Sabbatical Day One!

Finally decided it was time to let Christmas go and get on with 2012 (before it ends abruptly on December 21st…. not). I picked up all the equipment, odds and ends etc. I needed from my office at BU and headed down for my ‘home’ for the duration of my spring sabbatical – A residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts.

Studio space at the Prairie Center
My studio space for the spring

I have a few projects lined up, a mix of course updates and art pieces. Hopefully, I will remember to post about their progress (or about my procrastination) frequently. First up is to design a poster to promote my London course for J Term ’13. It sounds a long way off, but the students need to pay a deposit around April time, so I need to market the trip pretty heavily in the next few weeks. In addition I want to do the initial research and image sourcing for my first art project – A series of relief prints titled ‘Barfly’ and (very) loosely based around the visual narrative of the Last Supper.

A third project sitting over the top of everything else is my trip to the Brazilian Amazon. The team meetings are getting more frequent now as the March date gets closer – very excited about it but I need to get more familiar with my Panasonic digital camera before then, so will use the Prairie Center and it’s occupants as my ‘model’ to practice photographing!

So, day one of my sabbatical is pretty much over. Just focused on getting settled in my new surroundings. Looking forward to having the opportunity to (hopefully) make some art, sort out some much needed syllabus updating, and generally just ‘chill’ for a while.

Brainstorming exercises – one class to go

20110208-010841.jpgUnfortunately the snow storm really messed up class days, and this course in particular missed out on two valuable face time critique sessions because of it. So with only one week left before the deadline for all ten brainstorming exercises I was quite excited to see what my students were ‘bringing to the table’ today.

Of course I hadn’t allowed for the mass snot fest running rampant through the university right now (that’s what happens when you go sledding in a t shirt at 11 o clock at night in a blizzard, people!), so consequently half the class was off sick and several of those who made it weren’t exactly glowing pictures of health 🙁

Anyway, enough griping. Some great ideas on show and the level of execution was again, pretty nice (remember, the purpose of the exercises is to 1) push creativity beyond the obvious/predictable outcomes and 2) to raise the level of mark making/execution high enough so that the students can then apply it to future graphic design projects instead of presenting initial ideas on scrappy bits of paper with undistinguishable images on them.

Here are a few of today’s brainstorming exercises:

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Art Chantry; The ‘poster boy’ of grunge

We had the absolute pleasure of the company of Art Chantry (and his lovely wife) this past couple of days. Not only was he in town to give a Visual Voices lecture, but he also has an exhibition running in our gallery.

For those of you who have been living under a stone, here’s a very brief outline of Chantry’s design career – his prominence began in the early 80’s when he became the art director of the Rocket, a monthly music magazine. Prior to that he had tried, unsuccessfully, to tout his portfolio around all the usual corporate design offices in the Seattle area. Chantry quickly realized that the only way he was going to ‘make it’ was to keep true to his design beliefs and pretty much establish the style synonymous with the Pacific West Coast single handedly. Almost immediately he emerged as a graphic designer known for quick turnarounds and innovative ideas about production. Chantry is probably best known for expanding on the aesthetic of punk music, in posters and album covers for bands like Nirvana, Hole and the Sonics, as well as some lesser-known groups. Some of his famous techniques include torn-edge collage, taped images, messy script, punch-printed lettering, startling juxtapositions and endless variations on the possibilities of photographic graininess achieved by repeated photocopying.  He advocates for a low-tech approach to design whilst keeping in mind the history of art. Art Chantry’s work has been exhibited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, the Smithsonian, the Louvre….. and Bradley University!


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