and masters of furniture, architecture and paintings. For me I think that this proves that the best ideas and forms are produced from the simplest shapes and colours.

The school was shut down in 1933 by the Nazis and the students and teachers fled the country seeking asylum as the beginning of the war was forthcoming. Still to this day evidence of the Bauhaus still exists and inspires other artists and creative architectural ideas around the world. The most clear and obvious is Ikea with most of their design show distant offspring of the Bauhaus. Over 75 years ago the Bauhaus introduced the word sleek to our design vocabulary, and changed the way we think about the daily-use items from cantilevered chairs (good) to piles of old magazines (bad). The Bauhaus was famously against clutter, teaching an almost minimalist approach discarding the unnecessary and design with the idea of mass production always in mind using the materials of that time.

Herbert Bayer designed a typeface completely consisting of lower letter forms completely eliminating any form of complexity or clutter. In 1921 he enrolled at the Bauhaus where he attended a course under Johannes Itten followed by a workshop on mural painting, lead by Wassily Kandinsky. After completing his training he was appointed head of a new workshop for print and advertising were he produced some inspirational graphic work in advertisement and print. He then went on to work for Vogue magazine in Paris and many more prestige company’s and names. Herbert Bayer received numerous awards and honors, including an honorary doctorate of the “Technische Hochschule Graz”, the “Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst”, the “Ambassador’s Award for Excellence” in London and the “Kulturpreis für Fotografie” in Cologne. Some of the work produced by this designer is my favorite of the Bauhaus period, producing work that one day I would inspire to be able to produce.

I think that the Bauhaus has inspired work throughout the modern time and also has inspired a new wave of creative teaching and learning. I can relate to this in the way that I like to produce ideas, always finding it easier to start with the basic shapes and forms to develop my ideas further. I also feel inspired in the simplicity of the Bauhaus and feel that I am always trying to simplify things with the idea of less is more. After looking at Herbert Bayer’s work and his use of shapes I would like to introduce his ideas and forms into my future work, identifying simplicity but within a message and getting rid of the clutter, as the Bauhaus would say.