Tag Archives: Professional Designers

Exposure. Michael Light’s photographs give human endeavour a new perspective

 

Given that Michael Light’s most famous photographic works deal with atomic bombs and rockets to the moon, it seems appropriate to ask why he is drawn to themes so epic in scale and dramatic in their implications, writes David Thompson in Eye 51. ‘Certainly I love high drama,’ he replies, ‘but I think it’s more accurate to say that I’m drawn to the aesthetic of largeness, of all that is beyond ourselves, precisely because we’d be better off if we didn’t go around feeling like we were the biggest and most important things. Artistically, I’m concerned with power and landscape, and how we as humans relate to vastness – to that point at which our ego and sense of efficaciousness crumbles …’

 

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‘In my opinion, serious contemporary artistic production dealing with landscape must deal with politics and violence in some way, whether explicit or implied. Otherwise it’s just fluff, decoration for those wanting false comfort and a delusionally ahistorical and apolitical world.’

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This is an extract from Exposure by David Thompson in Eye 51 (Spring 2004). For more posts from our archive, click here.

See also ‘Above the clouds’ on the Eye blog about the current exhibition at Daniel Blau.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.

Critique: Kiki in graphic detail.Catel’s quick-fire sketches illustrate the life of a Surrealist icon

I had some reservations about Kiki de Montparnasse, a new graphic biography of the artists’ model and muse, painter, singer of bawdy songs and celebrity, who came to fame in Paris in the 1920s, writes Rick Poynor in Eye 79. The woman herself is fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed her autobiography, Kiki’s Memoirs (1929), banned in the US and finally made available in English in 1996. But the graphic style of Kiki de Montparnasse (SelfMadeHero) drawn by Catel Muller and written by José-Louis Bocquet, is not one I would normally go for – I prefer a sharp line and a tightly constructed page – and graphic mood is crucial in a narrative that runs to 370 pages.

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Long before I was halfway through, Catel’s delicately skating pen had me completely charmed and convinced she was the perfect artist to handle this story. The immediacy of her graphic style captures Kiki’s personality to a tee: lively, amusing, generous, irrepressible, quick to stick up for herself, a natural entertainer who never failed to grab the opportunity to have a good time.

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This is an extract from ‘Kiki in graphic detail’, Rick Poynor’s Critique in Eye 79.

More details on the publisher’s website.

See also: Rick Poynor’s two-part essay on Surrealism. Part one (article from Eye 63) and part two (article from Eye 65).

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. The latest issue is Eye 79, a type special.

Above the clouds. New photo exhibition explores the visual fall-out of the early nuclear age

Thursday 7 March saw the opening of a new photography space, the London arm of Munich gallery Daniel Blau Ltd.

Sandwiched in a narrow space, the gallery has a surprisingly generous floorplan, and its walls now play host to A-Bomb: Pictures of disaster. Photographs of atomic bomb explosions, including tests from America and the Pacific and George R. Caron’s shots from a military plane above Hiroshima, span the early cold war period of 1945-70. Some photos are juxtaposed with fragments of written matter, often no more than a scrawled or typewritten label.

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The exhibition is accompanied by a 48-page tabloid (to add to Eye’s teetering pile of newsprint) that acts as a substantial exhibition catalogue – and a morbid keepsake.

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By the time of last night’s private view, every print bore a red dot, and the prices (which ranged from around £500 to at least £16,000) were being hurriedly covered up (using stickers or marker pens) by the gallery staff. A single private buyer had snapped up the entire collection.

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7 April > 7 May 2011
A-Bomb: Pictures of disaster
Daniel Blau Gallery
51 Hoxton Square
London N1 6PB UK

See also David Thompson’s article about Michael Light’s work in Eye 51, to be republished on the Eye blog next week.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.

Surface to space. Maths, computers and the internet bring new life to the art of origami

Most of us are familiar with the art of paper folding, perhaps as an amusing pastime with brightly coloured paper, writes Marian Bantjes, a kind of parlour trick or children’s game. To those a bit more aware, origami has intersected with graphic design mostly as a form of three-dimensional illustration – which is one of the ways that paper folders are able to make a living. But a little investigation into the process of construction, and the developments that have occurred over the past quarter-century promise something more intriguing than a delightful puzzle. As with graphic design there is beauty in simplicity, as well as surprising complexity below the surface.

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What most properly defines origami is the linear fold – a complex mental exercise in compaction and extrusion.

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The most whimsical forms reveal gridwork similar to architecture or engineering design, restraints that give origami its allure.

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This is an extract from Marian Bantjes’ ‘Surface to Space’ in Eye 67 (Spring 2008). Read the full text of the article here.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.

Cover story. New trade version of monograph celebrating the inventor of LP design

The first illustrated album cover – for ‘albums’ of 78rpm records – was designed in 1940 by Alex Steinweiss, art director at Columbia Records.

The 94-year-old Steinweiss rarely receives the recognition given to Paul Rand or Lester Beall, widely considered to be among the form-givers of American Modernism, but he was just as much a pioneer of corporate branding insofar as he gave a major recording company a distinctive identity.

You can now read the full text of Steven Heller’s Reputations interview with Steinweiss in Eye 76, the music design special issue.

In 2009, Taschen published the literally massive Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover (top) an exhaustive survey of his music work and other graphic design. At 422 pages, measuring 34cm by 28.3cm, it is possibly the largest design monograph ever published. Taschen has now made the previously limited-editionbook available in a more affordable trade version.

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It was Steinweiss who, in the early 1950s, after designing hundreds of packages, posters and catalogues for Columbia, created the paperboard LP cover to protect and market the latest revolution in music delivery. In the process, he defined the visual identity of recorded music for decades to come.

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Alex Steinweiss, The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover
Hardcover, 420pp. £44.99 (Taschen).

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues (including Eye 76 and single copies of the latest issue. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu. Eye 79 is out any moment.

Bravo, Charlie. Playing with phonetic typography at the Kemistry gallery

Hot on the heels of their intriguing exhibition of Saul Bass posters, the Kemistry gallery (a fitting venue for phonetics) plays host to the ICAO Phonetic Spelling Alphabet as interpreted by Eat Sleep Work / Play, Inventory Studio (one of the practices behind ‘The Art of Conversation’) & Julia, writes Alexander Ecob.

The ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] alphabet, originally developed in the 1930s to aid communication under poor signal conditions, is here represented with playful typographical forms larking about on A2 posters.

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First shown as part of Tokyo’s UK?OK!!, the project plays on the international theme of the alphabet’s intent – though all of the studios featured are London based.

A wider range of participating designers might have made the work richer, but as they stand, the pieces give off a great sense of fun. Also on display will be a specially commissioned installation featuring a short story that makes use of every single letter from this alphabet. Sets and individual prints will be available to purchase.

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Roger That!
24 March > 16 April
Kemistry Gallery
43 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch
London EC2A 3PD

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For an extensive (if so far incomplete), text-only archive of articles (going back to Eye no. 1 in 1990) visit eyemagazine.com. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.

Art shaped box. South African art in a new limited edition portfolio by I-Jusi magazine

South African graphic design magazine I-Jusi was first produced in 1995, designed and founded by Garth Walker (see ‘A New Visual Language for South Africa’ in Eye 50). It was one year after the election of Nelson Mandela as president, and I-Jusi hoped to develop a new kind of visual language for the nation: ‘We like to think of it as Design Power. The power of the creative juices, now that they flow freely in this new South Africa. The impact of design as never seen before – the inescapable power of a visual language deeply rooted in the African experience.’

I-Jusi (Zulu for ‘juice’) has been releasing themed issues ever since, published first by Orange Juice Design and now by Mister Walker. To celebrate the proud history of this non-commercial and highly experimental venture, the magazine has released a limited edition portfolio consisting of 10 lithographs by South African artists who have featured in the magazine (7 graphic, 3 photographic; each signed by the artist). The work will be on show in New York until mid April, and opens in a pop up shop in London next Monday. For details see below.

For more on the photographic language of South Africa, see ‘Not all black and white’ by Sean O’Toole in Eye 73.

Above and below: Limited edition portfolio box images.

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Above: I-Jusi issue 1, spread

Below: I-Jusi issue 3, cover

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Above: I-Jusi issue 2, spread

21 > 31 March 2011
I-Jusi Magazine show
221 Brompton Road
London SW2
www.ijusi.co.za

> April 16, 2011.
Contemporary South African Prints: DKW and I-Jusi
David Krut Projects
526 West 26th Street, #816
New York, NY 10001
USA
davidkrut.com

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For an extensive, if incomplete text-only archive of articles (going back to Eye no. 1 in 1990) visit eyemagazine.com. For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.

Critique: French connections. Back Cover signals an allegiance to graphic design as a serious endeavour

In his latest Web-only Critique, Rick Poynor looks at the French graphic design and typography magazine Back Cover:‘Any graphic design magazine with an international outlook confronts a huge array of possible subjects. In the seven or eight features per issue published so far, Back Cover has signalled a firm allegiance to rigorous European typography and to visual communication as an essentially serious social and cultural endeavour. Its design by the editors’ studio, deValence – modernist with a few whimsical touches – embodies these apparently resurgent values.’

See ‘French connections’ on the Eye website.

Below: back cover of Back Cover no. 4 and spreads.

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For more information see Back Cover’s website, editions-b42.com/back-cover.

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Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop. For a taste of no. 78, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.