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Peace in pieces
Fig. 1. Poster commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima for Japan, 1985. Ivan Chermayeff, de la warr pavilion, Bexhill.
Trip FIVE to this exhibition, this time with my brother-in-law, is imminent. What I adore about exhibitions here is that they are ‘bitesize’ and smart; they are a perfect ‘mind burst’. They are the ideal repeat show too as with each visit you see more, and see differently … and are influenced of course by the person you are with.
The right image says what each viewer sees in it.
This idea naturally translates into any and every conflict we see today: MH17, fractured and not yet stuck together, the Middle East utterly smashed into dust – I have this visual in my head of Hanukkah Lamp, the smoke from which forms a fractured map of Israel and Palestine.
|From E-Learning IV|
From a learning point of view to start with a poster such as this is to follow Robert Gagne theory of learning design; also the natural skill of storytellers and good communications: get their attention.
Pen and ink drawing class at the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings
Fig.1 Chair and shade
It was like being back at school: though the ratio of 15 women to 3 men felt like I’d gate-crashed the girl school’s class down the road; I was educated in all male schools from 4 to 19. Of the 15 two were under 20, two were under 30 and the others above 60 and 70. No difference. Just like school. I recognised this swimming with Masters that given any opportunity to be the child that we were we are.
My relationship with art is an odd one: a mother who taught art, had an MA from Durham University in Fine Art, but who discounted at as a career for any of her children. I took it as far as A’levels (under her tutelage).
In 90 minutes we has some history, so thoughts on kit, then we got on with it. I found a secluded spot in the central courtyard (Jerwood Gallery, Hastings). And picked first on the climbing plants on a wall, and then the chair I’d taken out of the class. My challenge was to look at different ways of adding shade. Eventually I found that changing from pen to cotton balls and ink would differentiate between the object and the shadow. This’ll take further work.
Other learning opportunities over the last few days have included:
Power Boat II (Refresher)
It is eight or more years since I did the course and seven years since I’ve been in a power boat. A bit of it came back. And new stuff was added. I need this so that I can operate a ‘rib’ during ‘racing week’ at the local sailing club: laying the course, keeping an eye on the fleet to rescue and assist. The sea can be choppy, the winds strong. Dinghies go over and their mast can pin them to the shallow sand and grit of Seaford Bay.
How to train a pigeon
In her wisdom my daughter has rescued a pigeon with a broken wing. The RSPB and animal sanctuaries aren’t interest. ‘Ralph’ is now accommodated in a garden shed; shits everywhere but is eating from my daughter’s hand. Muggins will be looking after it shortly of course. The volume of pebble-dash shit is impressive as every shit is onto a fresh patch of shed floor – it will be one shit deep, like a carpet by the weekend.
The exhibition on the designer Ivan Chermeyeff at the De La Warr is so good I’ve been back three times. There is no book on this exhibition, though many of his books are nailed to a table to admire (the page it has been opened at), with a few books you can browse. There is an insightful video too – an interview with the designer talking about how he got into fine art and graphic design from an inspiration father. One of the things he talks about is ‘learning to see’. Had photography not been banned I would not have got out a pad of paper and looked more closely at his collages. Had I not taken such a close look I wouldn’t have seen, with magical surprise, that one was made from ephemera collected at the inauguration of JFKennedy as US President on January 20 1961.
Don’t make it easy
Fig. 1 Some ideas from the Ivan Chermayeff ‘Cut and Paste’ exhibition at the De La Warr, Bexhill
As photography isn’t allowed instead of moving from the gallery with my iPhone or camera clicking at everything and anything that caught my eye I was obliged to get out a sketch pad. Just as Ivan Chermayeff says in a exhibition video ‘most people don’t know how to see’.
We risk making everything too easy with e-learning: photos, screengrabs, instant research, transcripts of video, video as audio only or highlights or summaries thanks to others.
The above ideas were for:
a) A School of Visual Arts talk he was giving with a colleague
b) Arthritis – with letters torn from a type font catalogue and jumbled around
c) Mother and Child in modern art – a signal Magritte or Matisse like cut out.
What I would have missed entirely, and I do it no justice here, is a collage of tickets and seating allocation to the inauguration of John F Kennedy on the 20th January 1961. (Before my time, I’d been conceived a few weeks before at a New Year’s Eve party. Not even I can remember that far back).
Fig.2 Sketch of an Ivan Chermayeff collage/poster using bits and pieces from attendance at the inaugurations of US President J F Kennedy
Ivan Chermayeff ‘Cut and Paste’ @ the De La Warr, Bexhill.
Fig.1 Ivan Chermeyff – interviewed on his life in design
The pleasure from every exhibition I attend at the De La Warr is that they are modest in scope and ambition, engaging and inspiring without being overwhelming and curated in a way that gives you, other visitors, the art works and other parefenalia ample space.
The centre piece for IVan Chermayeff “Cut and Paste’ is for me the short, professionally executed, warming video biography in which Chermayeff gives a potted history of his life, influences and work; about as much as you’d cover in an episode of ‘Desert Island’ discs, though here, instead of music, you can then wonder off and look at examples of his work, works in progress and playfulness.
No transcript is offered so here are some excerpts and bullet points from mine.
Interviewed on two cameras Ivan Chermayeff waxes lyrical, the chronology from childhood and ealy influences, through art school and his early graphic design business, family and beyond; he’s in his eighties. His father emigrated to the US in the 1930s or 1940s I guess from the UK.
“For me inspiration is everywhere; I find it everywhere. I make a lot of visual connections by keeping my eyes and mind open to everything I see. It leads a lot into my design”.
His father architect as the biggest inspiration
“No matter what garbage at the age four, or making messes, he would always say that it was really great. And that was true of everything I did, no matter what. Instead of stopping you doing what you were doing because you wanted to make your old manhappy”.
His father he describes as both an educator and a self-taught architect.
Free spirited and supported. Moved everywhere.
Went to a lot of schools. 24. Andover (four years).
Allowed to do it in a free and open way.
Got to Harvard
Took any classes across the university.
Design School, Chicago
Like a workshop of a school
Experimenting with design problems.
I then spent seven years recovering from my education
Trying to define what design meant
Design is all about seeing
You’ve got to learn how to see
You’ve got to make connections that are not necessarily obvious
“Be interested in training yourself to look around, to notice connections, such as a small colour connection, or the tinniest thing that brings two things together”.
Everybody who I find inspiring are artists who make great connections.
Iko Tannaka – Japanese Designer
We just liked what the other one was doing
Nice to have an inward connection with someone
Recognise that it is worth looking at.
I can’t sit still, so I’m always making things, so I make collages. I just prefer scissors to brushes.
Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.
I never do anything that I didm’ think was damned good.
Completely open understanding that we can contribute to what the other is doing at his desk.
Half the time a company doesn’t tell you what it wants accurately, you have to redefine what it is they want … and turn it into reality.
it can be as simple as finding a relationship between two letters in the alphabet or typeface that are original or say something.
Graphic design is all about audience after all … convince your client … they don’t tell you adequately what it is all about. If they were capable of do that they’d do it all themselves.
Held up extremely well
Business confirmation that we did a good job.
“I have intention of retiring ever”.
The video was created and produced by executive Producers
and directed by