Friday, January 23, 2009

Your turn #1

It was a pleasure to spend time with you yesterday. I think I covered most of these posts. Now it's time for you to go in more detail. Read carefully and take some time to absorb the ancillary information provided by all the links. Your 150-word comment should observe the following: 1- Pick any given image (images), or topic and give it a spin. 2- Consult and research other sources, but don't cut&paste (it smells like rotten fish). 3- Try to be original. Take a little time to think about what you want to articulate (even if you have to write it before you put it down as a comment. 4- If you follow someone's comment lead, don't merely repeat the previous argument (it looks sophomoric). Add something new and interesting. 5- I expect a minimum degree of grammar and clarity (proof read your paragraph before you publish it). If you have questions, leave a comment and I'll het back to you ASAP.

20 comments:

Magdalena said...

So I look at those wooden boards and cave paintings and I’m trying to understand how is it graphic design? I mean, graphic design is supposed to be expressing a message or thought/ idea through the design (iconography) and/or type, right? But so do other forms of art. I guess just minus the type part. I was looking at Durer’s wooden board, from what I understand it’s supposed to be a tool to reproduce a poster (?) in some sort in many copies, but how does it make it graphic design?
So then I look at the design of the Bible (Incunabulum Incunabulorum) and this is just such a beautiful thing. The intricate finish of every single page., (as prof. Triff said during the class), I can’t even imagine what kind of money would that take to make such a thing these days. Would that be even possible? Would anybody be able to put in so much hand work into a book? Everything is perfect, he drawings, the type and even the progressive margin is always exactly the same. I guess today for us would be easy to do it on a computer. Beauty of today’s softwares… But how about a hand work? We are so used to computers that we don’t even attempt doing anything by hand anymore, because who would measure the margins while drawing and writing something about a 1000 pages?
So I guess I’ve been comparing the ‘beginnings” of graphic design like the wooden boards to the actual design of the Bible and I just can’t see how they are in the same field? Anybody agrees/ disagrees?

scolbert said...

I decided to comment of the Venus of Willendorf piece. I remember studying this piece in a previous art history class and it always interested me because of how unusually the artist portrayed a woman especially a Venus or Aphrodite who is supposed be the most desirable and beautiful goddess. The figurine's dimensions are clearly disproportionate as features are enlarged and swollen looking. Her head is a perfect circle and is almost or maybe as big as one of her breasts. Her eyes are not shown as they are covered by braids of hair or a head dress of some kind. Her arms are tiny and sit atop her unattractive and sagging breasts. Her belly and abdomen are swollen and probably trying to reveal she is pregnant. Her legs are also large and she even looks like hr knees are inverted and she would not be able to stand as a human or even as a figurine. This statue was probably given to women to carry if they could not conceive. This is clearly a symbol of fertility. I'm sure that a skilled graphic designer could re-create this image in 3-D on a software program to look just like the figurine, no sculpting involved.

Nicky said...

My favorite of the pieces discussed in class is the Gutenberg Bible. I love the detail and the crisp colors used to brighten up all of the pages. Up close, the details are delicate and I cant possibly imagine how long it took to create it. I also love the red detail on some of the letters.

The pages from the Gutenberg Bible were very reminiscent of something I had studied in an antiquities class I took while studying abroad in Florence. I dug up my old notes and found the Dagulf Psalter, a collection of psalms from the new testament, created during the time of Charlemagne during the 8th Century. While appearing to be much more amaterurish in the continuity of the decorative elements in comparison to the Gutenberg bible, I found in interesting that centuries later, that both of the works were similar in border elements. I love the decoration inside the “B” and the treatment of the serifs on each of the letters and that everything was hand written when the Psalter was created. Even in the 8th century, graphic design played a large role in the production of beautiful works. The fact that both of these pieces were created without the help of modern technology like the Adobe products, makes them all the more special.

Link for Dagulf Psalter:
http://www.finns-books.com/dagulf.htm

Link for Detail on Dagulf Psalter:
http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/initials.html

A.T. said...

Cool point, Magdalena, the way you hark back at graphic design.

Her arms are tiny and sit atop her unattractive and sagging breasts. Scolbert: All a matter of perspective. Actually that exhubreance was considered beautiful at the time.

Go on, don't mind me.

victoria said...

After venturing through a brief glimpse of art history through these posts, I am fascinated by humans' desire to understand and be understood. Whether today or thousands of years ago, we have always wanted to leave our mark behind. The reasons may differ: sometimes we want to "tag" our name to remember a place, sometimes we do it so that others can know we were once at the same location. I was particularly intrigued by the Paleolithic Graffiti, or mark-making. I have studied famous graffiti artists of our time, such as banksy, and I am fascinated by the fact that our mark-making desire is not new to today's culture. What is it inside us that makes us want to be remembered? Is it because we know, in every fiber of our being, that we won't be here one day? Has our mortality always given us a sense of urgency? Even Shakespeare spoke of leaving his legacy in his words, which would outlive him by centuries. It is a simple smear of paint on a stone in this example, but it is a reminder of what was once there nonetheless.

I was also intrigued by the early forms of alphabet, whether ideograms or phonetic symbols. It seems that every corner of the world held humans who were deeply concerned with creating a system of writing. The world is massive, and yet most ancient tribes came upon similar solutions to the written word independently. Why are there only a few ways to write? With pictures or letters or symbols? Is that really all humans can come up with? This makes me realize that maybe we are more alike than we sometimes believe. Ancient Egypt was worlds away from China, and yet both civilizations thought up alphabets that were concerned more about ideas than about separate letters. Perhaps we should remember the similarities between humanity, instead of trying to distance ourselves from different cultures that we do not understand. We may speak different languages, believe in different gods, but we share common desires which should not disregarded in modern society.

Emily said...

The Polychrome Ceiling at the Altamira Cave in Spain (12,000-11,000BCE), and The Hall of Bulls at Lascaux, France (15,000-13,000BCE), are two of the most noteworthy Paleolithic cave paintings. The massive bison and various other animals painted in each cave may be in different poses, but they are all represented in profile view. Although painted in different places at different times, and each created over a period of 10,000 to 20,000 years, the bodies are all in strict profile, including the head, but the horns face front. This sort of twisted perspective is not optical, but rather descriptive. They were not meant to be viewed by the population, as modern day artwork is. However, what is interesting about these cave paintings is that their true purpose is unknown and will never be known. We can speculate how and why they were created, but out modern mind is incapable of knowing the exact reasons behind these cave paintings. The fact that they are found deep within the caves, hundreds of feet from the entrance, where no light is found, and where humans did not populate, makes the paintings even more mysterious. One popular theory was developed by David Lewis–Williams (WKPD) and is based on the idea of the shaman, an intermediary between the spiritual and material world. He says that the shaman would enter into a trance deep within the caves and paint his visions. Others say that the cave paintings were a sort of right-of-passage. Before a youth set out on his first hunt, he would paint what was to be hunted. Regardless of the reason behind these cave paintings, their mystery and vividness of color within such stark darkness, keeps these cave paintings as great wonders of the world.

Annika said...

The main piece of the ones briefly discussed in class that I had conflicting emotions regarding was The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Albrecht Dürer. I understand that for something created in the 15th century, it was and is an extremely well made work of art. The way in which Dürer carved what was a simple piece of wood to be an intricately detailed religious depiction is honestly mind-boggling. Perhaps it is only because this style of artwork is connected with past eras, but I have never seen a more modern woodcut that compares with the beauty and detail of this one. On the other hand, however, I feel as though Dürer’s work is a little excessive from the design point. It was obviously necessary to include all four of the horsemen in the scene, but to me it seems as though there is just too much going on and that it is visually overwhelming. So in the talent aspect, Dürer is obviously successful, but I can’t imagine that this image would be at all successful on a brochure or as an illustration of a book. It’s simply too busy; but maybe that’s just my opinion.

A.T. said...

Annika: Now that you mention Dürer, check his influence here.

Elysa D. Batista said...

The image I chose to comment on is that of the ancient clay tokens from Mesopotamia. These were the first monetary designs that reflected a civilization, and as stated in its description “size, orientation, and groupings” are all significant, just as it is today. Although primitive in material and stylization, this was an obvious feat for the times for the ability to exchange monetary goods with tokens that were worth a certain value had never been previously achieved. In a not so distant future, the ancient Greeks and Romans followed suit and also designed their own monetary “tokens”. Also embracing the idea of creating currency in order to trade and have a more organized commerce. These coins reflected their individual cultures, and were designed to represent things of certain importance as well as serve the monetary value that was attached to each. Once again “size, orientation, and groupings” mattered. Fast-forwarding into the present, we live in a world with a vast array of cultures, each with their own specifically designed currency, catered to reflect the country or group in question. Sound familiar? Color, size and material still matter. Just an example to bring things closer to home, our own American bills have had several new design changes made to them in recent years. At first the iconic images of some of the presidents were enlarged, as well as the numbers representing the value, but more recently color has been added, as an extra precautionary measure in order to safeguard the bills from reproduction, hidden images have been added as well. So it seems safe to say, that what began as modest clay looking tokens that one might overlook, in reality holds a certain weight as the stepping stone of what is still used (tokens/money) as a method of commerce that has to be designed.

greek coins:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
Attic-fig209.jpg

roman coins:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
7antoninianii.jpg

american dollars:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:
USDnotes.png

Lauren said...

I was drawn to two images. Firtsly, Gutenberg's Bible is absolutely amazing to the point where I can not even begin to comprehend the amount of work and time that was put into this art work. This art form does not even exist anymore and I dont think that anyone would have the time or patience to produce such an anomaly in the present time. The symmetry and the fact that it had to be done backwards is just mind boggling. You truly begin to appreciate how our technology has revolutionized this process to the point where we hardly have to create anything ourselves. Where is this sort of effort and innovation in art today? It seems to me that all modern day productions lack the quality and character of this bible and many works of that time.
The second image I was drawn to was The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse by Durer. The detail and the sheer amount of work filling this small piece is absurd but I think it was appropriate. Much of what we see of renaissance art in pieces such as Michaelangelo's The Last judgement http://www.geocities.com/athens/delphi/5600/pix/judge_small.jpg are hugely overstated. The phrase "less is more" did not exist back then because this sort of bombardment of figures was considered beautiful and expressive. No matter how I look at these pieces I cannot help thinking, I cant believe my eyes!

A.T. said...

Lauren: There's a tendency to represent too much during the Renaissance because several influences, the rich tradition of of Islamic calligraphy, and Byzantine art, but also a desire to "render reality," as faithfully as possible. To be true to detail. It's also called horror vacui

Kara D said...

I’ve been interested in typography for quite some time now, and our first class inspired me to investigate the history of our modern alphabet. It is generally agreed upon that writing was independently invented in three different locations: Mesopotamia, China, and Mesoamerica. The oldest samples of Mesopotamian script date as far back as 4000 BC to the Sumerians. This timing coincides with the beginnings of urban centers in West Asia. Not surprisingly, the content of the earliest Mesopotamian writing was concerned mostly with keeping transaction records. Mesopotamian writing was comprised of wedge-shaped characters as a result of the techniques and materials they had available. Thus, their writing is classified as cuneiform (Latin for “wedge-shaped”). Their system evolved from the practice of using clay tokens to keep agricultural records as far back as 8000 BC (we saw examples of such tokens in class). Eventually, the Assyrians to the North expanded on the Sumerian’s script (as did the Babylonians to the South as we see with the Code of Hammurabi) and later the Phoenicians reduced that cuneiform writing and combined it with Egyptian script to create a 22-character system made of abstract symbols. By 800 BC the Greeks used a modified version of the Phoenician system, and later the Romans adopted and modified the Greeks’ system. By the mid 12th century, the Chinese’s paper replaced the medieval European practice of using vellum made of refined bovine skin. As Europe entered the Renaissance, Gutenberg refined his printing process of using moveable type (advanced compared to the woodcutting technique they’d been using) and printing and typesetting spread across Europe beginning Mass media. We saw one of the Bibles made from his press in class. Knowing the history of our alphabet illuminates the fact that it evolved and is still evolving. Designers today have a wealth of font families to choose from, which is part of what keeps graphic designers on their toes. Keeping up with font trends is one of the core responsibilities of a graphic designer to stay fresh, so knowing what came first and how our alphabet evolved is important to me to know what should come next.

Jessica said...

The Mayans are very well known for their prophecies (i.e. 2012) as well as the attention they devoted to astronomy. From what I've read, the Mayans were an incredibly gifted in observing the night sky and there's evidence of this in the Mayan Codex. Although most of these Codex were destroyed during the Spanish invasion and the spread of Christianity throughout the region (monks would destroy them) there remain 4. These 4 are: The Dresden Codex, the Madrid Codex, Paris Codex, and Grolier Codex. Although the Dresden Codex seems to be the most famous for its color and beauty, they all contain within them incredibly accurate astronomical observances (such as eclipses and planetary cycles of Venus) as well as a great deal of information one would find in a present-day Farmer's Almanac. I find it incredibly amazing that such an ancient society as the Mayans were able to accurately predict elements of nature, track astronomical movements, and descriptively annotate their social and historical events. In addition, the actual codices are extremely colorful and the intricate details found within them shows the level of artistic talents possessed by the Mayans.

CardM said...

I’m not one bit surprised the Mayans being mentioned in this course. Elements, such as grids, and iconography are essential to graphic design. Elements found as early as the 9 century BC in Mayan civilization.

The film Apocalypto I think negated a lot of references I remember from the Mayan ruins that I have marveled at for years. Located smack in the middle of Central America, Honduras is the home of Copán. I remember tracing figures with huge noses in profile poses as a kid on family vacations. I remembered feeling proud stepping through Copán’s Ruins. Admittedly, I am guilty of playing soccer on the “futbol stadium” there. At the time archaeologist were still studying inscriptions carved in stone to pillars, stairs and tombs. Today, they are roughly 70% done deciphering Copán. The Maya hieroglyphic writing I saw were of blocks containing condensed imagery. There were grids of images of heads and daily objects. The images could signify what is depicted or an “allograph”, signs that are graphically very different but functionally equivalent; elements popularized today, which I thought was a product of texting overload. Many films refer to the Mayan civilization, but few capture the awe I got as a kid.

Nicole Severi said...

The piece I was most drawn to in terms of its design was the woodblock printing, Ars Moriendi. This piece contains symbolism, bold lines, and type, all of which can often be found in the graphic design of today. I tend to enjoy artwork with more strong outlines and abstract thought, something that I’d like to be able to put into my own work someday.

Ars Moriendi, although created in the mid 1400’s, seems to have a modern spin to it, as though it was ahead of its time. The artist seems to have put quite a bit of thought into use of shapes combined with text. While many ancient pieces with type seem often difficult to read (words too small, background too busy, etc.) this artist seemed to understand how to place type and give it enough contrast so it would stand out as a major part of the work, as opposed to blending into the backdrop.

The medium also seems to have evolved well into a modern art form, because it reminds me a lot of printmaking and screen printing on fabric, both used widely by today’s artists. This much more modern print, for example, http://houseofmeggs.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/meggs-screenprint-blog.jpg looks like an updated version of the techniques used for Ars Moriendi.

Compared to the other pieces, this one stands out to me as closer to modern graphic art.

Nicole Severi said...

Sorry about that broken link, this should work: http://houseofmeggs.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/meggs-screenprint-blog.jpg

A.T. said...

Good point CardM.

A.T. said...

By the way, I'm closing this thing in half an hour.

Ashley said...

I found all these pieces to be amazing. They were created during periods in time when people had very little material and none of the artistic advantages that we have today and yet they made such great things.
I found the "Early Graffiti" to be interesting because mark making and simple line are not only the most basic forms of design but also they are the start of so many different types of media design. Mark making and line is also an important part of graphic design, the lines and marks make up the whole. I definitely think the Paleolithic markings were early forms of graffiti perhaps to leaves messages for others or mark their territory, the only thing is this was not a form of vandalism for them. It was not until later that graffiti become a form of vandalism. I did a little Wiki Search to find out the origin of the word graffiti. I learned the word graffiti comes from the italian word graffito which means scratched.
I also think the Cave of Altamira is simply amazing. How they could create such amazingly intricate forms of art in dark places with charcoal is beyond my comprehension. However I do think that the work in the Cave of Altamira could be a form of graffiti. It could have been their groups way of marking territory or sending a message to other groups that may come to the cave.
Simply amazing...Today no one would even attempt to go into a dark cave and paint or draw by fire light.

Ashley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.