Archive for June, 2011


For one of my classes at Edith Cowan University I had to create a physical form that illustrated what I had learnt so far, whether it was evident in the actual process or the end product.

Fortunately at the time of receiving this task, I had another class in which I worked with a partner and had to develop an image for a fake company that the other person had created. There are three separate parts to the assignment which tied in with the forms of media that can be used for a company: the first was a 2D representation of the company, the second is the one I will be focusing on in this blog which is a 3D representation and the last is finding a way to add another dimension such as time.

The company that I had to work with was called Holotext. It is a book printing/ film production company in which creates books that holographically display the novel’s environment as one reads on, of course this is not physically possible yet, but it is still possible to create an image for this company.

It is quite interesting the process to which you have to go through to find a suitable representation of a company that does something not yet possible. On the one hand you need to find a way of pushing the boundaries and developing something that really resonates and demonstrates the image of the company, while on the other hand you are restricted by what is possible. I found myself constantly wanting to push the technological barrier and trick the mental perception of a possible customer, but was held back by time constraints and monetary availability (Throsby & Hollister, 2003).

Limitations did play a major role in the thought process, as I work from 9 to 5 three days a week, study university the other three days a week, which leaves me just the sunday off; and being that the materials I needed could only be purchased during the weekdays, I had to take a day or two off work: which also leads me to the limitation of money. I was initially thinking to create something that was at least a quarter of a metre, but as time went on, I started to realize how long it would take and how much it would have cost, thus I gradually began to decrease the size of the object to decide upon a scale model.

Upon examining the company logo that I had designed:

I started to think that I could actually make a physical form of it, and it would be used as a bookcase for the novels that the company printed, thus working as a company product but also an household furniture advertisement. As I started to think more about it, I started creating images of what sort of dimensions I needed to make it possible.

At the time that my mind seemed to be working the most fluently with ideas, was a moment where I was almost free from distractions, a moment in which seemed to aid in the flow of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Drawing from the tutorial in week 6, where we discussed the ways in which we might be dissuaded from the creative path of thought, I felt that Csikszentmihalyi’s fifth point really came into effect. It was weird that at the time of the above dimension & measurement planning, I was in an arguement with my girlfriend and my mind seemed to be constantly infuriated by not only the actual arguement, but also the knowledge that time was running out for the assignment and I needed to focus; forcing my mind to create. Contradicting Csikszentmihalyi’s points of distraction and time distortion in the creative flow, I was able to come up with solutions because of the distraction of the girlfriend and the attention to time. It would seem as though that emotion should play a part in the flow of creative thinking because the way in which you feel has a major effect on what you produce, although it is difficult to assume that there is a certain emotion guideline that one should follow in order to find the most suitable method of production, there can be a rough mention of emotion.

The next step in the process of creation, was to consider the different materials, the positives of steel or the negatives of glass.

Once I was completely sure that I would use wood, I had to figure out a way in which it would all come together at such a small scale design.

I immediately thought that nails would ruin the overall design, because they would look like a sudden change from wood (classic material) to metal (modern tool). I was aiming for something that would leave it as a uniform design; keeping it simple and restricted to one style or something that would allow an easy transition into another idea. The different types of joints allowed the conformity of the wood material, thus I chose to go with a sort of mortise and tendon approach, as I was somewhat puzzled by how the other joints would interact to bring the piece together.

Fortunately, I had left the intial dimensions as unrestricted, thus I could match it with the size of MDF wood that I had available. I decided to keep the thickness of the wood (16mm) as 1 unit.

I spent quite some time, developing the right adjustments to ensure that there was an even thickness all around the design, and that in the larger scale model, it would be most beneficial to the overall functionality and stability. I used the mortise and tendon idea to create a sort of puzzle piece, where each piece would fit into another. The next logical step seemed to be to just obtain the wood and try the idea out.

Using the 16mm unit, I created a gridline of the first end, then used tracing paper to copy the design and make a cutout. On the reverse of the wood, I shaded the area in which would become the tendon; while the edge of the wood had the dimensions to which showed how deep the cut should be. I had forgot to take pictures of the process of cutting, although I did keep the result of failure.

Upon the cutting process, I had discovered how thick the saw actually was, and how much it had affected a small scale design. In a large scale model, 2mm probably would not matter, but in a design where the main unit of measurement depended on 16mm, it had a large effect. Another problem was that I had shaded the tendon area but I had not shaded the opposite side which contained the main design; meaning that during the cutting process, I was witnessing the wood being cut into the design.

As I had cut the wood at the university and they had done it for free, I felt a moral obligation to offer something in return, thus I ended up buying a coffee for each time the person had the wood. Looking back at this, I now see that it is somewhat related to Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of social acceptance becoming a restraint in the flow of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996), as I did not want to seem like an asshole (apology for lack of a more suitable word) in the eyes of another, it intefered with the design. Therefore I was losing more and more time, thus being reverted back to a state of panic and finidng myself proving Csikszentmihalyi’s point of time & worry becoming a barrier for creativity.

Deciding to go back on what possible joins were available, I went with glue, which seemed fast and invisible. As I went back to cut a second time, I felt more aware of what needed to be done, and the simplicity of the final design had freed myself from worrry. In the end I was quite proud of the result.

Creativity had rapidly changed definition for me throughout the semester, starting off with the idea of functionality, swaying towards fantasy and touching the theory of religious influence. Although as classes came to an end, I began to think and look back and find myself discovering that creativity is not only the end product of your thoughts but rather the actual mental process itself is creative. It is not a perception of another entity that defines you as creative or not.

The way in which we think in this world is creative, think of it as the route rather than the destination, people may end up with the same destination, but how they got there may influence their next destination.

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Cool Hand Luke

In my first year of Graphic Design at Edith Cowan University, I took a Desktop Publishing class in which one of the assessments required a postcard promotion.

The assessment outlined that we must take a classic film from a the list given, and creat a modern day portrayal.

I chose ‘Cool Hand Luke’, in which hovered around the idea of a man who always kept his ‘cool’, even in hardest times. The postcard shows a relaxed man breathing out smoke which reads “Cool Hand Luke”.

In this week’s lecture, we had guest lecturer Julie Robinson, a performance artist who had really seemed to exemplify what the reading suggested.

From attending Robinson’s lecture, I learnt many things about using creativity in a career; such as the fact that problems always arise in some form or another, regardless if you work with the people you hate or love. There will always be a difference in each of our aims in life, in Robinson’s case, their art group depended on each to have the same mentality and involvement but as one becomes more concerned with work and less interested in the creative lifestyle, the group falls apart and each goes their own way. This leads to another point that the creative mind is not always heavily rewarded financially.

In one of this week’s readings, the statistics show that artists were generally low-income earners, with approximately half of the surveyed creative workers earning less that $7300 in the financial year of 2000-2001 (Bott, 2003). If this didn’t ruin your perception of the glamorous artist life already; it was found that over the previous 15 years that the survey had been conducted, the overall financial disadvantage in comparison to other careers had seemed to be worsening, this seems to explain the fact that a majority of creative workers have jobs in other disciplines; the need for funding a project usually requires an outside source of income, mainly being that it takes money to make money. If we take for example St Helen’s ‘Dream’ sculpture which cost £1.88 million to construct, a structure that stands at 60 feet and is made of a pre-cast concrete and spanish dolomite aggregate (apparently the whitest marble available), we see that it takes quite alot of money to construct such an artwork (Gavaghan, 2009), if we direct our attention to where most of the money was distributed, which is centred around actually building the sculpture, it becomes interesting to find that it would be more financially advantageous to be a construction worker rather than a designer as the contruction business is constantly in demand, as is apparent in this ‘Dream’ scuplture where an estimated 6160 hours of man-made construction occured (“Drea-St. Helens: Dream Facts & Figures,” n.d.), the creative minds that designed this artwork may get paid more than the average construction worker, but opportunities like this do not always come frequently; the design career is unusual and many things happen unexpectedly, which may make it interesting but also leaves it as a constant struggle to find an opportunity to work (Throsby & Hollister, 2003) and also in most cases there is an inequality in the amount of money put into the work in reference to the financial return (Fly, 2011, April 30), thus becoming an established professional in the creative discipline must involve a certain degree of mental strength as there will always be elements that dissuade.

Money is not the only factor that restricts an artist to a non-creative career, although it is a major part and can be linked to other elements such as food & shelter which cost money. There are many decisions we have to make and we are constantly influenced by outside sources; it is interesting to find that the second restraint of a creative career is the factor of time (Throsby & Hollister, 2003). We are constantly reminded that we have to be somewhere, that there is not enough time, that you need the services of fast food: it seems to me that the modern world we live in now is governed by the idea of immediate satisfaction, you need the job to be done now, you need a coffee to keep your energy going throughout the night, your life becomes a constant strive to finish the next challenge. It is difficult to keep up with the idea of time, and it may dissuade you away from your chosen creative path, but time will always be something that has been decided: while life on the other hand, is something that will always be your decision.

References:

Bott, J. (2003). Commentary on Dont give up your day job. Retrieved from http://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/ __data/assets/pdf_file/0019/32518/ commentary.pdf

Dream Facts & Figures. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dreamsthelens.com/site.do?id=1021

Fly, T. (2011, April 30). The true cost of creating art [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://taraflyart.com/2011/04/the-true-cost-of-creating-art/

Gavaghan, J. (2009). Huge folly or amazing work of art? Giant 60ft head costing taxpayers £2m nears completion. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1172147/Huge-folly-amazing-work-art-Giant-60ft-head-costing-taxpayers-2m-nears-completion.html

Throsby, D. Hollister, V. (2003). Dont give up your day job : an economic study of professional artists in Australia (pp. 33-36). Sydney: Australia Council.