Week 12 – Re-doing an assignment

Redoing assignment from Week #5:

Considering the examples that we looked at in this and previous classes, shoot a series of photographic images that explores a theme and way of looking that is of interest to you. Look at the non-fiction stuff page of this site if you need additional inspiration. Your series should include five or more images. Adjust tonal ranges and use masks to darken or lighten specific areas as necessary. Crop them to a ratio different from the original output of your camera. Draw on them or make other adjustments if appropriate. Post the edited photos to your website so that they are viewed in the order you desire. Include a few sentences describing your thought process in regards to content and approach, as well as any edits you have made that need clarification.


After suggestions to work with the tonal adjustments to make the sky appear more like I wanted it, and pulling back and pushing in on some of the helicopters to develop a wider range of perspective. Further, revealing the details of the tail number and “NYPD” on the last two images renders the helicopters identifiable, making them very specific to the point where we can track their movements via http://www.FlightRadar24.com (last image data visualization and edit of the NYPD helicopter flight path).



Week 11 – Political Poster

For this assignment — create a political poster — I wanted to continue exploring issues around the border, immigration, and the military. It’s somewhat personal, as both of my parents, several of my uncles, and one of my grandparents were all soldiers. While I know deploying troops to “protect” the US-Mexico border is a lot safer than sending them to foreign lands to fight wars, the idea of deploying troops to stop poor asylum seekers from entering the U.S. doesn’t sit right. Legally, it brings up the issue of the Posse Comitatus Act, but besides this, it changes the very nature of what the U.S. represents. This country is a nation of immigrants, and now, when immigrants need the most help, we are rejecting that?

I started to sketch images of soldiers at the border, with a helicopter overhead, when I found an image in a recent Time Magazine piece that had exact elements I was creating. The graphic is powerful: three soldiers facing a blank wall, waiting for the “invasion” that will likely never come. These soldiers don’t need to be at the border, they need to be home with their families. The red, white, and blue is a nod to patriotism (because I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with patriotism — the problem is nationalism). I considered crossing out the “HOME,” as they are already technically home, but after a reading the Time piece, I understood that they were not really at home because they were pulled away from their families to live in barracks as if at war. The red and white text at the bottom references the sacrifice migrants make in seeking a peaceful life. I tried two versions, and prefer the “NO MORE BORDERS,” but wanted to show both here.


Week 10 Assignment – Illustrator Word Design

I happen to be working on this assignment in Mexico, where the focus on immigration is sharp, and there are a lot of things going on regarding a caravan of immigrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and other Central American countries making its way on foot from south Mexico, intending to arrive at the U.S. border. In considering this story, and others that I have been learning while here, I decided to create designs featuring the Salvadorian-American poet Javier Zamora, and his poem, “Looking at a Coyote.” He wrote this poem after his own border crossing experience, and I wanted to highlight some of the imagery he evokes with his words. He had a visceral experience, and his poem is a powerful representation of the textures, sounds, and smells of that time.

Zamora’s poem was originally published as a concrete poem, with each line justified on opposite sides of the page. I chose to keep this format, remaining true to his intention, in each of the designs I created. Instead of changing the paragraph appearance, I let it dictate the layout of the designs. The images themselves are pulled from the poem and given bold graphic treatments, and the fonts are meant to complement the layout and design. Since this is my first time using Adobe Illustrator to create a work from scratch, I ran into several difficulties understanding how to change font colors mid word, highlight text to make it pop out of the background, and creating vector outlines from images. I created three designs because I wanted to show a range. Additionally, I wanted to show how with one of the images (the flag at the border image), I had several failures, but used this to inspire the creation of the third image (the Nike ad spoof). With the last image, I was thrilled to find an image of an old worn Nike shoe.


Week 9 – Appropriation

I was gifted a design book for filming an event for Fritz Hansen (what I really wanted, was one of their chairs – also they never paid me). As I read through the book, I found several of the images were beautifully made. The photographers of these images are not only interested in making work that can sell furniture, but also in telling a story.

I downloaded the full resolution .tif images from the Fritz Hansen website. The images included all of the meta-data: camera type, lens, date, f/stop, lens length, etc. They were taken with very expensive equipment (Leica cameras and lenses). I then took photos of these same images in gifted book, with my small, relatively cheap FujiFilm mirrorless camera, replicating (as close as I could) the f/stop, lens length, and shutter speed. I wanted to explore digital/analog decomposition (and friction), through appropriation, the use of repetition, and morphing perspectives.


This image is from an airport in Belgium. The blue image is my photograph, edited and warped. There are other transparent photographs as well. Gauthier-airport-perspective-1


Below is a still life, advertising the copper lamps. The original image is framed and hung on the wall. The hand of the photographer holds down the page. I like books, and value them over digital images because of the textures and smells associated with them. But one limitation in showing photos over two full pages is that crease! Gauthier-copper-lights


Imagine walking into a gallery at MoMA and instead of the Monét that is usually there, the art on the wall is images from the Fritz Hansen advertisement of the furniture put into that very museum. Gauthier-fritz-moma

Week 6 Assignment

After watching, write 400+ words on your site describing a specific place you see one of these historical ideas appearing today. This could be a contemporary artist, in advertising, posters, book covers, coffee shops, or anywhere else you find of note. Analyze the use of line, balance, shape and space. Discuss what elements (historical and otherwise) are being used, why you think that might be, and the ways the historical material may be informing (or disregarded by) the current. Please provide some image examples and think about how it makes you feel. Does knowing this history change your view in any way? Could/should the historical markers be more palpable?

It would be disingenuous of me to respond to this prompt without considering the fact that I’m surrounded by some of the most highly regarded graphic designers working today. I had the opportunity to interview and work with Jennifer Morla, whose designs are known for their bold use of color, type, and historical references.


Her advertisement, “Resize” for Levi’s features a young African American woman with a large Afro hair style, employing a dynamic black and white image on the right of the page, and hand-drawn words of inspiration, affirmation, and personal messages of hope and identity. The page has balance, although it’s not symmetrical. The Afro appears to flutter and float off to the left, giving the image an airy side. The letters are written lightly over the Afro, and together, it suggests boldness, and that this woman does not shy away from who she is, and that includes a Levi’s wearer. Thus continuing the brand’s age-old association with strident independence.


Morla’s work on the “El Museo Mexicano” poster from 1995 is a collage in the truest sense, reminiscent of the early work we looked at from Dada, but uses elements of Mexican culture and history, the art contained within the museum, and the representation of traditional Mexican graphic design. The dot image that dominates the poster is nearly indiscernible, but for people who know, or for those who spend time looking, the image of Frida Kahlo appears. The image is at the top of the poster, and has a lightness to its weight, suggesting a heavenly body keeping a watchful eye over Mexico and Mexican culture. The lettering is mixed, but bold, which is a direct reference to the graphic designers of early Mexican design, who often worked with collage letters to make their works. Other elements reference Mexican religious belief, its tropical climate, and other symbols. Indeed, collage was important to Mexican design throughout the 20thcentury, and this poster honors that heritage while boldly representing the future of the museum.


In her poster for “Public Bikes” is bold and beautiful, and combines old and new with the fonts, the flower image, and the bike icon at the bottom. The sans serif “PU LIC” are very well balanced with the with deco-inspired “B.” Because it is not clear what the poster is advertising, it has to be attractive in ambiguity, to invite viewers to stop and think, and want to learn more.

Morla combines past and present in ways that tell stories. She works in a historic context to use the past to inform the present. She is rooted in the past in a way that makes it ok because of her ability to push graphic design forward.