Saturday, January 19, 2008

Your turn #1

Hi. I've posted some of the main "design" developments for sections 1-6 of our textbook. For your 150-word comment, you may pick any one of the seven posts below. Let's emphasize historic design aspects, which is our main pursuit here. In addition to your main comment, you may add comments as responses to other comments (discussions are always a plus!). If necessary, I may interject and make a suggestion here and there. Please, don't sign in with an alias. Remember, you have until next Wednesday night to input your comments. Good luck! 

21 comments:

popness monster said...

I feel that the woodblock prints had a great effect on communication. As professor Triff noted the block had to be cut away in reverse giving the artist another level of attention to detail and text. I believe the best part of the woodblock prints is that when they were done they were not unique, like tablets and inscriptions on cave walls. With the relief print you were able to make copies and in turn get information spread much more quickly than with a unique piece. This gave way to the political cartoonist in the 17th and 18th centuries giving way to social and political comments. In essence this type of printing would give way to book making and pamphlet creations which helped the spread of ideas and could be seen as the first form of newspaper. This type of printmaking would continue into the 18th and 19th centuries until the industrial revolution began and the reproducibility of such images and text could be created with technology. The most wonderful thing of the woodblock when compared to technological advances is that there is only one block to create the prints from, so naturally it is unique, but it was up to the artist as to how many prints would be created from this block (a series) and to where they may go. As compared to the industrial revolution it seems that the beauty of that unique image or text is lost when it’s reproduced mechanically.

-Justin Namon

(the blogger won't let me change my name...)

CGV said...

Wood Engraving, Engraving, Lithography, Etching, and Screenprinting are all printing methods used to mass produce a product....Of course owing a reproduction is not the same as owning the original, but in essence its approved to be an original. From the beginning, prints have served to disseminate visual information and bring the pleasure of owning art within reach of a broad public. Art was not the only valuable product that became practical. With the introduction of paper and the printing press, information as a whole became widely distributable. It made it easier to print images in quantity, often illustrations for books. With the development of industrial printing technologies during the modern era, we have come to recognize a difference between original artists' prints and mass-produced reproductions such as the images in our textbook and a reproduction of Roy Lichtenstein's "Drowning Girl". Two broadly agreed upon principles have been adopted to distinguish original artists' prints from commercial reproductions. The first is that the artist performs or oversees the printing process and examines each impression for quality. The artist signs each impression he/she approves and rejected impressions must be destroyed. The second is that there may be a declared limit to the number of impressions that will be made. The number is usually called edition, which is also written by the artist on each approved impression, along with the limit to the number of impressions that will be made.

Carmen G. Velasquez
(i had to delete my original comment because i forgot to add my name.)

A.T. said...

Just testing, don't mind me.

nikster287 said...

The lascaux caves were actually discovered by four teenage boys during the fall of 1940 and is now one of the worlds greatest treasures. Exploration of its vast interior revealed about six hundred paintings and almost 1,500 engravings. Subject matter of the cave paintings and engravings are mostly animals, birds and rhinoceros and bison as well as cattle and deer and horses, and hundreds of "signs", quadrilateral shapes and dots and other patterns we'll surely never decipher. The historical importance of Lascaux is immeasurable and any damage to its art would have serious repercussions given the cave's status as an evolutionary icon for the development of human art and consciousness. The figures are so modern in design that even when Picasso emerged from the cave soon after it was first discovered in 1940 he exclaimed: "We have invented nothing." We can see this idea through the many abstract modernist of the 1900's such as Franz Marc who's painting consists of horses and we can even say that even Willem de Kooning hasn't come much further than the paintings and engravings in these caves. In the modern sense with artist from the last century, paintings such as these were a theraputic process, linking into their unconcsious and re-presenting them, working out their issues- creating a "new-self". But the real importance of the discovery of these caves in terms of design is the genius behind them since they are so close to modern abstraction today.

Maggie McClurken said...

The Celtic books visually caught my eye right away. The details are beautiful and the forms and colors play off one another very well. I think the pages were mislabeled: the Initial page with the “N” on the top is from The Book of Kells and the carpet page on the bottom is from The Book of Durrow.

I looked up a few more pages from the Book of Durrow and came across the Evangelist symbol for Matthew. The page is beautifully designed; an elaborate frame surrounds a rigid male form (a realistic impression of the human figure). The carpet page was pure decoration and was not always abstract in nature. Biting animal images were also used suggesting a Germanic influence. Comic representations of animals, birds, insects, and human figures peering from letters and lurking in corners of pages were also present in the book. Oriental carpets have been linked as an influence of these decorative pages. The “N” page from The Book of Durrow uses dots and swirls to work very well with space. Looks like a lot of mechanical thought was put into the design of these pages.

Bruno r.m. said...

Reading about Egyptian hieroglyphs and its history I realized how closely related we are to the Egyptian and Sumerians cultures and to those who first came up with effective ways to communicate ideas. It came up to my attention the flexibility and functionality of hieroglyphs, and how they evolved to serve better the needs of those who used it. Flexible because they combined several communication techniques like phonetic symbols, ideograms and grammatical structures like determinatives to help expanding its functionality. Writers could write in any direction they felt it was right, from left to right, from right to left and from the top to the bottom and vice versa. There were different versions of the hieroglyphs system for different purposes, (accounting, priesthood writings etc.) What always strikes me when I look at hieroglyphs and Egyptian design in general is how modern the drawings look, the stylization of the shapes are functional and simple, just to meet their purpose, communicate ideas or sounds without further complications. I think this is a principle that designers still use and sometimes we forget the historic background but those things were there thousands of years before and we are just slowly modifying it along with our mind.

Ruth said...

The Book of the Dead caught my attention the most because of how art evolved to make these hieroglyphs, and how future works of art relate to it. The first thing noticed are the gods and how their heads are represented as animals, and how the heart and the feather are forms of ideographs. Also, unlike other works previously seen, there are both words and pictures depicted, which seem to be the start of books such as the Nuremberg Chronicle posted this week. The fact that it was made of papyrus makes it the start of books, but also an evolved form of tablets and early cave paintings. It is also noteworthy that there is representation of both good and evil. As this is the last judgment where people at this time wanted to have a good afterlife, it seems to be the cornerstone for Gislebertus’ own Last Judgment, where Christ is in the center and the left is good while the right signifies damnation. The souls are in the bottom waiting for their outcome, just like the gods are pictured in the Book of the Dead as witnesses on the top. Like mentioned in a previous post, the scribe can be written in any direction. The Book of the Dead is written from top to bottom and in random areas, while the Last Judgment starts in the center and goes either right or left, depending on what direction the viewer decides to see first. Another important thing is that by not only incorporating words, even those who cannot read can analyze what is going on based solely on the drawings.

Gaby! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gaby! said...

COMMENT ON THE
"Hammurabi Code"

Beyond the historical and technogical value of a document like that...what I find interesting is how, yes, when the world figured out how to print and rapidly reproduce printed surfaces, this didn;t mean humanity as a whole was ready to read it.

Education, meaning a formal education was a practice reserved for the few, either royals or religious leaders. Other than that, ordinary citizens where discouraged or trampled onf or trying to read and gain knowledge. Its probably a reason for the fact that tigs used to progress more slowly than they do now.
Here we find a beautiful example of a code which explain the different punishments for breaking the law. The fact is that the people most likely to break the law where the people most unlikely to know how to read.

Done on "bas relief" the way to to classify a work of this kind is to notice how it has less depth behind the faces or figures than the actual faces or figures would have, when measured. In "alto" technique, the depth behind the figures may equal or exceed the depth of the faces or figures, which are usually natural in depth.
Basalt, its main material is a common gray to black extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava on the Earth's surface.
Finally, this is written in cuneiform. This script is the earliest known form of written expression. Created by the Sumerians from ca. 3000 BC cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs. Over time, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract.

Gaby Bruna :)

mick304 said...

I found it difficult to choose just one piece to comment on as I read the brief explanations of each early work of graphic design. Instead, I continued to find myself analyzing the change of graphic design over time due to constantly changing printing technology. I feel as though Graphic Design today is not always valued as, as high an art form as ancient pieces such as Lascaux, Book of Durrow, Hammurabi’s Code, etc. A good example is that of the Incunabulum Incunabulorum which sold for $305,000 in 1926 and is still the highest price ever paid for a book. I find it hard to think of an example of modern day graphic design that would sell for a comparable price in today’s market.

If cave paintings and engravings are considered the first forms of graphic design, it is simple to see how far this art form has come. The invention of paper and printing significantly advanced the art form and the spread of communication, but unfortunately devalued some of the work. If there is only one copy of a design, it is valued much higher than if there are hundreds of copies and more to be printed with just the click of a mouse.

Lost somewhere in my analysis of the effects technology on graphic design, I found myself presented with another question; Is graphic design purely an art form, purely a means of communication, or a combination of both?

The invention of block printing and many more technological advancements can be seen as beneficial or detrimental to graphic design depending on whether you are considering graphic design purely an art form and/or a vehicle for communication as well. If you consider graphic design an art form and nothing else then the ability to print hundreds and hundreds of copies of the same exact piece is probably not a benefit to you as an artist. Only so many prints can be made from one block and even then, each piece is a bit different than the next because it is hand-crafted. Uniqueness is a benefit to an artisit interested in increasing the value of his/her work. On the other hand, technology used today is helpful to spread ideas quickly and efficiently. If you consider graphic design to be solely a means for communication then current technology is probably better than anything you could have hoped for. In many cases the need for an actual print of the document to be created is completely eliminated (i.e. websites, e-mail, etc.).

mick304 said...

Sorry my comment was so long, I got carried away and probably a bit off topic and that my name didn't show up right

-Michaela Baril

TGaffney said...

Ars Moriendi depicts the coinciding of human beings and creatures of the afterlife. Although it is a xylograph of the 15th century, it is engraved with such great detail leaving miniscule protrusions to capture the thinnest of ink lines. The piece is so beautiful because it abandons the dreary depths of death and explores an alternate, more glorious side. Along with showing the better side of death including the mocking of Christ’s death, these Latin texts offer how to avoid the five temptations that beset a dying man. Faith, despair, impatience, spiritual pride, and avarice are to be stayed away from in order for a proper, better afterlife. The human figures or those that have just passed away have distressed looks on their faces and grasp their hands in lament. The deathly figures, on the other hand show offerings of crowns and looks of smugness as if the newly dead have much to learn.

xjagannathx said...

The style of the insular art of the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow is influential to art because it celebrates the beautiful of the letterform. So much time and detail is given to letter, whereas the depictions of humans in the style lack the same attention. This appreciation of the letterform can still be seen today, in a drop cap from a magazine or monogrammed bath towels. The details added to each initial gives that letter a unique personality which distinguishes it from other letters in the book. Another page, which was not featured, is the Chi Rho monogram (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ee/KellsFol034rChiRhoMonogram.jpg) from the Book of Kells. The Chi Rho monogram is the symbol for Christ, because it contains the first to letters for Christ in Greek. This page is beautiful because it takes two letters and fills the entire page with them. The page features all of the elements of insular art like the triskeles, ribbon plaits, millefiori, and circular knots making the book of Kells to be considered the height of Insular Art.

Raymond Mathews

Grant said...

The Book of Durrow along with The Book of Kells are both manuscript works that are very captivating. The attention to detail in the execution as well as the use of the highest quality materials of the time point to the care that was used in creating the work. The Book provides us with a stark contrast in the way book making was treated during the sixth to ninth centuries and the way it is handled today. It seems as though the art of the book is parallel to that of the subject matter. Today art in official books of worship such as this are miniscule to nonexistent. In modern times we look to other literary mediums for decorative art/typography those being leisure books and magazines. In addition the people of this time were always looking for ways to express their belief system through art. These two manuscripts provide an example of this. No details are spared and one might assume that the artists wanted the reader to pay equal amounts of attention to both the content as well as the execution.

H. Grant Roberson

francisca Twiggs said...

I was thinking about what Bruno R.M said and I agree. With the dawn of visual computer communication and technologies it seems that as a culture we have returned to a more visual and codified system of writing/communicating. The computer has connected an entire world with standardized symbols like icons and type fonts. The computer desktop interface certainly returns to the tradition of using pictogram like symbols to convey unique messages. Like Hieroglyphs, desktop icons serve a particular function and communicate a message to that particular individual. The computer icon is almost narrative in nature and can almost be deciphered without pervious knowledge of a computer’s workings. Like early ideographic forms of writing a symbol can communicate cross-culturally which is imperative in this increasingly globalized world. Thomas Erickson pointed out that interface design normally follows the traditional approach of art and design, which requires reworking to refine an idea through visual playfulness until a solution has been achieved (Honeywill, Paul. "A comparison between Maya hieroglyphs and computer icons." AI & Society 14. Abstract. 23 Jan. 2008 .)

Alexis said...

As Professor Triff noted, the Book of the Dead was a sort of instruction manual for the Egyptian people, but since only a very small percentage of ancient Egyptians could read and write the text is accompanied by elaborate illustrations. This particular vignette from the Book of the Dead depicts Anubis weighing a heart against a feather, which in Egyptian art came to represent order. The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the dwelling of a person’s soul, so if the heart balanced with the feather the person would go on to a lush afterlife; however, if their heart did not balance with the feather, the deceased was determined to be immoral and condemned to non-existence. Presumably meant to serve as a warning to the living to lead a virtuous life, this scene is reminiscent of the Gislebertus’ Last Judgement on the typanum of Saint-Lazare in France, which was intended to communicate a message and inspire fear in the illiterate masses. This later rendition features Christ presiding over a scene in which one of his angels dutifully weighs the souls of the deceased in an attempt to separate the blessed from the damned. It is quite obvious in both the message and composition that the former must have – directly or indirectly – served as inspiration for Gislebertus’ Last Judgement, one of the most unforgettable depictions of the weighing of the souls in the history of art.

jaqi_tumas said...

The Book of the Dead.

I found it strange to learn that in the beginning, the drawings were done after the text. A picture is worth a thousand words, and with giving instructions a picture is much more helpful. In turn, it makes sense that the pictures soon became a more important aspect of the instructions and were later much more detailed and elaborate. The drawings themselves are very straight forward and emphasize all of the best qualities of the gods and humans. This makes the drawings somewhat awkward, but very appropriate. Depicting the torso forward while the rest of the body is profile seems to have a presence about it. This presents the chest to you, but the body is still continuing on. I find it interesting to see that the humans are drawn the same size as the gods. It puts them on the same level physically and spiritually. On the later scrolls, the text is placed around the illustrations, and adds to the decorativeness of the art. It’s as though it was meant to be an afterthought, or frame for the illustrations.

Joke85 said...

The Commentaries on the Apocalypse by Beatus, is one of the most profound examples of wide spread exchange of information. Although the writings were about the coming "end of days", which truly effected all of Western Europe, the design aspects of the Facundus Beatus, I believe, were what left a lasting mark on the society of that time. The work contains texts from the Book of Revelations accompanied by beautiful and sometimes harrowing decorative pictures, otherwise known as an illuminated manuscripts. Very often the pages were enhanced with either gold or silver along the borders, within small illustrations, or even in the typography as well. The reason for it being called illumination was simply due to the fact that the gold or silver shined when put against light. The process of making this was very costly due to the components incorporated into creating it. Most of the time it was written on parchment. In short, like many manuscripts from the Carolingian to the Gothic age, the reason why the Facundas Beatus had such an impact on so many lives was owed to its message, which was enhanced by the aesthetic design and artistic structure of the manuscript.

Dakota Hendon said...

The Book of the dead is amazing for its ability to portray it's message across innumerable amounts of years. You don't necessarily have to be able to read hieroglyphs in order to understand the idea of the procession into the afterlife. Bruno commented how flexible the system of writing was because it was so adaptable. By combining different symbols to form text and illustrations they were able to communicate their ideas across language barriers or borders. These early glyphs are amazing precedents for modern day where communicating across language lines has only worsened since the day of the egyptians. Today, we could stand to learn how to express our message to all people regardless of their origin. Consider a practical application, imagine if advertisements could combine multiple languages and images in one add to use where many cultures are represented.

luppee said...

I find it so remarkable how even though the Lascaux Cave paintings date back over 16,000 years ago, they still show that fundamental elements of design were still practiced. By looking at “The Hall of the Bulls” an understanding of perspective can be seen in the work of the Paleolithic artists. Using the contour lines of the cave to match the sketches of the animals dimension was created. In “The Crossed Bison” the legs of the bison are crossed as an attempt to portray motion and the figures closer to the foreground even show a clear outline around the animals legs to differentiate one from another. Along with the beginning traces of design and perspective the cave paintings show evidence in the beginning of abstraction. With around 2,000 different figures painted ranging from horses, to cattle to bison, and even some representational human figures it is nearly impossible to think that the scenes created only came from memory. It is believed that the cave dwellers would retreat to the depths of the caves in a trance and record their visions. It is interesting and important to understand that the idea of translating the real world into a state of abstraction that dominated 20th century art originated as far back as the Lascaux paintings.

-Julia Rega

rhett bradbury said...

The cave of Lascaux opens up many questions about our ancestors. It seems we take for granted where we have come from as people, and what little credit we give our primitive cousins. The drawings within the cave show a great deal of understanding and attention to composition, form, color and detail. The artists illustrate their knowledge of three-dimensional perspective when representing herds of animals together at various distances and angles. Are these the workings the caveman’s Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel of the time? Leaving us their creative vision and innovation from years of toil and study.
The artists create geometric groupings of various shapes and squares that are also very interesting. Even at our earliest intellectual stages, it seems we felt it necessary to confine space into rigid fractions. Right angles had to be met, order had to be given. But at this stage in time, it was probably a revolution in representation. Finally giving order to the chaos that Gork, or Gok had to face everyday. It must have been a calming endeavor. It only took us thousands of years to understand our place inside the box, and work so hard to break out. Should we thank them for putting us inside? When its thousands of years from now, will be content with putting ourselves back in?