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Is it such a crime?

October 5, 2010

While reading for Concepts of Design, I came across an article by Viennese architect Adolf Loos titled “Ornament and Crime, written in 1908. In it, he argues the fact that ornamentation was unneccesary and went on to say that it lead to wasted labor, wasted health, and ultimately, wasted capital. He states that ornament is no longer a natural product of our culture, but a symptom of backwardness or degeneracy. His thoughts were in defense of the modernist era and the thinking that would soon emerge from the Bauhaus school.

Understanding the time period that this was written, I can see where the ideas were stemming from. However, in this day and age, I am sure many would disagree to the extent that Loos took on the opposition of ornamentation. There are points, though, that should be considered in the present. When appropriate, ornament can be effective in design, but a sense of intellectual thought and control must be applied. Through good reason is what makes design communicate the most effective.

What I found most interesting about the article is in the beginning, when Loos goes on to say that “The modern person who tattoos himself is either a criminal or degenerate. There are prisons in which eighty percent of the inmates have tattoos. People with tattoos not in prison are either latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats.” My how the times have changed! Certainly the viewpoint of tattoos have changed in the last 100 years, but there are definitely current perceptions that would agree with Loos. The connection of tattoos and prison around the world is a whole extensive discussion in itself, but the fact is, popularity of the tattoo culture is rapidly increasing. Whether it’s on an 18 year old girl or on an advertisement for Yahoo! tattoos are becoming a way for identities to be expressed.

In the next year, I will not only be reading books on the history of tattoo of different cultures, but I will also be focusing on visual research. To the best of my ability and accessibility, I will be taking note of tattoo shops, artists, and bearers of marks on the body, not only for documentation/resources to use in the coming Thesis book, but to hopefully channel new ideas and raise new questions. What I’m most excited about is not having to be chained to the library and being able to take research in a different direction.


My Two Loves

September 30, 2010

If you know me, you’ll know that two activities I love are biking and drawing. Who ever thought the two could come together? Joseph Griffiths, a Paris based artist seeks to transcribe the living relationship between man and machine through his art. When I first came across his media installation, Drawing Machine #1 (To Your Hearts Content), I immediately fell in love. Growing up playing with spirographs for hours and biking in the park, how could I not?

When a piece of art engages the audience in an exciting and unique manner, it makes the connection between the two that much stronger. There’s something beautiful in not only the visual form this installation creates, but also in the idea as a whole. And hey, what better way to get the creative juices AND the heart flowing at the same time?

Mother Russia

September 29, 2010

As I look more and more into the deeper symbolism of tattoos, I become more fascinated with the work done behind closed bars.

An exhibit in London documenting tattoos done on Russian criminals has come to my attention, found over at It features the drawings of Danzig Baldaev and photographer Sergei Vasilliev, giving an in depth look at not only the tattoos designed but also the individuals that got them. To no surprise, the images are extremely violent, explicit, and intriguing at the same time. Once I get my hands on the encyclopedias designed by Fuel Design, I’m sure it will be vital to my research.

I know that game!

September 29, 2010

I can relate to this video on so many levels. BUT I promise you I am going to be as productive as humanly possible this year!

Human Branding

September 28, 2010

If you’ve met me, it’s no surprise that I am a fan of tattoos. Though society’s perception of tattoo is still hazy, it’s definitely becoming more and more accepted. To me, I see it as another art form, where beautiful (for the most part) images are created on the most complex surface, the human body. It’s amazing what an artist with the right talent and vision can create to forever mark a person.

As much as I love and appreciate the tattoo culture, it is still a newly acceptable business and with that comes flaws and imperfections. And when I think about tattoos, the word perfect definitely comes to mind. As a personal commitment to the body, it should be a mutual understanding between the artist and the consumer that the highest level of perfection should be achieved, not only through execution but through process as well. What do I mean when I say process? Through my experience with my exposure to the world of tattoos, I believe a strong connection should be made with the artist, the one getting tattooed and the art at hand.

This leads me to my Thesis. Though it is still quite early in it’s development, I know for a fact that I want to explore the current stance of the tattoo culture and the interaction the marks we inscribe onto our body create. With this, I will also be connecting a project I am doing for my Visual Communications III class, in which we choose/create a design problem within society and create an organization meant to address said problem.

This next year will be all about tattoos, ranging from studying all the history in all sorts of culture to interviewing strangers on the streets about the tattoos they have chose to become a part of their identity. I just hope it’s not as painful!

Graduate School

September 28, 2010

Fall is almost here  and the weather is finally starting to cool down. I am making some major transitions in my life, including beginning my 2nd (and final) year of graduate school. The biggest difference between my education compared to undergrad to now? The amount of thinking I am forced to do, specifically design thinking. Back in undergraduate school, most of my thinking was purely conceptual and towards the end, expressed in an abstract fashion. It was a great exploration creatively and I definitely produced a certain artistic style that I am proud of.

However, graphic design came out of left field and I grew an immediate passion for it and a better appreciation of just how powerful it could be. Initially, I thought it was like what I’ve done in the past; making things look pretty. And while aesthetics are important, I learned sure enough there was so much more. Design is about communicating a message to a specific audience. How you go about that communication is the exciting part of design, what really intrigued me to go back to school for. Just like what I discovered as an artist at University of Maryland, my time at Pratt Institute thus far has taught me to discover a whole new voice as a designer. Though I am still at a very young phase of my life as a designer, I am so much more sure of who I am than a year and a half ago.

So comes the purpose of this blog. It will become a hub where I may freely express thoughts I have on design, share inspiration I find on a daily basis, and most importantly, as a base for my Thesis research, which will go more in depth as the year progresses. Through this, I hope it will allow me to freely express my thoughts and ideas, giving you a better insight of myself as a designer.

Julien Vallee

April 26, 2010
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Recently in class, Jean showed us a stop motion done by Julien Vallee that was rather beautiful to watch. A few days later, by chance, I came across this small video interview of the designer and it just comes to show what your hands and a little creativity (or a lot) can do for a project.