If your mind is empty,
it is always ready for anything; it is
open to everything. In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.
"One Part Wood Type, One Part CSS" — I'll be presenting a paper on the conceptual and technical relationships between letterpress printing and CSS/HTML coding at the University and College Designers Association's Annual Design Education Summit at Virgina Tech in May 2012.
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
I have really enjoyed this conference, the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and the Humanities 2012. It's been thought-provoking: the sessions on data visualization and coral reef health, and the process of creating a tangible, user interface (TUI) for the project; on creating/establishing poetic character through film/sound-design for the Timpanogos Cave National Monument in Utah; various research methodologies in art education for graduate students, focusing on familiar but unexamined things, such as yard art, Barbie, and Star Trek; on the intersection of digital and analog (hands-on) skills in graphic design undergrad education; on concepts of and questions about simultaneity and community related to the Life in a Day video film/archive sponsored by YouTube in 2011; and on the importance of keeping visual sketchbooks as research tools in painting/art/design classes — it's been quite interesting, again. It has broadened my circle of thought.
You never know what to expect.
I feel refreshed, ready to return to real winter in the Midwest, to the snow and cold (which is just now coming on), with my memories of the sound of the surf at night in Hawaii. This area — Waikiki Beach — is awash with tourists (myself included, of course); but you can find your own little spaces of serenity and calm throughout the day — palm leaves waving, surf coming in; especially in the morning, between 6-9 — and the blue ocean will always invite you in for another swim before the end of the day. Time for another swim or two, then the long flight home.
Honolulu. I'll be there. I'll be reworking a presentation from the Onstream: FATE/MACAA (Foundations in Art: Theory and Education / Mid-America College Art Association) 2011 conference in St. Louis this year for a presentation in Honolulu in 2012.
The first draft is here: "Make Things Move."
Looking forward to being part of the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and the Humanities 2012. When I presented a few years ago, I thought the conference was a diverse and interesting one, full of new ideas or new takes on older ideas. I incorporated several new projects into studio classes when I returned.
And it's always great to go to Hawaii during mid-winter in the Midwest.
Love, fascination, and obsession
I know I get obsessed from time to time. Any historical or contemporary graphic designer—print, interactive or motion designer, or all of the above—or artist will do.
A certain wonderful designer can set off an obsession for years: Eric Gill, Stefan Sagmeister, Paul Rand, Marian Bantjes. Or a contemporary "abstract" artist just knocks me out with new forms (Mark Bradford, who is already in the past, according to some, but I don't believe it; he has too much passion and vision to recede; and from my designer's viewpoint, I enjoy the site's interface a bit too much).
Or I revisit the older and newer forms of typography. Such care in shaping our words. If we believed our words would always be chiseled in stone or set in metal type and carefully printed in limited 9 of 9 editions to be handed out sparingly, we might slow down a bit and be more careful with them.
I get hooked. Obsessed.
Perhaps the most important word from Norkowski's quote above is: Love. You have to do it for love of the process, for the whole thing— the false starts; the dead ends; the lovely, open-ended explorations; the glimmers of new directions; the movement forward into promising places; and the surprising visual conclusions. Or just the dead ends.
Process. Sometimes you end up spinning your wheels, if you are not in the right frame of mind. This applies to art, graphic design, the daily maintenance and routines of life, and just getting up in the morning sometimes.
And when you are in the right frame of mind (a different place and space for all of us), after just a short time of working and doing, you end up in a place you could not see in the beginning. That's what gets me going: the surprise of everyday life.
A classic: A Pattern Language
Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language.
The website isn't much to talk about, visually speaking, but the philosophies behind it are universal and enduring, and are much to talk about. I am encouraged by the adoption of these ideas years ago by the software-code-making community. Code for the people. Software that is real and personal. Design for real people in real communities, both virtual and brick-and-stone.
Lake Griffy: A Lifetime of Springs
Our very good friend Hank was a driving force in preserving this land just a mile or two north of Bloomington. I silently thank him every time we go there to hike, to jog, to walk, to get our dogs out into the woods, to just take in some nature near town.
Lake Griffy: It's a remarkably beautiful and peaceful place so close to Bloomington and the university, with the Spring wildflowers popping up now and shaking off the winter, and the trees just showing their light green leaves.
The seasons shift fast now, the winds blowing hard at night, and the thunderstorms crash through every few days, followed by days of pure sun heating the land.
And I imagine, as I slip into dreams at night now— I imagine the growth that is happening so quickly just a few miles away, even as I write this: the growth that can not be contained along the rushing creek and up on the ridges of the hills. At twilight, the frogs — "the peepers," as we locals say — have been singing their choruses so loudly, with such primal, I-want-to-mate passion.
Sometimes I hear their croaking choruses as I slip into dreams near midnight, and wake and realize the reality of the firm bed and the square bedroom and the unseen train starting to chug and churn by a half a mile away, and I consciously decide to slide back down into the dream fragment of frogs, frogs singing in fresh Spring waters — and usually, it happens, this sliding and slipping into the reality of the dreams.
Spring. We feel the burgeoning of life, and I attend to and embrace the optimism and growth and newness of this time. I'd live a lifetime of Springs if I could.
Make Things Move: FATE presentation in St. Louis
Here's the framework of the presentation: Make Things Move.
Premise: Students see more clearly the relationship between static, hands-on works of 2D design and motion-based art if the two are presented and created together. 3.11
Fall 2010 at Eastern Illinois University
The very open summer is mostly gone now. And that's okay. Time to move on. I love the long, hot, humid summers of working on personal design and art, and client projects, and I love the process of gardening, and seeing friends for smoky cookouts at dusk as the stars start to pop, and running (early mornings and early evenings), and just spending time looking and sketching, putting a shape here on some paper, a bit of color there after a time. Relaxed freedom for a few months out of the year.
A gift, really: the summer. So much time just to be and to do.
For the first two months of the new Fall semester, we'll have clear roadmaps for the way ahead in my classes, but I always hold back on how to finish the semester, how to conclude, because, like a good story, the ending depends on the beginning, on the quality of the beginning and on all that happens in the crucial middle ground of learning and working. 8.10
As I prep for classes this fall, reading typography books and graphic design texts, reviewing old notes and projects, I'm also freezing all the produce that I can: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, beans. Making and freezing pesto. Enjoying the sweltering heat at 10 a.m. Soon, the summer will vanish, and the cool winds of September and October will blow in. Just as the garden starts to produce almost too much to deal with, and the heat is too much to take, the days will shift, and I always welcome this change. But a few more weeks of the heat will stay with us for now. 8.10
I spotted this datura near the entrance of a small cave along the Escalante River in Utah. Flies were circling and biting me as I backpacked solo across the sandy terraces by the river, so the dark cave opening was inviting at mid-day: out of the beating sun. I stopped, had a lunch of very dry bread and kipper snacks from a can, and sat in the amazingly cool sand at the opening of the cave—just sat admiring the grace of the datura quietly growing, unfolding and refolding, this day and last night, and so many soft, quiet nights and days before this chance encounter at the cave's edge. 7.10
Growth: You set the stage, make the compost, dig in the horse manure, plant the seeds, water, let the storm blow in more water, and just watch and see what happens. We're making constructions this summer, to grow melons and cucumbers and squash upward...and pole beans, of course, some of them moving through the brick weights we attached for decorative flourish. Early summer growth. 6.10
Shakespeare. Yes, Shakespeare. I spent most of a day on this experimental—that is, "in progress"—video. Working with a recitation of Shakespeare's "Sonnet 73" by M. Willett, who podcasts Poems for the People (reading used by permission), I sifted through video clips from my travels back and forth, from Indiana to Illinois in recent weeks—and this short video emerged. I'll switch out a few clips (too repetitive now, but I'm looking to use just a few clips for maximum effect). The pacing and mood seem appropriate: reflective, a sense of shifting into autumn and winter, with industrial, "grain-bin" punctuations. 11.09
Jump to collaborate for portfolio selections: a mix of interactive media and traditional print design, personal projects, and works in progress.
Download a high-res PDF of professional, personal, and student work (63mb).
Time to sit down and update this list...I've actually been quite busy the last few years. 5.11
Continental Divide Motion graphics adaptation of Professor Danielle Dubrasky's wonderful poetry; Braithwaite Gallery, February–March 2008; ECOllective, University of Mary Washington, April 2008; and with Professor Dubrasky's reading at the 2008 SUU Choral Reading
Write, Dance, Design: Cross Disciplinary Case Studies in Design Peer-reviewed presentation at AIGA Intent/Content conference, Nashville, Tennessee; June 2007
Counterform 2007 Juried exhibition of book works at the University of Utah, February–March 2007
Fiction, Poetry, Dance, and Graphic Design: Case Studies in Collaborative Interactive and Print Design Projects Multimedia presentation, 2007 Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities; Honolulu, Hawaii; January 2007
Please Do Not Discard Solo exhibition of graphic design, art, writing; Vincennes University, Indiana; January–February 2007
Creative Writing and Visual Exploration Visiting artist/designer lecture, Vincennes University, Indiana, 2007
Restless Boundaries Exhibition of graphic design, art, writing, at Bellevue University, Nebraska, October–November 2006; visiting artist/designer
Open Space Visiting artist/designer lecture, Bellevue University; October 2006
Archer by Jonathan Hoefler
Above, the light-italic "v" from the new typeface Archer by Jonathan Hoefler. Recently, I've been using Archer as one of three faces (Trade Gothic, Archer, and Sabon) in the design of the new magazine Imagine for the IU Foundation, and I have come to admire the typeface's beauty, versatility, and highly functional grace. Read a quick review of Archer at the site I Love Typography. 3.09
I've been working on a campaign logo for the local Habitat for Humanity. The campaign will be launched in the Spring. The idea of "giving back" is not a new one, but seems especially relevant during these uncertain economic times. Do what you can, when you can. 11.08BACK TO NAV
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Making a mess in a stranger’s kitchen
There was the deep, somewhat forlorn sound of a horn blowing near the river while I worked on the outskirts of downtown Omaha. While a visiting artist in Nebraska, at Bellevue University, I had only a few hours to get familiar with the print shop and do some work. In the clean, unfamiliar shop, I fingered the dies and ornaments that had been acquired by the shop, dies from jobs that had been printed decades ago — and who knows where? To do some intuitive work in a brightly lit studio with high ceilings and an old paint-splattered radio playing local music — this is like entering into a stranger's home, going quickly through the drawers and cabinets and refrigerator in the kitchen, then tossing together a fine dinner without much thought, eating a wonderful meal at the glossy dining table, and cleaning up as quickly as you can on your way out. You carefully wipe away your fingerprints before you turn off all the lights and lock the door. 11.06
"It seems that wherever Dave is, he becomes fascinated by nuggets of gold in the world around him: weathered metal signs and posters, worn landscapes, old fonts from old times ... His responses to the found things, images and moments encountered are typically poetic — both in words and images."
—Michael Giron, gallery director
For three nights I listened to the churn of the wind and the dark waves of Lake Ontario. Jet lag kept me wide-eyed and awake. Sleep stayed at arm's length.
Recently, as a visiting artist at SUNY-Oswego, I was given accommodations in a warm, well-lighted, sparsely furnished apartment that sat huddled on the edge of the wintry lake. Sleepless at 3 a.m., listening to the crashing waves, I pulled out my laptop and weaved together some Actionscript code, a haunting track by the Rachel's, and low-res video clips to create a short ambient piece, "Lake Ontario."
During the final day's lecture I presented the video as a work-in-progress. (It still is.) Days later, back in blue-sky Utah, weary from travel, I read an email from a student at Oswego. She said, "I left wanting to watch it over and over, there was something about the piece that moved me." Her email touched me. Thank you.
Insomnia on the edge of a wild lakeshore can fuel your creativity, the rough result of which can touch someone unexpectedly — if you let yourself step out of the comfortable warmth and stand shivering on the shore and listen to the wind. View "Lake Ontario." 2.06
Summertime collages: “I wake . . . ”
I wake to birdsong at 5 a.m., then sleep until the sun slips over the mountains and lights the bedroom just so; or when Ani, the dog, comes tapping into the bedroom and announces the beginning of the day — always a little too early, it seems. I wake. As Annie Dillard writes in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: "We wake, if we wake at all, to mystery, to rumors of death, beauty, violence..." 6.06
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