The zine I did in intermediate graphic design (pdf)
inspired by seeing the Russian Futurists exhibit at the Getty. It's collage + drawings... the collage mostly coming from receipts and brochures. Trying to take every day symbols and combine them with thoughts and concepts and things. Trying to do a more loose interpretation of physics concepts as a way of symbolizing things like trajectory and disorder and heat and stuff.
29 May 2009
The zine I did in intermediate graphic design (pdf)
* Maybe transparency might be something nice to play with? Transparent overlays that affect/change the interpretation of the work? If in a book form, something that would change the interpretation of what comes before and what comes after, thus breaking up the flow of the book a bit?
* Set logic. Symbolic logic.
* Faith in science/math. For example, the concept of infinity. Something you cannot observe but that you take on faith exists. Or another example, limits as x -> infinity ... you can never actually see it get there, but you have faith that it does.
scribbled l. nichols at 10:38 AM
After seeing a billion ads for the Leon Ferrari and Mira Schendel "Tangled Alphabets" exhibit at MoMA, I finally went to see it. Both of the artists' work was amazing, but I was particularly drawn to Mira Schendel. What I felt was interesting about her was her obvious understanding of math and math concepts. One piece was called "Probability waves", others (for example, the one with a lot of circles pictured above) used symbolic logic, particularly of the set theory variety. I was so compelled by the exhibit, that I actually bought the catalog (something I rarely do since they're usually pretty expensive).
It was exciting reading more about Mira Schendel. Apparently, she was very concerned with capturing time and with the idea of simultaneity. But she was also really interested in figuring out a way to communicate a whole of a moment of existence by freezing time. I'm not paraphrasing her ideas well. Let me just quote her:
"The [Monotipias] are the result of a hitherto frustrated attempt to capture discourse at its moment of origin. What concerns me is capturing the passage of immediate experience in all its empirical force, into the symbol, with its memorability and relative immortality. I know deep down it is a matter of the following problem. Immediate life, the kind I suffer and within which I act, is mine alone, incommunicable and therefore devoid of meaning or purpose. The realm of symbols, which seeks to capture that life (and which is also the realm of language), on the other hand, is antilife, in the sense of being intersubjective, shared, emptied of emotion and suffering. If I could bring these two realms together, I would have united the richness of experience with the relative permanence of the symbol. To put it another way, my work is an attempt to immortalize the fleeting and to give meaning to the epehmeral. To do this, obviously ,I have to freeze the instant itself, in which the experience melts into the symbol--in this case, into the word"
To further the desire to capture a moment into a simultaneity, Mira started using this really thin, transparent rice paper which she would then sandwich between two acrylic plates, thus making an object that could be seen from both sides, breaking down the idea of front and back. If you look at the pictures above, you can see where the pages overlap. Actually, if any of you have time, I highly recommend going to see the exhibit at MoMA before June 15 (when it closes). These pieces are definitely best experienced in person, both for the double-sided nature, but also because of the scale of the works and the textures that are lost in photographs. Worst case scenario, though, I'm happy to show people the catalog of work that I now have.
scribbled l. nichols at 10:13 AM
26 May 2009
I've been trying to sort through my stuff, figuring out where I've gone and where I'm going (in a visual sense). So here's some of the stuff I've thought I've done well recently (with recently being in the last few years or so).
I drew this one in one several hour long jag. I had nothing planned to begin with. Mostly, I wanted to try and capture more than just an image. Tried a bit to get motion in there, and thought... the way thoughts come and go in a moment incoherently. The way all these thoughts add up to an experience.
This is from a sketchbook several years back. I always really liked the semi-nonsensical equation I made up for the haircut. Again, trying to capture the experience of a moment, perceptually, rather than a pure representational thing.
This is also from a sketchbook several years back. I drew it while flying to the UK. Was trying to play around with extending off of collage and substituting words for the images in the place where the image should be. (the toes on the guy, for example)
An illustration I made for my portfolio website.
Three book covers done as a set as a project in intermediate graphic design. I really liked the way these came out.
A linocut block print I made of He-Man... or at least how I remembered He-Man. I think I've had a thing with eyelashes lately.
A poster for a friend's band. I really like how the text fits with the image here. Clean and simple but hand made.
A poster I made for beginning graphic design on the word "rhythm." Tried to get rhythm both in page layout and in the spacing of the letters of the word "rhythm."
My first band poster ever. Trying to capture a bit of the DIY punk thing, only doing it my way? Tried to make something xerox friendly.
I've been making the bulletin covers for the Greenpoint Reformed Church. Pretty much, I can make whatever I want, so I've been playing around with a bright, cheerful, and simple (yet hand-made/imperfect) style.
scribbled l. nichols at 9:40 AM
18 May 2009
More thoughts on the thesis:
I should clarify what I said in the previous post. I think maybe what I mean is that I'm interested in using logical things (numbers/words/letters/math/science) to portray emotional states and in using more subjective things (pictures/abstractions/etc) to portray logical things. So... irrationalizing the rational and rationalizing the irrational? And finding some sort of middle ground in the process?
Things I thought might be pertinent:
* Free body diagrams
* Circuit diagrams
* Futurist/dada typography
* Visual poems
* Technical drawings/specifications
scribbled l. nichols at 10:15 AM
17 May 2009
I also will be taking an intensive portfolio class this summer with Genevieve Williams, which I'm super excited and also extraordinarily terrified about. I think it'll be good for me, though. Really really good for me.
But for this, I have to start figuring out some sort of thesis topic. So... here goes. (Please forgive me; I haven't written anything longer than a few sentences in a while)
Proposal: For my thesis I am interested in exploring the relationship between words and pictures (and symbols), and through doing this I hope to explore the relationship between logic and emotions. Personally, I do not feel that the separation between logic and emotions is as clear cut as many like to pretend it is and because of this, I am drawn to the areas where logic and emotion seem to overlap. Particular areas that I'd like to explore are visual symbols and the creation of a purely visual logic, the use of logic/science to create something expressionistic/emotional/subjective, and the idea of a whole language that can express thoughts and emotions simultaneously and effectively.
Inspiration: As someone who has a degree in mechanical engineering but who is compelled to create art, I often find myself trying to figure out why this is. In school, I was often poked fun at for being too "artsy" as an engineer but I felt too "scientific" to be just an artist. I guess the first thing that really got me thinking about the way our society tends to divide things into dualities was Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Later on, I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which really got me thinking about the "classical" vs. the "romantic" mindset (as Pirsig put it). Over the past several years, I've put a lot of thought into the matter and often find myself drawn to reading books on Objectivism vs. Relativism and how to resolve the two philosophically. But this curiosity all comes back to trying to resolve the two within myself. So this is a personal topic, but something that has a larger basis and goes back thousands of years (Plato and Aristotle).
I am inspired by many people. Numerous philosophers. Robert M. Pirsig. Marvin Minsky. Also, artists such as Natalia Goncharova, Cy Twombly, etc. My inspirations are too numerous to name all at once. I will be sure to name them when the specifics come, though. For now, here are a few examples:
I disagree with them about cycle maintenance, but not because I am out of sympathy with their feelings about technology. I just think that their flight from and hatred of technology is self-defeating. The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha--which is to demean oneself.
-Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
There is an uneasiness that has spread throughout intellectual and cultural life. It affects almost every discipline and every aspect of our lives. This uneasiness is expressed by the opposition between objectivism and relativism, but there are a variety of other contrasts that indicate the same underlying anxiety: rationality versus irrationality, objectivity versus subjectivity, realism versus antirealism. Contemporary thinking has moved between these and the other, related extremes. Even the attempts that some have made to break out of this framework of thinking have all too frequently been assimilated to these standard oppositions.
There are, however, many signs that the deep assumptions, commitments, and metaphors that have shaped these oppositions, and from which they gain their seductive power, are being called into question. For along with the disquietude that is provoked by these extremes, there is a growing sense that something is wrong with the ways in which the relevant issues and options are posed--a sense that something is happening that is changing the categorial structure and patterns within which we think and act--a sense that we have an urgent need to move beyond objectivism and relativism.
-Richard J. Bernstein - Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Science, Hermeneutics, and Praxis
Three ideas I'd like to explore:
1) visual symbols and the creation of a purely visual logic
2) the use of logic/science to create something expressionistic/emotional/subjective
3) the idea of a whole language that can express thoughts and emotions simultaneously and effectively
As for pieces/plans of how to do this... I have no . clue . .
All I have are vague thoughts... maybe make some posters for the first two? Some book for three that combines all? I was going to research the futurists and dadaists (typography, specifically) and see if I could get some inspiration from there. Maybe see what I can find on Bauhaus Totaltheatre and Man/Machine? Otherwise... I don't know.
I always bite off more than I can chew. But, to be fair, I've been trying to tackle this idea for years now in various forms. I think it's one of the reasons I'm really drawn to both comics and kinetic sculptures. At least it's a start? Also, that zine I did in intermediate graphic design was a first step in exploring some of these things.