Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shepard Fairey's VIP Opening of "Printed Matters"

Last Wednesday was the VIP opening of Printed Matters, the first solo show of iconic designer, illustrator, street artist, and author, Shepard Fairey at his Subliminal Projects gallery in Echo Park. The creative that spoils the everyday pedestrian with beautiful displays of his distinguishable and sometimes controversial pieces features imagery printed on smaller-scale wood and metal panels in this solo show. The images may be recognizable from his recent May Day show that closed out NYC's Deitch Projects last may.

Personally I find Shepard exceedingly inspirational. He represents the two of my foundational qualities being creativity and liberal thinking. His pop iconographic propagandist works are very well crafted and can be admired in skill, concept, and sacrifice of self for the life of the message.

Below are a few images from the opening night.


 










Above is an artist brief by Shepard Fairey on the "Printed Matters Show."

Here's the brief for you to read better:

"Printing has changed the world. With the invention of the movable type printing press around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg created arguably the most important instrument for the global democratization of knowledge. Not only did the printing press facilitate the spread of text-based information, it also spread images. Prior to the invention of the printing press, artwork had to be viewed in person, limiting the influence of styles and specific images to local audiences or those wealthy enough to travel great distances.


The printing press may have begun the democratization of art, but another printer evolved it both conceptually and practically. Andy Warhol made art based on accessible products and personalities from pop culture. In addition to his attempts to democratize art through his subject matter, Warhol used screenprinting to produce multiple versions of his images. Where elitism, preciousness, and scarcity had been the ruling principles in the art world, Warhol embraced commercial reproduction techniques and mass culture. Further down the line, two of my biggest street art influences — Barbara Kruger and Robbie Conal — used printed posters to spread their artwork and messages in public spaces.
I’m a product of the era of mass production and the mass culture it has created. I can’t imagine my art practice without the influence of, and the use of, printing. Some of my biggest art influences were not paintings, but printed things like album covers, skateboard graphics, punk flyers, and T-shirt designs. When I discovered stencil-making and screenprinting in high school, I used them to make T-shirts and stickers, but by college I began to use screenprinting to make art. I enjoyed illustration, photography, collage, and graphic design separately, but with screenprinting I could synthesize those techniques into an integrated final product. Screenprinting also provided latitude for experimentation and the ability to make multiples, and my style began to evolve as I explored the graphic nature of the medium. I tried to make images that would translate well to screen-print production. A harmony of beauty, power, and utility was my goal.

I always believed in art as a part of public dialogue, and my Obey Giant street art campaign aspired to arrest visually and provoke intellectually. With the need for me to compete with well-funded advertising, screenprinting posters myself was the only way I could afford to create large quantities of materials to share on the streets. My theory was that I could print an image on thin paper for the streets and on thicker paper to sell. I was broke, so I needed a process that was affordable and efficient. I printed my posters in a consistent size and color palette so I could build modular grids of images and constantly expand my image library for large outdoor installations.

Repetition, consistency, and persistence over the years yielded a growing audience for both my outdoor and gallery art. As people started to request more versions of my images, I began to embellish upon my utilitarian printing techniques by printing on wood, metal, and canvas, as well as incorporating stenciling back into the work. Some of these pieces began to function as one-of-a-kind mixed media paintings. To keep my work affordable and accessible, I also made screenprint-on-paper editions of my fine art pieces.

The Printed Matters show incorporates every variety of my printed works, including prints on wood, metal, album covers, and fine art collage papers. Some people say print is on its way out, that it will be wiped out by digital media, but I say you can never replace the provocative, tactile experience of an art print on the street or in a gallery. Printing still matters.”


Related Links:
Studio Number One
Subliminal Projects Gallery
Obey Giant

images via complex.com

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Designer of the Day: Coralie Bickford-Smith


I've been drooling over these specific book covers on so many blogs I figured it was only appropriate to moderate my saliva and feature their creator on 'Designer of the Day.' It's only polite.

Coralie Bickford-Smith is a senior cover designer at Penguin Books, where she has created several series designs. She studied typography at Reading university and has recently been sharing her experience with students at London College of Communication encouraging a sense of play in the process of design.



The designs for which she's best known are from the Penguin Cloth-bound Classics collection. She very strategically planned out each cover, first by simply reading the books. From there she paired with one of out picture researchers, Isabelle De Cat, and created mood boards full of ideas, narrowing it down from there. Their beautiful color schemes and intricate patterns make them appealing not only alone but populating an entire row together on a bookshelf.





 Below are some of my other favorite designs by Coralie.







Related Links:
Official Site of Coralie Bickford-Smith
Design Sponge Interview
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