A reflective documentation I have done recently, so as to see how I want to take this coming year.
While making up the road map, I decided to ask (and answer) myself the following questions –
- What am I interested in doing?
- What will help me become more skilled and knowledgeable to follow that interest?
- Where can I use and apply that interest?
What am I interested in doing?
During the vacations, I had time to reflect and think about what I want to do. I looked back at the first year in Srishti as an ADP, and traced all the things I like doing and have done – designing, sketching, writing.
It is Concept development. It cannot be understated that everything begins with an idea and I firmly believe in it. I like to not just think of ideas but expand on them into concepts and then presenting them in the most relevant and relevant way.
What will help me become more skilled and knowledgeable to follow that interest?
Since ideating and developing concepts needs one to venture into new line of thinking and unchartered territories, it is good to experiment and try new mediums and forms.
I think as skills I want to be further adept in Visual Communication as I already have a interest and some familiarity with it.
I would like to learn and deepen my skills in Motion Graphics. Not only does it seem to be an interesting field for me but a crucial one that has a lot of scope in many industries. Apart from design and aesthetics, knowledge of typography will help become more honed in this.
Technical knowledge will be essential. Last year, I was introduced to many new forms and applications like Processing, Nodebox etc. These can be very useful in presenting (and implementing) certain outputs of an idea. While I have played and explored them at a basic level, I would like further practice to improve my skills and confidence in these softwares.
I want my portfolio at the end of the year to reflect these elements. Hopefully, with your help and guidance, I can customize and tailor my way taking and doing courses, projects and workshop in Srishti this year.
Where can I use and apply that interest?
I have been looking up at various companies and workplace where they would need and value concept development as an integral part.
First and foremost, I could think of Ad Agencies and Creative Boutiques as they specialize into this.
I personally would like to believe that this Road Map is not written in indelible ink but in pencil, though I would not use that as an excuse to modify it for convenience but to keep the reference for my journey in synch with what I want…
APPARENT INCLINATION TOWARDS TYPOGRAPHY AND GRAPHIC DESIGN
Common link with many works done in Semester 2
In my works done during the semester, I was told to find a common thread or connection. Initially, this seemed a bit difficult and pointless, as I believed – or wanted to believe – that the works I did were independent and showed a different concept. However, in retrospection, going through most of them, I noticed something interesting. Most of the work I did had a strong presence of typographic or graphic design element. I seemed to be very playful with the text.
Devising, deciding and designing a textual content were apparent not just in my artworks but also in my documentation. If given a choice (and time), I meticulously worked on formatting and presenting any material I wrote.
However, the affinity towards design was not just in the sense of aesthetics but rather at conceptual level – thus being clear, at least to myself, as to ‘why’ I chose to present a certain element of content or design rather than just ‘what’ or ‘how’.
Want to know more about the field and experiment with the forms
While reading about and following the works of the design giants such as the late Paul Rand and Stefan Sagmeister, during my past time was working as an appetizer for my craving for graphic design, I also use to get mesmerized by many relatively less famous design works or concepts. The movie ‘Helvetica’ rekindled my love for fonts and typefaces, urging me to dabble with them. The ‘Philographics’ by Genis Carreras was more than an inspiration culminating in me working on making my impression of minimalistic TV show posters.
As Srishti had a Visual Communication Department, every time I was at PDP campus, I saw scores of graphic design works put up all over the place. The exposure to the variety and the creativity of the students, most them doing works for their self rather than as a part of assignment, excited me. The latent interest in graphic design soon became a burning desire strong enough for me to start doing my own works.
I joined a ‘Information Design’ workshop where I made few in ‘infographs’ – the information for one of them taken from Statistician Hans Rosling’s interactive data-visualizing software ‘Gapminder. Being in CEMA, I also became very keen to use technical knowledge to make graphic design more dynamic and interactive.
This interest of amalgamating technology with graphic skills has led me to explore the concept of ‘Kinetic Typography’ – a form of Motion Graphics. Its importance can be seen by its presence if the way how text – in form of title, words or statements – are presented in ads and films. One of my first introduction (and inspiration) to this form was the Music Video ‘Shop Vac’ where animated text create scenes and context. I am currently learning this design form and would like to see how I can apply it.
Struggle to dwell further – resistance faced
As my interest and fascination in graphic design grew, I started becoming clearer about what I wanted to explore during my semester. However, perhaps due to the difference of opinion with my mentor towards this field, I always had to go to great lengths to justify why I wanted to do something. Being an ADP and CEMA student, I had to explain how this interest and skill was going to be incorporated in my art practice. This initially led to a lot of frustration. It was evident in my works that there was a strong interest in design; however it was merely present as a small element. I felt I was barely scratching the surface and had a lot more to explore. For this I had to know the background, theories and works of great designers.
However, as most of the graphic design courses were offered at under graduation level only and many ADP seminars or workshops, which I was a part of, was happening around the same time, I had to prioritize. This did not however discourage me. Despite, constrain of time along with the numerous projects I was already involved with, I decided to keep learning and exploring this field. Interactions with students or faculties in Visual Communications, online tutorials, and practicing became my after-work hobby.
QUESTION OF ARTWORKS AND GALLERY
Definition of Art – need and methods for defining
Before coming to Srishti, I did not seem to have a very strict definition of Art but if asked, would have said that ‘it is a human expression created to invoke some emotional or intellectual response’. However that has changed during my time in ADP. Art here was not just expression; it became an identity of the person, defining their practice. While this expansion of the term ‘art’ was very educating, it was incomplete without knowledge of the background of different art practices. My mentor encouraged me to read up further on the theories, many times emphasizing on New Media Arts for being a part of CEMA. Sometimes, the amount of reading up and reflecting use to be overwhelming but it opened and introduced new worlds to me. I became aware of different art practices and movements. I started looking at my own works in a different light.
It was quite evident then that I had a fascination towards minimalistic art and design. Minimalism by its definition reduced the idea to its essence emphasizing on the concept – which may be presented in a rather subtle yet clear manner. This did not mean that there was a compromise on aesthetics; instead it relied heavily on it. Being introduced to conceptual artist like Tony Smith and Marcel Duchamp (and his controversial artwork – Fountain), gave me the boost to explore and dwell in this field.
Relationship with the concept of gallery
There seems to be a quite intricate relationship between gallery and art. I was never a gallery-goer myself, so the importance of gallery never occurred to me. So once, I was showing some of my design posters to someone in school and got a response “How is this Art? Can you present it in a gallery?” This left me really confused. This confusion was further propelled, when I saw that is was almost a norm here to present work done in the gallery. I felt as if the work was being done for the gallery rather than for its own purpose. The concept of gallery as a space to showcase and judge an artwork suddenly seemed too restrictive.
This almost led me to a negative reaction towards making artwork that was finally going to be presented in a gallery. However, from this reaction came ideas and concepts which soon became artworks. One of the work was ‘Not My Audience’, where I placed objects such as my shoe, a dried rose and crumpled paper on a podium with a tag ‘If you don’t get this, you are not my audience. The idea of teasing and being playful with the concept of Art and gallery was not only fun and engaging for me, but for many viewers who enjoyed the work. I realized that I was questioning art within an artwork itself along with the concept of gallery. Even the name – No Point Being – of the final CEMA gallery that the CEMA students, Ritika and I set up, subtly indicated this point.
Backstage work in gallery – time spent in planning and production
While talking about the gallery, it is important for me to reflect on the backstage work of setting up and the learning in it. Leslie Johnson’s workshop and her involvement in helping the ADP set up their first gallery in Srishti cannot go without mentioning here. For me and others, she did not just help in conceptualizing and realizing our artworks but worked effortlessly along with us in setting the gallery space. I soon realized that the gallery ‘Illiteral’ was not just a gallery for us to show few things we have done – it was the first time the ADP had some sense of identity towards the Srishti community.
Her contribution helped me in getting the confidence to set up my own gallery. However confidence along could not finish the job. Finding a space, negotiating with others, planning the layout, figuring out the logistics soon became a good learning.
The conflict and confusion with regards to the artwork and gallery seems to have dissipated to a great degree now. What was initially frustrating now has become a source of inspiration for new ideas and perhaps a development of my own practice.