Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Visual Literacy 2


  • Metaphor
  • Metonym 
  • Synecdoche
Work the metaphor, 
every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent.

New York

Apple , transfers meaning from one thing to another
Metaphor : Apple, health, crisp, fresh, tempting.
A visual metaphor for New York to reinvent itself after a period of widespread crime.

Statue of Liberty 
Synecdoche: Part of something to represent its entirety 
Has to be there all the time , permanently. 
Only works if it is known i.e. Big Ben = London 

Yellow Taxi
Metonym: Doesn't have to be a physical/ permanent part. It could really go anywhere.
e.g. Cross of the Church.

In trying to separate words from pictures we have to accept that words are 'pictures of letters' - David Crow

Readability/ Legibility
Visual Dynamics

Weights and Characters

Distance, Proximity, Priority 
Size weight and colour
Big or Red stands out the most.

A voice has pace, emphasis and volume

If all the fonts on a page have a close hierarchy it is harder to distinguish where your eyes should be.

Anatomy of Type 3

Results of Legibility Experiments

Line Length- Effects readability not size

Script larger scale less words, header font 
putting it on one line/ sentence doesn't make it more readable the letterforms become illegible

Readable on A4 size is when there is a single line length. 
The more lines you add the less legible it becomes.

When working out type/ anything, look at it from a distance.

Roman font, can work as body copy, and header fonts at a larger scale.

Block is unreadable at 12point

Type as image

Curious Pictures

Represents the media and football

Anatomy of Typefaces 2

" Type is Speech made Visible "

A traditionally oral technique , town criers would walk around the town once a week and shout out all the local news. 
Writing was only for the upper class.

The need for typography came when people learnt to read. This is a key thing.

As well as industrialisation of type ( Gutenberg Press ) and the need for mass production.

We can represent type through

  • Weights 
  • Italics
  • Sans-serif/ Serifs
Its an illustration of character

Font- The physical means to create a typeface e.g. woodcut
Typeface- A collection of characters, numbers, symbols e.c.t which have the same distinct design.

4 Key Categorisations of Font

Block (headlines, big heavy stroke)
Gothic (Sans- serif)
Roman (mainly serif)
Script (brush strokes/ handwritten, not good for body copy)

  • Regular
  • Regular/ Italic
  • Light
  • Light/ Italic
  • Bold 
  • Bold/ Italic
  • Ultrabold Condensed
Helvetica vs Arial 
look at the e, s and r
the full stop in Helvetica is square and Arial it is circular.

Legibility/ Readability is maximised by font and layout

Spacial Quality 
Key element 
Counter helps us to read the letterform, and is key to what we are seeing

A defining factor in legibility/ readability is it recognisable 

Serifs tend to be easier for people with dyslexia to read as there are more visual clues, definitions. 

Legibility- Is the degree to which glyphs (individual characters) in text are understandable or recognisable based on appearance.

Readability- Is the ease with which text can be read and understood. Influenced by line length, primary and secondary leading, justification, typestyle, kerning, tracking and point size.

Secondary Leading wanted to space out more, added more leading.

Tracking increasing leading, adding more led, Extending.

Kerning decreasing the space between glyphs, it becomes less legible Condensing.

Never Kern a font.

Most Legible experiments...

 Hattenschweiler 72 point

Edwardian Script 72 point

Century Schoolbook 36 point

Bauhaus 93 48 point

Abadi MTCondensed Light Regular 48 point

What is Visual Literacy ?

Visual Literacy

A process of sending and receiving messages using

  • Type 
  • Images
  • Both

Based on a level of shared understanding of 

  • signs 
  • symbols
  • gestures
  • objects

Affected by 

  • audience
  • context
  • media 
  • method of distribution 
The ability to construct meaning from visual images and type 
Interpreting images of the present, past and a range of cultures 
Producing images that effectively communicate a message to an audience

Everything that is necessary for any language to exist is on an agreement amongst a group of people that one thing will stand for another.

  • Sign
  • Symbol
  • Signifier
Example : 

Symbol: An apple
Sign: For Apple Mac computers
Signifies: Creativity , Independence

Anatomy of Typefaces 1

Rules : Are learnt and should be abided by at all times.
Principles : Can be explored, challenged and questioned.

Type has six categories
they are all representations of the context the typeface was made and some aesthetically effected by the material/ category.

Classic Period- 
pre industrial
(more character easier to define)

Modern Period-
post industrial

Originates from the carving made into walls and slates made in the ancient roman era. The typefaces that fit into this category are many serif fonts, the serifs where made accidentally by the way chisel made the mark on the stone, they added the serif to create a more finished and refined letterform.

Comes from ancient Japan where they began using the material with ink to create letterforms. It was a much more efficient material. It created stoke like lines, which varied slightly in weight. 

In the form of nib pens, invented around the middle ages used with ink. Dip an nib pens.

Began when the Gutenberg Press was invented in 1450. And letters could be now set and pressed. Letter Press.  

Long after the invention of the wooden press came lead, in the form of type writers and movable type.

Has only really been around 30 years when the computer was invented, it has really sparked in the last ten years with new software.

Digital mimics the handmade, but it can also create new. 

The art/ technique of printing with moveable type.
The composition of printed materials of moveable type.
The appearance, and subject of printed matter.

Brief timeline
1450 Gutenberg Press invented
          Gutenberg Bible

1700- 1850 Industrialisation/ Enlightenment

Present Digital

Anatomy of the Glyph

  • Bold
  • Light
  • Regular
  • Weight
  • Stroke
  • Serif
  • Sans - Serif
The term upper case and lower case comes from a printers term where they would store capitals in an upper draw and the other in the lower draw.

1point: 1/72 inches = 25.4/72 mm = 0.3527 mm 

12 points = 1 pica

Point size includes everything from the line of the descenders to the Cap- height/ ascenders.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

High Culture vs Low Culture

High Culture/ Low Culture

Defining the Avant Garde
Art Culture - HighGraphic Design/ Popular/ Mass Culture - Low
Avant-Gardeidea of doing art/design work that is progressive, innovatingalso refers to a group of people being innovative
Being avant- grade in the work you do- challenging innovatingbeing a part of a group being a member of the avant-garde
Used now for many contexts almost has become meaningless.

The Avant-Garde came from modernity , rebellion challenge radicalMarcel DuchampR.Mutt 1917

Fauves, Wild beasts- Fauvism In comparison with a piece from the same year...

Visual Communication
‘The second level aims to let you experiment within you chosen range of disciplines’ ‘Our aim is to encourage students to take a radical approach to communication’'To be a student on the course you need to enjoy:-‘Challenging conventions’

Printed Textiles& Surface Pattern DesignOur aim is to provide an environment which allows you to discover, develop, and express your personal creative identity through your work’‘Level one studies concentrate on ‘… experimentation’\

Interior Design‘We encourage students to challenge conventional thinking ’

‘Throughout the course you will be encouraged to form a personal vision and direction based upon critical self –analysis

Fashion/ClothingWe encourage you to develop your individual creativity to the highest level . . . ‘Level one studies concentrate on . . . .experimentation’

Art and Design (Interdisciplinary)‘What will unite all your creative output will be the ability to apply your creative and technical skills in innovative ways, which are not limited to traditional subject boundaries’

The above show Art / Design Myths
1.     Innovation Should always create new things, and always are.2.     Experimentation process involved in order to achieve new stuff3.     Originality to copy is bad, to be original is good4.     Creative genius to bring out a hidden creative depth held            deep within the student

If you are Module led and graded does that make you all the above ? And if everyone is doing it than does it make anything innovative ?

Before an educational system, You would be assigned to a master and you would copy them for years, until you could do it perfectly.Then you would paint for them Then you would be able to be called a painter e.c.t Learning one technique or styleNot like the above myths
Only innovate and new was introduced mid C18th in the era of the RomanticsChatterton

Couldn't sell any of his poetry. Because its too clever, Kills himself as he believes he doesn't fit in , Cruel world doesn't understand him Artists are better, more creative than everyday people. No one will ever understand them.e.g. Rock stars now.Ultimately a myth
Art is separated from all the other disciplinesIndividual is Superior. Leader. Separate.
Avant-Garde relies on this concept.from the french term Van Guard- elite army, the people who are leading everyone.This idea follows through to the Avant- GardeAny one who has claimed this believes they are individual, Genius, Superior

Corbett Painted the broken peasants, poor . In the modern era, where all paintings where now of the cities and the middle/ high classes.Political .
So for those members of the ‘left wing’ [interested in social change] there was a tendency to have to rely on academic techniques in order to appeal to the ‘public
Fine Art- Fine Art
Jeff Koons Michael Jackson & Bubbles the Monkey (1988) worth over 6 figures
Replicated on a figure he found in an old shop. Referencing Kitsch but in a gallery 

Thomas Kinkade
"Painter of Light"
Calls himself this 
Worth Millions , sells on QVC prints/ mugs/ plates - Kitsch 
Multi - Millionaire

Sells prints 
Tate won't display his work as they say it isn't art 

Carl Andre ‘Equivalent VIII'

People being told what it is , being described to them 

Supporting Elitism
Doesn't communicate 
Avant-Garde vs Avant- Garde Tracey Emin's 'Bed'

K-Foundation award, 1994
Art Terrorists 
Avant- Garde Actions
Turner Prize judged by elite , K-Foundation voted the worst the public voted, same choices as the turner prize 
Rachel Whiteread won both 

Damien Hirst 
'Shark' - Created when he was in a private members club. In Soho. Curator of the Royal Academy asked Hirst if he add any ideas , he said I want to put a shark in a tank. However he had no part in making it. Shark hunter caught the shark e.c.t

Buying for the Brand/ Status Symbol 

Whistler Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket (1875) 
Aesthetically experimental, no political motivation. 
'All the Knowledge he'd learnt in a lifetime' a critic described it a throwing yellow paint around.

end of the C19-20th

two approaches to avant-garde art
art that is socially committed, pushing society forwards, political objectives
art that seeks only to expand/ progress what art is in itself. ( art for arts sake)

Whistler- Brought lots of Critics 
But people began writing/ documenting why the avant-garde is needed

Master Piece- Significant Form- 
The relations and combinations of lines and colours, which when organised give the power to move someone aesthetically. 
Clive Bell

Cezanne Mount St. Victoire 1900 
If you don't feel anything , then you are uneducated or intellectual capabilities
An argument can never be won.  

Art has began to drift away from society and they have began to not care whether society understands their work , as another will write about it and explain. 

Pollock Lavender Mist 1950 , Clement Greenberg justifies this 
More distance 

Russia- Stalin, didn't like avant-garde and said it was elitist and only liked conservative art that people could understand
However this could be seen as the other end of the scale.

A major problem for the avant-garde is that it seems to necessitate ‘ELITISM’

To be Avant- Garde you have to recognise you won't be understood
So to be understood you have to be less radical 

Commercial Art, Mass, Popular 
Sometimes mean bad taste
The term comes from art critics who wanted to define what was high culture and low culture 
However art has to be sold swell ? 
Low Culture that tries to be High Culture - Judgement

Constable Haywain (1821) 

When its reproduced as a print then does it become Kitsch.
Plate defiantly Kitsch
 Kitsch - 

Durer Praying Hands (1508)

Leonardo Da Vinci Last Supper

Simplification of style – repainted masterpieces for the modern eye
Damien Hirst (2007) ‘For the Love Of God’ 

Not Avant- Garde 
Not made by Hirst 
Is it even Kitsch 
No Political / Social agenda 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Graffiti and Street Art

Caves at Lascaux, France
Drawings and paintings on cave walls from the Palaeolithic period are the first example of artist using the walls around them as their canvas  (17, 300 years old)

Discovered in 1940 by four teenagers
The paintings depicted scenes of everyday life, hunting etc.
They were scratched on to the cave walls with animal bones, natural pigments

Pompeii, Italy
Graffiti on the wall, from ancient Rome, Pompeii. 
It was discover in 1749 , after it had been buried under volcanic ash for centuries.

Similar vulgarities to contemporary sexual graffiti

Engraving on Kilroy on the WW2 Memorial in Washington, D.C

20 th Century
Author Charles Panati says that in the US "the mischievous face and the phrase became a national joke... The outrageousness of the graffiti was not so much what it said, but where it turned up."  
Kilroy spread by us troops around world
Humour out of hardship

Chris Osburn
American freelance photojournalist and filmmaker living and working in London. As a foreign correspondent for publications such as Juxtapoz and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, Chris covers England's burgeoning graffiti scene from the frontline, often accompanying notorious street artists on their outings.

A list of the renowned artists which Chris has photographed in action includes Sweet Toof, Cyclops, Sickboy and Dan Witz. He has interviewed significant contemporary urban artists such as Paul Insect, David Choe and Invader and has extensively photographed the works of numerous legendary artists, including Jef Aerosol, Adam Neate, and Banksy.

1970's New York

Spray can Graffiti arises
It evolves alongside hip hop culture 
Making the Language of the streets visible, and noticeable they didn't want to be ignored.

Jon Naar 1973 (photographer)

Cleaning the truck with Ajax
Writing with marker pen means that anonymity preserved.

‘Via trains and buses the writers sent their messages to more affluent parts of the city as well as leaving their mark on public spaces.”

He makes a distinction between this kind of work in the 70’s and the ‘permission graff’ of comissioned graffiti in designated areas which is not illegal.

“you will see that the vast majority of these writers came from the most run-down and neglected sections of New York….predominantly Hispanic and African American. The graffiti they sprayed on the fronts of their homes and on the trains… were a cry for change from the ghetto to clean up the filthy streets, to improve the quality of the schools, and to reduce the glaring inequality between rich and poor.” 

American artist, Jean Michel Basquiat. His career in art began as a graffiti artist in New York City in the late 1970s, and in the 1980s produced Neo-expressionist painting. Basquiat died of a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988, at the age of 27.

In 1976, Basquiat and friends Al Diaz and Shannon Dawson began spray-painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan, working under the pseudonym SAMO.
“the same old shit,” then shortening the phrase to "Same Old", then "SAMO"

“It started…as a private joke and then grew” 
Diaz and Basquiat would later tell the Village Voice in an interview. They took the joke out of the school, giving out small stickers with SAMO aphorisms or the SAMO pamphlet on paper on the subway, and writing down the phrases with marker pens as graffiti, often with an ironic copyright symbol attached. In 1977, while they were still students, Basquiat and Diaz started to put up the first SAMO© Graffiti in Manhattan    

Appeared as poetic/sarcastic phrases.


Neo Expressionist Painting

Graffiti style turned into painting
TV, film, music videos, band
In 1981, Rene Ricard published "The Radiant Child" in Artforum magazine, which brought Basquiat to the attention of the art world.
Exhibitions, celebrity
Painted in Armani suits

Keith Haring, 1990, Radiant Baby
Keith Haring an artist and social activist whose work responded to the New York City street culture of the 1980s.
Friend of Warhol and Basquiat

In 1981 he sketched his first chalk drawings on black paper and painted plastic, metal and found objects.

In 1984, Haring visited Australia and painted wall murals in Melbourne.
Other commissions are in; Rio, Paris and Berlin

There are issues of permanency in street art.

Keith Haring, Pop Shop
Selling t-shirts, toys, posters bearing his signature images, it became a celebrity hang out

When asked about the "commercialism" of his work, Mr. Haring said: "I could earn more money if I just painted a few things and jacked up the price. My shop is an extension of what I was doing in the subway stations, breaking down the barriers between high and low art.

Artist as a brand.

Jenny Holzer, Times Square Show , 1980    
John Feckner, Broken Promises, 1980

Truisms- a self evident truth
They make you think by their presentation.

TATS CRU , 1997, for Coca-Cola

Graffiti has been used as a means of advertising both legally and illegally. In NYC, Bronx-based TATS CRU has made a name for themselves doing legal advertising campaigns for companies like Coca ColaMcDonald'sToyota, and MTV Sony.

Comment on the lack of availability of brands and technology in the Eastern bloc.

The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic on 13th, August, 1961. It completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin
In 1989, a radical series of political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc,
After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9th, November, 1989, that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. 
Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest.

Graffiti in Video Games

Jet Set Radio (2000-2003)    
This game depicts a future Tokyo where freedom of expression is outlawed. The user plays a character in the GG's, a gang of in-line skating graffiti artists who skate around Tokyo covering up rival gangs' graffiti, knocking over Rokkaku police, and dancing to the eclectic soundtrack. The game uses a cel-shaded style of animation, and has been widely acclaimed for its unique music style, detailed art, and gameplay.

Bomb the world (2004) PS2
Created by graffiti artist Klark Kent where users can virtually paint trains at 20 locations worldwide.

Sideways New York, PS3, 2011
Grand Theft Auto, 'Auto Tagging'

Charcters inspired by space invaders classic game of 70’s/80’s

French artist, born 1969
First mosaic in mid 1990’s Paris
Mosaic tile which has permanency as it is weatherproof and more difficult to remove than paper/paint
Tiles are representative of pixels
The ‘invasion’ spreads first across French cities and then 22 countries worldwide

Re- Emergence of Street Art

Banksy, Kate Moss
Shepard Fairey, 2008
Big names in graffiti, like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, mean that graffiti is once again brought back into the art gallery.
Street art enters the worlds of art and politics
The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called the poster "the most efficacious American political illustration since 'Uncle Sam Wants You'

Parisian Photographer JR, Favela Morro Da Provienda- Rio, 2008    
International picture
Pasted giant blow-ups of his photographs (usually of ordinary people). Highlight social realities like the women of the Favela in Rio, their eyes looking down protectively over the  neighbourhood.

VHILS, ( Alexandre Farto), London 2008
In situ
Plaster chipped off wall to create sculptural relief
Leke St tunnel beneath Waterloo Station
Part of Banksys Cans festival

“The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin Wall and will eventually run for over 700km- the distance from London to Zurich. The wall is illegal under international law and essentially turns Palestine into the worlds largest open prison. It also makes it the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers.”- Banksy 2005