Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Tibor Kalman

Colors Magazine Kalmans Front Cover Edition
Tibor Kalman, died on May 2, 1999, after battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was one of the few graphic designers whose accomplishments are acknowledge still today both within the design field and out.Kalman was a graphic designer who was able to communicate his designs in any shape or form possible enabling to increase public awareness of variety of social issues. He then went on creating his own design company M&Co taking from the name after his wife and business partner, Maria. With his business being fully conventional in the year of 1979, Kalman designs were being distributed to banks and department stores resulting his business transformed into a soapbox in the 1980s for his social mission. Even though business was booming for Kalman he always seemed to remain humble and sincere.

One Christmas kalman sent over 300 clients and colleagues a small cardboard box filled with the typical Spartan contents of a homeless-shelter meal, i.e. crackers, sandwich crisp etc. and offered to match any donations that the recipients made to an agency for the homeless. The following year he sent a book peppered with facts about poverty along with twenty dollars and a stamped envelope addressed to another charity.

Excessive actions like these made both the public and his employees question Kalman’ssanity as his prickly personality sometimes resulted in random acts such as these.In 1991, Kalman closed M&Co's New York offices and accepted an offer to work for Mario Toscani, the creative director of Benetton. The company had already created controversy with its iconoclastic, multicultural ad campaign, which featured, among other images, pictures of a nun and priest kissing, a black woman nursing a white baby and pictures of an AIDS patient on his deathbed, surrounded by his family. Toscani wanted Kalman to create a magazine that embodied the company's radical chic ethos. Kalman assembled a team of designers and editors and moved, with his wife and two children, to Rome.With Colors, Kalman found the perfect platform for his ideas -- both visual and philosophical. With its striking, graphics-heavy layout and its bilingual articles on themes like race and AIDS, Colors was a unique company periodical. The magazine he created existed to promote a multinational corporation's brand identity and an expansive, multi-ethnic philosophy. It pushed boundaries in terms of its editorial emphasis on politics, and it pushed design to the point of post-literacy by making words secondary to images. One of Colors' most famous layouts was the "What if?" spread from the magazine's race issue: Using computer graphics programs, Colors changed the races of several iconic men and women. Queen Elizabeth was made to look black and Spike Lee white. The issue propelled Colors to international fame, and landed Kalman a spot on NBC's "Today," but the catalysts for Kalman's departure from the magazine were already in place.

Whilst researching Tibor Kalman I gained interest as I found many aspects of him that were similar to my own personality. He was a perfectionist in his early days and knew exactly how he wanted things to be, he would go at any lengths to do so even if that meant pissing his own employees off. His unique eye to design as well as his random acts is what made an impact on the design industry. Like Tyler, the creator and other people I wrote about on my previous posts Kalman had a disobedient way of thinking, never caring what the outcome of his reputation would be. Yet he still went along with it becoming a well-known icon with the graphic industry.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Chris Ofili

(Fig.1) No Women No Cry- Chris Ofili

No Women No Cry- Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili steered into the art industry in the early 1990s with promising coordinated paintings combining various techniques such as dots of paint, strokes of glitter and collaged images. One of his most impressive pieces was produce using elephant dung – varnished. Chris Ofili then went on to win the Turner Prize in 1998 and over the past decade has exhibited in many international institutions.

Ofili's work always seems to have a colourful appearance to them involving black culture, history and exoticism. That communicates highly seductive art both physically and metaphorically.

"Born in 1968 and educated at the Royal College of Art, Ofili lives and works in Trinidad. He has enjoyed many major international exhibitions dedicated to his work, in early 2010; Tate Britain presented the most extensive exhibition of his work to date. Other significant solo exhibitions include The Arts Club of Chicago (2010), Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2006), The Studio Museum In Harlem, New York (2005) and Serpentine Gallery, London (1998). Chris Ofili won the Turner Prize in 1998 and represented Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003".


Saul Bass

(fig.1) Saul Bass 

Saul Bass, The godfather of graphic design winning multiple awards in film making whilst becoming a genius at producing picture title sequences. As a result, Bass produced work for some of the biggest Hollywood filmmakers out there such as Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger and Martin Scorsese.
As well as the film titles Saul Bass designed and created number of pioneering movie posters. Looking further into Bass's work i began interested, admiring his characteristic style of work, as well as the simplicity of the design. Bass tends to use little colours as possible keeping them at a minimal of two primary colours. This combined with his naive drawing style appeals to the viewer more as its appearance comes across direct, striking and decipherable. 

"My initial thoughts about what a title can do was to set mood and the prime underlying core of the film's story, to express the story in some metaphorical way. I saw the title as a way of conditioning the audience, so that when the film actually began, viewers would already have an emotional resonance with it." - Saul Bass

(fig.2) Poster for his film "Two of Us".

(fig.3) Saul Bass Poster

Saul Bass worked write up until the year before he sadly past away in April 1996 at the age of 75. His last title sequence was for Martin Scorsese's film, Casino, in 1995.




"In the field of art the broad movement in Western art, architecture and design which self-consciously rejected the past as a model for the art of the present. Hence the term modernist or modern art. Modernism gathered pace from about 1850. Modernism proposes new forms of art on the grounds that these are more appropriate to the present time. It is thus characterised by constant innovation. But modern art has often been driven too by various social and political agendas. These were often utopian, and modernism was in general associated with ideal visions of human life and society and a belief in progress. The terms modernism and modern art are generally used to describe the succession of art movements that critics and historians have identified since the Realism of Courbet, culminating in abstract art and its developments up to the 1960s. By that time modernism had become a dominant idea of art, and a particularly narrow theory of modernist painting had been formulated by the highly influential American critic Clement Greenberg."

From what i gathered from the detailed description above is that Modernism is the progression of todays art, focusing on appropriate figures in todays time from 1850. 

Modernism can be seen as taking a series of reactions to a particular situation, and the challenge to brawl values from the clash between the two. Modernism was not defined by its avant garde but also by a modifying trend within past artistic forms. 

There is a lot of information and history behind the subject matter of modernism and i found it a lot to take in, but what i did understand within the images found were interesting. Modernism was the new movement of art deviating from paintings depicting historical context, landmarks to abstract and romantic context.

Realistic, naturalistic art had dissembled the medium, using art to conceal art; Modernism used art to call attention to art. The Limitations that constitute the medium of painting- the flat surface, the shape of the support, the properties of the pigment- were treated by the Old Masters as negative factors that could be acknowledged openly... Whereas one tends to see what is an Old Master before one sees the picture itself, one sees a Modernist picture as a picture first... (Greenberg 1960, in Greenberg IV 1993,pp.86-7)

A_Sunday_on_La_Grande_Jatte,_Georges_Seurat,_1884.png (2990×2009)
Georges Seurat - Sunday Afternoon on the island of the Grande Jatte, 1886-6

Georges Seurant theory of working was to distribute colour equally across the entire canvas for most of his painting are landscapes, or views from a distant showing borders of sea and shores. 

georges-seurat-the-channel-at-gravelines-petit.jpg (520×409)
Georges Seurat - The Channel of Gravelines, Grand Fort-Philippe,


"Postmodernism is difficult to define, because to define it would violate the postmodernist's premise that no definite terms, boundaries, or absolute truths exist.
Postmodernism claims to be the successor to the 17th century Enlightenment. For over four centuries, “postmodern thinkers” have promoted and defended a New Age way of conceptualizing and rationalizing human life and progress. Postmodernists are typically atheistic or agnostic while some prefer to follow eastern religion thoughts and practices. Many are naturalist including humanitarians, environmentalists, and philosophers". 

Peter Shire And Chair.
Both Modernism and Post - modernism are deep and intriguing subject matters that could stir up an heated debate in matter of seconds. I personally think there is no right or wrong movement between the two as they both are similar and different in there own ways. 
modernism brought the attention of a different prospectus of perceiving life, philosophy, Science, art and literature, by entwining with advancing technology it was not long before experimentation to be taken place. Modernism began to spread and began to change the views and and aspects of life to the mankind.   Postmodernism (after the modern) began to take form after the 1960s impacting on society and economy the developments in society, the economy and the culture of the 1960s were impacted by postmodernism.

To difference between the two is that modernist is about the examination of truth that can be seen abstarted  where as postmodernist believe that there isn’t such a thing as absolute truth. A postmodernist views the world outside of themselves as being in error, that is, other people’s truth becomes indistinguishable from error.thinkers believe that there is no universal truth, abstract or otherwise.


Monday, 2 May 2011


(fig.1) Keep Your Coins I WANT CHANGE. - Banksy's Art. 

Street artist Banksy is well acknowledge for his mutinous style of work with pieces that never cease to amaze people. Original as Banksy's work is he too uses a few founded imagery which could implicate that Banksy is no stranger when referring to the term semiotics as well as appropriation.
Being a fan of Banksy work i have seen the diverse thought process and outcome of his work over a period of time. Banksy uses any material that he can find to create an outcome, from public issues in society to personal thoughts and displays his work in eccentric places to deliver his message to the viewers. Banksy's public pieces usually simple but effective when using the stencil technique making it transparent and easy to communicate to, but at the same time there are some pieces of work that Banksy produces that leave the viewer to ponder with thought. By using his surroundings Banksy enables himself a strong outcome using little elements of colour and type with the signifier resulting a powerful impact to the viewer. With most of his work being strong like the one above as well as his stencil technique, it makes it easy for the viewer to recognize his style of work. Combining his style of work along with his powerful statements concludes with a strong reputation that can be read and acknowledged in most type of media tools out there.


Identity (race and gender)

(fig.1) Dove Advertisement  

(fig.2) Victoria Secret Advertisement  

Last Lecture was most probably the most interesting session that i had come across yet. The subject of identity, race and gender steered a lot of heated debates and tension as strong opinions were being thrown back and forth across the theater. Students were given these two images along with two others to look at and discuss how the females within the two images are being portrayed. Immediately discussion began with student sharing there views, I instantly noticed the composition similarities between the two as they both portray the females striking elegant posses. This was agreed with most of the students in the room but soon contradicted with discovery of the Dove advertisement showing a more natural side to the beauty of women representing natural hair, exultant smiles and varied body sizes. Where as the Victoria Secret image shows more of an glamorous representation of women particularly showing what media seems to think is a perfect women, size zero, long legs and pretty women full of make up as well as keeping the race of the females Caucasian. These observations resulted to another topic on how men force women to portray themselves as the perfect women looking like the Victoria Secret models. Another student counteracted this statement referring to girls trying imitate there role model that the media portray such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce Katie Pryce etc. 

I found both statements to be valid as they both have good points to there opinions, Yes i do agree that most men have an image of a perfect women similar to the Victoria Secret models but this is only because of the constant repetition of females that the media portray on daily T.V. Men cannot only be blamed for insecureness for females as media plays a huge part of our everyday lives. As a result it is not surprising for one wanting to be like a Victoria model nor for one Lusting a Model.   

  • G.Reginald Daniel.(2002). More Than Black?. Multiracial Identity and the New Racial Order. Temple University Press Philadelphia

Saber “The American Graffiti Artist” Exhibition

"Add more colour back to the city, 
add more life" - Saber

I came across Saber's recent work whilst scanning through Hypebeast Art section. Saber is well known within graffiti scene as part of the group of  Seventh letter and has recently announced his exhibition soon to be taken place this month  in the U.S. His passion for graffiti is strong, as shown in the video and has a unique eye towards the art. By using his skill of graffiti Saber aims to show the history and layers of graffiti rather than a personal subject, he also mentions adding colour back to the city which i found to be an interesting statement. Could graffiti change emotions of people? i.e. make them happy,sad or angry. Could us as humans contain a bunch of colours described as happiness, but are being concealed by grey and darkness as our everyday routine in life?
Asking myself question such as these cause me to think about them myself, i look forward to what it is that Saber discovers in his exhibition and other peoples opinions on the subject.