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"engagement" Tag

made you look

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I chose a bike. A bike which colours I find hideous, leaving me no option but to rely on shape alone.

Trying to get something out of it I tried to draw the bike over and over again, varying sizes or distance between the individual elements that construct the whole. Then I did a gestural drawing of the bike.

My eyes constructed the shape in front of me, following the bike around it’s wheel, to the seat, which pointed ahead at the handlebars, which steered me, because of the slant of the bars, back to the wheel and the cycle continues. They don’t flow into one another; the elements point, circle and swing constantly towards each other.

The design literally becomes “eye-catching” not allowing me to escape; I have to analyse the object. Even an attempt at escape is  useless as I would only slip back into the shape because of its properties.

An intriguing notion, an object that makes one look, if even for a second longer.
This principle I tried to follow, to arrive at a functional design, but before I completed it, something different happened.

I became intrigued by shape.

The object wasn’t eye-catching, it became different.

It showed so many possibilites, so many open doors that were immediately closed before a new one was opened.

I tried following the same idea, but in this case, I wasn’t intrigued by how the shapes were relating to one another. It offered something new; instead of the shape immediately telling me of an object, this one was like a puzzle. Or like kaleidoscope. Or even like a mirror.

I projected on it. It was telling me stories.

About paint and the internet

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The work that Jan van Toorn made in 1971 for the van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven is a work that caught my interest from the start. It is very daring of a museum to use a political statement like this as an advertisement for an exhibition.
To me it is graphic design at its best. This work looks in a way very timeless but has a lot to do with the time it was created in. Not only because the valuta of the amount that is added up is in Gulden – which we do not use any more (unfortunately – have a peek at Renske’s posting!) – but more likely because he used paint to tell you which painters you can find at the van Abbemuseum at this exhibition. To me this feels very honest, true and logical. I think Jan van Toorn was ahead of time with this work.
I love how he throws all these big masters on a mathematical pile without actually making fun of it. Of course he is making fun of what all these paintings cost. Almost 40 years later the prices went sky high. But in a way that is not really what it is about, to me it feels like putting it out of context. He makes the master painters more human. To me this poster mocks with the art world without making fun of the painters.
It makes me feel like painting.

Jan van Toorn is a man of the first generation of graphic design. In 50 years he has seen al the revolutions and all the new more advanced options you have with the, let’s say, original or old-fashioned way of printing. Jan van Toorn: ‘The computer is the next phase and is of course an amazing development in the world of graphic design and for a designer to work with, but if I look at the results then I find it very disappointing.’

Van Toorn thinks that the Internet should be or become a medium with visual journalism that frees as well as enriches the reader/viewer. He thinks that a different, new use of language is important for that. I agree with him on this point. If you take blogs for instance, or the Internet in general, you can delete half of it because it is rubbish and has no content. To me it is about balance. People do not read long, dry texts on the Internet. It is about speed. It has to be fast. I think blogs such as are a good example for that. It is an only imagery, no text blog about design. You see a lot of beautiful, esthetic designs, and very often without content. Most of the design you forget instantly. Just nice pictures.

I think that Jan van Toorn despises the Internet because I read that Jan van Toorn is not interested in the beauty or esthetics of images at all. It is mainly and only about the content of the design. What is there to tell, to see or to communicate? As a designer he wants to be more than only the person in between the client and the receiver, he would like to be involved within the whole process.

A nice question I found in an interview with Jan van Toorn on the website of magazine de Groene Amsterdammer (in Dutch) is: Are you designers the mediators that show us reality in life?
Jan van Toorn: Yes.
And we simply have to believe that that is the truth in reality?
Jan van Toorn: Yes. Whether we do it or the church does. 30 Years ago it was the church. Today it is about the people ‘in between’ such as designers, journalists and people who make television.

Graphic design and product design may be present everywhere you go but I think it is art that can show you another truth. I think Jan van Toorn set the standard for graphic design back in the days. All we can do is get inspired.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To investigate a design work, i chose the advertisement-poster „PSP ontwapenend“ designed by George Noordanus in 1971.
When i saw the poster, i liked the spirit and the freedom it shows! It has something light and joyful. At the same time it also has something humorous to me. The photograph might stand for the new freedom at that time, won from the 60‘s: the possibility to show nudity in public and even the use of it in advertisement.
Further more, the design and composition of the photograph struck me. The image shows a lot of (formal) parallels: the nudity and vulnerability of the woman and the cow and the pattern of darkness and lightness. Also the setting of the woman and the cow show parallels. And in the end, of course, the context of the slogan „PSP ontwapenend“ in connection with the image is important and interesting to find out more about it!


The political background of the poster back then, in the seventies (it raised many controverse reactions), is already discussed so many times. So I decided to relate the poster to recent times: living today, I want to reflect on the poster in the context of today, on the combination of nudity with politics nowadays…. continues as pdf

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