Disobedient Objects

As a loose part of research for my dissertation, last Saturday, I visited the Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. As some of you might know, the exhibition consists of various objects that had been used during acts of counter-power from around the world throughout history and celebrates their functions of capturing the peoples’ struggle. This ranges from posters, handcrafted flags, signs and banners, to equipment used during protests, guides on how to make your own makeshift tear-gas mask and many more alike. Although the event itself did not take up a great amount of space at the V&A itself, I was pleasantly impressed to have made the journey there, as the individual yet unifying background of the pieces was truly heartbreaking when realizing as to how much effort and sacrifice has to occur in order to fight for a decent world for everyone to live in. Over the years, I have learnt not to take this notion for granted, and the visit itself strengthened my belief upon it. It is also one of the reasons as to why I have chosen to base my dissertation upon this subject area. The information signage throughout the exhibition was filled with the beautiful Doctrine typeface, designed by Jonathan Abbott, Jonathan Barnbrrok and Julián Moncada, which was inspired by the livery and branding of Air Koryo, North Korea’s flag carrier. I would absolutely recommend going to see the exhibition in its entirety.

Guerrilla Girls costumes, 1991.

Guerrilla Girls costumes, 1991.

Squatters' Handbook.

Squatters’ Handbook.

Occupy Sandy way-finder street sign, New York, 2012.

Occupy Sandy way-finder street sign, New York, 2012.

Performance costumes from the Bread and Puppet Theater, Glover, Vermont, United States.

Performance costumes from the Bread and Puppet Theater, Glover, Vermont, United States.

After scribbling down notes at the location, and trying to analyse everything in order for questions to spring up to mind, I toured throughout the rest of the museum since it was my first time there. And as the day itself was coming to the closure, I took up the practice of street sketching to kill the time while waiting for my coach, which I later scanned in added colour to digitally.

© 2014 Wojciech Wojda. All rights reserved.

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© 2014 Wojciech Wojda. All rights reserved.

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© 2014 Wojciech Wojda. All rights reserved.

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© 2014 Wojciech Wojda. All rights reserved.

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© 2014 Wojciech Wojda. All rights reserved.

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Picking up the pace

Over the past few weeks of getting back to university for my final year, I have begun to notice how every day starts off full of curiosities. I wake up and instantly think; how will I do this? What will I use? Is this the appropriate approach? Does it answer the brief? What are the other options? Has it been done before? What materials will I use? Why? This would often be defined as stress, but I do not think so. This is simply a process of elimination to get the best results. Lateral thinking set in motion. It’s something that I’m glad to have started doing again on a daily basis. It gives me satisfaction to create something based entirely on my own rationale.

Currently, I am wondering as to what materials and methods I will use to create a piece that’s around half a meter by five meters. Should I use a flat colour or Indian ink? I’ll definitely have to try both of them out and compare, if not combine the two in the end. On top of that, I’ve got my dissertation topics to research. After skimming through a couple of books on graphic design theory a few days ago, I was hooked onto the argument of authorship of the designer/illustrator and how the increase of self-branding and signing work is something that the Modernists classified as elitist. However, it ended up to be a bit overwhelming as I am not well versed on such a subject matter. Plus it got a bit dry to look at after a few days, which instantly signaled to me that it wasn’t something that would keep me excited when researching over the coming months. So instead, I decided to revert back onto an older topic in my folder and question as to whether a good idea is better than a good execution. Initially, this was inspired by David Shrigley’s illustrations, which have a very raw quality of mark making that goes hand in hand with his humor, but yesterday it occurred to me that I could also include protest posters and punk graphics into it, so let’s see how that will turn out. It sure as hell excites me more than the previous subject.

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And that’s not even it yet. As a collective, my course friends and I also have an exhibition of our own work to plan. Everyone attended the meeting yesterday and it’s starting to sound promising for a group as little one as ours. Questions of fundraising are being talked about, as well as locations, marketing, branding, and so forth. Everything that we had learnt during our last Our England exhibition seems to have stuck with us and is being put to use once more.

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We have a theme going but I won’t reveal it. It would spoil the surprise. So I’ll leave it here before I get carried away. After all, I still need to go and buy some Indian ink. Can’t be watching Benny Hill on YouTube for ever!

A Clockwork Orange – Jonathan Barnbrook

Being my first post, I would like to kick-start my blog with a rant I have had been stuck on in my head for the previous few months. Minimalist design amuses me at times. Its essentially aim is to strip down reality and human life to a point where anyone, no matter of the ethnicity or background, understands the work as it is presented to them in the simplest form. But when does minimalist design become no design at all? When does a piece become interpretive rather than informative?

Those were a few of my questions ever since I had seen Jonathan Barnbrook’s book design for A Clockwork Orange. While the back of my brain begged me to try and reason with myself, due to my lack of experience in comparison to the designer himself, I simply could not resist the urge to scrutinize the work. The very fact that an orange circle could be called design astounded me, and even more so as my colleagues attempted to decode it. It seemed that the design strayed away from the principles of minimalism design as it became indirect, and rather headed towards a labyrinth of self-generating interpretations, thus categorizing itself in a section that was close to abstract art.

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The seed had been planted and eventually, my opinions sprouted up in a conversation with my Dad. He had not seen the piece himself and relied on my explanation alone but on his part, he claimed to have thought that the idea of saying a big F*$” You to the know-it-alls was a very cool thing. And I would normally agree. But that does not necessarily apply here because people all over the world practice over and over to perfect their skills, whether that is physically and/or mentally, to attempt and become qualified creatives and Barnbrook strolls in and knocks everything over.

It is definitely a love/hate relationship for me with Barnbrook, as I am in favour of his ideology and a selected collective of work, but looking at the book cover, I cannot bring myself to understand his motives with it. Yet maybe my whole disregard for it is something to learn upon. To some, one of the goals in life is to be acknowledged, even if it is through hateful discussions, and to ignite your reputation, you have to allow a few sparks to hit the haystack. Otherwise the design world would drag itself in visual numbness by proposing repetitive works that follow the long-expired rules of its past mentors. So ultimately, what Barnbrook asks of us is to question our doings and teaches us that we should strive to becoming individuals who think for themselves and who possess personal opinions, instead of simply acknowledging and following, as knowledge differs from wisdom.

Accompanying music: The Fall – Bend Sinister, This Nation’s Saving Grace

Blink Auction

I cleaned up my desk today! That’s right! The layout pad sketches, the torn pieces of paper, the sticky notes with daily reminders and tasks that have been scribbled down with my incomprehensible scrawls with red ticks next to them have all been either shoved in the bin, placed aside in a neat pile or arranged (stuffed) into a folder. Or placed on top of the scanner. Either way, all of this happened in order to officially mark the end of the first semester of my third year.

It feels good, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. Being temporarily cleared of this possessive concept of multiple projects, which clouded my vision up to a point where I had an impression that my life depended on it, has obviously allowed my mind to unwind. And to be honest with you that relaxation period is still pending, which to a certain extent I am pleased about because I am now involved into two separate projects. Everydays and the Blink Auction.

The original post to Everydays can be found here: https://irregularroy.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/everydays/

Have a quick preview. This is the latest post.

Aside from that being my personal project, I am currently collaborating within my year group to organize an international online illustration auction so that we can raise money for our End of Year show exhibition. The plans are all underway, with emails already sent out to our chosen illustrators, designers, and graphic artists. A good number of them have already sent back replies, which is a great result at such an early stage! On top of that, the website is now being gradually constructed after the domain name was bought yesterday, so I will have to test out some coding skills in order to customize it as we see fit. As much as I’d like to, I can’t reveal much more, so I will have to just link you to the holding page at this point. I hope this excites you as much as it does us!

Please check it out at: http://blinkauction2015.com/

Everydays

It’s finally happened. I wish it hadn’t, but it seems like a decent way to do it. Yep, I’ve started a Tumblr account.

The reason as to why is because I’ve recently been annoyed at myself for not being creative enough with materials and never having a good reason to draw, paint, etc. I hope that by starting a mini side project, I will help myself to experiment with mixed media and be a little more inventive with the tools around me. Most of all though, it should be fun!

So if you’re a visual devourer, who enjoys filling up until your eyes start bleeding, then go check out my Tumblr @ http://irregularroy.tumblr.com/

It’s Good To Be Back

I’ve been putting off the update to this blog aside for way too long now. I am yet to get used to doing this on a regular basis along with everything else on my mind. On the other hand though, the nights of working away on the Mac, day in and day out, have paid off. I’m now in the final year of studying Graphic Design.

To be frank, ever since moving back in, everything seems a little soft focused. The scene has changed, and it carries a different atmosphere. I’ve noticed that a lot even when I hopped back on the train, every now and then, to spend a night here in my flat and catch up with some friends from the course over a few beers. Yes, I’m still in the exact same room as before, living and studying with the same people, but things seem to be moving on. People have taken on personal projects throughout the time off, in attempt to desperately try and cling on to the residue of the drive of creativity that had been left lingering behind in the previous year as they are afraid of losing it, so to say.  I guess staring at a Mac screen for so many weeks has turned a good bunch of people into socially inadequate zombies for a while. Still, there’s a limbo of freshness that comes along with it all. There are new kids on the block. The third years have departed, thus positioning the spotlight onto us, I can’t help but to notice how well the other students from the year below are progressing. I’m a little unnerved by it, I’ll admit that, but man does that make me excited to see what’s on offer.

My summer turned out to be most excellent. I spent most of my days drinking cold beer and eating Kielbasa in the town square of Krakow, sketching in my notebook as the warmth from the sun tanned my arms and face. All while wearing my new Ray Bans. I’m just kidding. I don’t even own a Mac. Nor a pair of Ray Bans. Instead, I spent my time working my ass off in a warehouse, and looking after the pets and house, while my parents and siblings finally went away for their first ever holiday abroad together in Piriac Sur Mer in France. Life isn’t always peachy. It does, however, make you appreciate where you have ended up so far. I tired to make the most of my days off as possible, waking up at 7.20am to head to Costa Coffee with my laptop to catch up on the latest happenings on the vast web of the internet, and checking design blogs and podcasts for topics and issues that might inspire my Dissertation research, and therefore the topic(s) to focus on. Of course, I had to also check out those ever-important Twitter feeds and videos on YouTube too. Even though I did join a few mini competitions, my routine did not leave me with an awful lot of time to spill out my creativity on paper, unlike my Espresso Doppio. However, I did start learning how to code. It’s something that has been scraping the back of my small brain for a long time now, as I believe that knowing at least some basics of it is fairly beneficial. It’s not an essential skill for graphic designers to have, but it does simply give you a feeling of satisfaction when you’re learning something new that’s moderately relevant in today’s industry. It’s good to break away and forget the principals of Vignelli’s grid for a while. To shove Erik Spiekermann’s thoughts and opinions, regarding the ornamentation of type, aside. For now, my main concern is detecting that SyntaxError in the string $(document).keypress(function(event) { if(event.which === 111) { else if(event.which === 110) $(‘.current’).children(‘.description’).toggle();. Oh, but I need to sort out the spacing between the lines of code here. This is not very aesthetically pleasing. I’ll just hit the spacebar a few times. There. Wait, let’s divide this into sections for better navigation. This font certainly isn’t doing it a favour. Hmm, if it were up to me, I would have set the background to a very light grey. Somewhere around #F2F2F2.

Eh… I guess I can’t shut the designer mind off anymore. It’s good to be back.