Friday, September 30, 2011

Young Ae Kim: visiting designer at Dordt College

above: portrait of Young Ae Kim
below: portfolio project for SangsangMadang — KT&G Imagination Seed Identity Program.
The SangsangMadang company’s website states:

KT&G Imagination Seed is where you grow your artistic imagination:
  1. supports new imaginations
  2. supports and advocates cultural variety and uniqueness.
  3. communicates and shares with the world
The concept of KT&G Imagination Seed:
  1. We aim open projects, such as external co-projects, which allow individuals and the public to realize projects that they can plan, exhibit and perform by themselves.
  2. We pay attention to and seek out small but worthy art works.
  3. We support young artists of design, photography, music bands, etc. with our practical artist support programs.
The Dordt College Department of Art and Design is pleased to announce Young Ae Kim will be on campus Tuesday 11 October as a visiting designer. During the day she will be visiting several classes as well giving an afternoon presentation highlighting her various projects. Young Ae Kim who teaches graphic design at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion is an energetic teacher and versatile designer and artist. Each year she runs the acclaimed week-long graphic design workshop called “Design Habit” which is open to all students who would like to participate.
Here’s the schedule:
Young Ae Kim: Visiting Designer
Tuesday 11 October (All events held in the Art Gallery Lobby)
Dordt College Department of Art and Design
  • 9:30 a.m. Senior Seminar (the M.F.A. in Graphic Design)
  • 11:00 a.m. Graphic Design 3 (“Imperfect Beauty”)
  • Lunch with students and faculty
  • 1:30 a.m. AIGA Presentation Young Ae Kim will discuss her personal work.
Young Ae Kim’s USD webpage mentions that:
[She] has a B.F.A. in Industrial Design from Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul Korea and she holds an M.F.A. in Graphic Design, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah, Georgia. She writes, “I am happy with a design when it makes people smile. There are many ways an object can make someone smile: familiarity, surprise, beauty, satisfaction, pride, simplicity, humor or wonder. If an object stimulates this reaction whilst performing the function for which it was created, then it is well designed.…”

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bakkerij Versluis: Logotype

Above: the Bakkerij Versluis storefront, Woerden, Netherlands
Photograph by versluis, 2004 (note the sunflowers in the upper bay window)
Below: Banner is taken from the Bakkerij Versluis website

Bakkerij Versluis (probably no relation) is located on Voorstraat in Woerden, Netherlands — Woerden is just off E30 between Utrecht and Gouda.

Here’s a quick non-comprehensive logo analysis:

The Versluis logotype is relatively simple and rather an enjoyable trademark — the casual script type style seems to convey friendliness that reminds one to give thanks for our daily croissant, bread, and banket (a traditional Dutch almond pastry).

The shape of a crescent-shaped bread roll — the croissant, inspired the interesting form of the upper case “V” in the logotype, which relates to the angular and square ends of the script style letters. The deeper color suggest Versluis as purveyors of good, wholesome, and sweet things to eat.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Charis Exhibition, boundary crossings: a journey with direction

Roger Feldman
Pivots: Inside Passage
Painted wood, metal straps, and stone
Site-specific installation at Calvin College
16’ x 12’ x 12’
photograph by versluis, 2011

Starting the middle of October Dordt College will be hosting the Charis Exhibition in the Campus Center Art Gallery. Charis is a Greek word meaning “Grace” or, essentially “goodwill on the part of the doer.” The exhibition was a collaborative art-making project in the summer of 2008 between selected North American artists and selected Indonesian artists. Interestingly, Dordt alumna, Krista (Koning) Krygsman designed the wonderful catalog which accompanies the show.

The piece pictured above is a full-scale version from a maquette, which was developed during the project — the maquette is in the show.

Professor Rachel Hostetter Smith, exhibition curator, writes in the introductory essay of the exhibition catalog, “Roger Feldman investigates the tensions that arise in this global economy as beliefs, values, and needs come into conflict with one another.” His Pivots series was produced in the context found in Indonesia through participation in the Charis Project.

Inside Passage was a commission and a cooperation of students and community members under Feldman’s direction to build the art piece on site. One may enter into the piece through an open passageway and walk through, encountering gentle obstacles which force a change in direction but leads to open spaces above and through to the other side.

A prominent painted exterior panel represents the bright Indonesian sky. In addition, here’s a description about the piece from Feldman’s website:

Three semi-circular walls join a geometric right-angled wall and refer to the four major world religions of Islam (green) [shown above], Hindu (yellow), Buddhist (orange) and Christian (white) faiths. The exterior does not reveal the interior experiences nor the sound component due to its orientation. An overhead bundle of poles tie the four religions together as they share a burden of co-existence.[1]
  1. Smith, Rachel Hostetter, ed. Charis: Boundary Crossings. Grand Rapids: Calvin College, 2009. 14. Print.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

AIGA Nebraska: the Reboot Camp “Small Talk” with Robynne Raye (Modern Dog Design Co.)

Robynne Raye photograph by versluis 2011

Reboot Camp with Seattle-based graphic designer Robynne Raye was a three-day design workshop organized by Paul Berkbigler, education director for AIGA Nebraska and hosted by Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska (Phil Schimonitz, graphic design instructor). As Paul said in the promotional materials, “this is an opportunity to meet with one of America’s top designers.” The workshop, which took place from September 15-17, 2011 was team oriented and geared for professional designers, design educators, and students.

At the end of the first day of the workshop Robynne held a “Small Talk” (small group session) with workshop participants and for those just interested. Several students and I made our way to Norfolk to gather for a Q & A with Ms. Raye.

Interestingly, Raye graduated from college with an art education degree, but since teaching jobs were scarce at the time, Robynne turned to graphic design. Near the beginning of the session she stressed that the roots of her company, Modern Dog Design, were in serving non-profit organizations and developing Identity projects. Raye said, “Non-profits have been very good for us because we feel we’re making something of a difference with graphic design by really helping people. However, we’re able to stay in business because of our [loyal] for-profit clients.”

At the end of the session Ellie, a Dordt student, asked Robynne about her design process at Modern Dog (I’m paraphrasing):

I use the Internet – Google. But first we think about the project and then we talk about the project. We look at and study a lot of other designs and images.

We don’t necessarily try to be original — it’s very important that we know the source of every inspirational thing we look at. We’re always aware and know where our ideas have come from. We parody through redrawing, which helps translate a copy either with hand-drawing or the computer into our own unique interpretation.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Minnesota Center for Book Arts: Día de los Muertos Postcard Contest

Current work: © David Versluis (photography and digital design)
Día de los Muertos / Day of the Dead postcard contest (4" x 6")

The photographs are a pair of one hundred years old sailing ship deadeyes, which have been scanned from a 35mm contact sheet of photographs that were shot in Grand Haven, Michigan in 1982.

The Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) call for entries states: any media may be used — the subject matter should reflect the traditions and art associated with El Día de los Muertos.

The Dordt College advanced graphic design class is also participating with each student submitting at least one design. All the entries are displayed in the MCBA Open Book Lobby Gallery in Minneapolis from September 16 to November 6, 2011.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Frederickus Reinders and His Memorial Icons

Fred Reinders (1874-1959)
Liberty (after The Statue of Liberty)
painted cement
ca. 1945
photograph by versluis, 2011

This piece is one of several statues which can be found in Hospers, Iowa (pop. 690) on Main Street, in the Hospers Memorial Park (adjacent to the library and community center). The pieces were made by a local artist, Frederickus (Fred) Reinders, who wanted to commemorate the end of World War II in 1945. According to the local library’s website, “There was a formal dedication held on Saturday September 15, 1945.” About twenty-five years earlier Reinders had constructed an elaborate memorial in the middle of Main Street to memorialize the sacrifices of World War I.

It has been said that these statues are in the Folk Art tradition; however, the statues as well as other works by Reinders show a complexity that reveal some artistic training and cleverness. The charming look and naiveté of the pieces result from the rather rudimentary medium which Reinders had to work with.

To build the pieces Reinders modeled the figures in cement on an armature of steel and chicken wire mesh. The Liberty statue is positioned on the east side of the park but interestingly, that was not Reinders’ initial intention. The library’s website states that Liberty is “holding a torch that was to have lit the north end of the park. She clutches a book inscribed with the word LAW. For without law, liberty cannot be upheld.”

Here’s a brief biography of Reinders from the library’s website:

The Hospers Memorial Statues were built by Frederickus (Fred) Reinders. Reinders was born in Groningen Netherlands on December 18, 1874. Reinders was enrolled in an art school in the Netherlands at the age of six. He immigrated to the United States in 1893. Reinders first made his home near Platte, South Dakota. After a year or two of farming Reinders left the Platte area because of severe drought conditions and came to the Hospers area with his newlywed wife Jantje Dolphin Reinders. Fred Reinders went into business in Hospers as a house painter but soon discontinued the work due to health reasons. He then sold furniture and obtained a license as a mortician. In 1935, Reinders retired at the age of 61 and devoted his time to his hobby of portrait and picture painting and sculpting. Fred Reinders died on January 10, 1959 at the age of 84.
The statues have been carefully restored by Dordt College Art Professor Jake Van Wyk and repainted by Dordt alumnus Josh Wynia. In fact, the dragon of war piece in the Memorial Park is a terra cotta recreation by Professor Van Wyk.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Futura and the Dordt College architectural sign of 1955

Pictured above is the original Dordt College architectural sign of 1955, which is composed using the Futura typeface. It’s perhaps the classiest exterior sign on campus. The 8 inch high metal letters are 1.875 inches deep and are mounted to 4 inch thick limestone blocks with .5 inch stand-offs, which can create pronounced drop shadows. The generous letter spacing seems to mitigate the encroachment of the geometrically circular “O” into the space of the other letters.

Futura is a sans serif face that adheres to the tenet of being assembled from geometric shapes and the characteristically consistent stroke width suggests automation. Futura was developed with 1920s Bauhaus influences and is the quintessentially twentieth century modern (universal) typeface with classical proportions that helps to convey the concept of form ever follows function. It was one of the commercially popular sans serif type styles of the mid-twentieth century.

Regarding “universal” Futura during the Bauhaus era, Ellen Lupton (crediting Richard Southall and Christopher Burke) puts it this way:

While any graphic designer of the period would have required skills in hand lettering, only a few embarked on the more challenging task of creating a complete, industrially produced typeface. One who did so was Paul Renner, who began work on Futura in Munich in 1924. Although early versions of his alphabet included experimental characters with extreme geometric forms, the final typeface — released in 1927, after three years of ongoing development — is more conservative. The circular “O” of Futura links it to the cruder, more programmatic experiments of the Bauhaus.[1]
  1. Lupton, Ellen. “Herbert Bayer: Designs for ‘Universal’ Lettering. 1925 and 1927.” Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity. Ed. Barry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2009. 200-03. Print.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Dordt is showing the 2011 “Book It!” show from AIGA Nebraska

Photograph by Aanna Stadem © 2011

Cover designer credits from left to right: Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland” (© Emily Yoble); Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphoses” (© Peter Morris); Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” (© Peter Morris)

The following copy is from the Dordt College public information office:

SIOUX CENTER, IA – “Let’s face it folks: as designers, we might not always take time to read all the copy, but our heads generally swivel to see great cover graphics,” said a recent article by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Nebraska. Because great book cover designs should be celebrated, Dordt College is hosting Book It!, a graphic design competition and exhibition hosted by AIGA Nebraska showcasing the best book cover designs.

The exhibit will be on display now through October 10 in the entrance to the Dordt College Ribbens Academic Complex.

Cover designs on display have been judged as the top 15 picks by the panel of judges, all of whom are established graphic designers, including Rodrigo Corral of New York City, Roberto de Vicqu de Cumptich of New York City, and Bryony Gomez-Palacio of Austin, Texas.

Also on display in the Dordt College Campus Center Art Gallery is the famous Herman Miller Summer Picnic poster collection featuring the work of Steve Frykholm. The gallery is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.”

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Friday, September 2, 2011

“Integrazione scenica of the villa into the landscape”: The Getty Center, Los Angeles

photograph by versluis, 2011

The Richard Meier quote in the title of this piece is from Michael Brawne’s essay and book about the Getty Center. The picture above is overlooking the space between the Museum and the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities. The architect Meier and his large team have combined the buildings “in a special gesture” while the people in the scene enliven the spaces. To the left is the circular Central Garden designed by Robert Irwin.

In the middle ground — the sloping line of mature London plane trees (“Yarwood”) help “soften” the buildings and hide the “classic” cascading stream of water that empties into the circular pool below.

For insight about the design of the Getty Center, Brawne quotes Meier:

Sometimes I think that the landscape overtakes it, and sometimes I see the structure as standing out, dominating the landscape. The two are entwined in a dialogue, a perpetual embrace in which building and site are one.

In the garden the organization, conversion and perfection of nature took place according to prescribed architectural rules, which brought about the Integrazione scenica of the villa into the landscape. The plan of the villa can be regarded as a rational scheme superimposed on the landscape in which those parts of the landscape covered by the scheme are ordered and intensified.[1]
Brawne ends his essay with a profound truth by saying:
The thousands who make the journey uphill to the Getty Center each day… can in no way escape taking delight in the paintings and sculpture, in the architecture and its surrounding gardens, in the light and the view, in the joyful and civilized atmosphere that has been created.[2]
  1. Brawne, Michael; (John Linden, photographs; John Hewitt, drawings). The Getty Center: Richard Meier & Partners. London: Phaidon Press Ltd, 1998. 35. Print.
  2. Ibid, 48.

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