design number 37

Just another KCAI Blogs weblog

i should have been a good many of things

tshell @ April 16, 2009

I was having a terrible day last Wednesday. Then I met with M. Kidwell for a process review of my book cover designs and he said something that made my day. Your books are so full of meaning, it makes me sick; normally you would punch somebody in the face for a statement like that, but I knew it was laced with love.

My feelings would best be expressed by the words of Jo March in the book Little Women when she stated, I should have been a good many of things. One of the good many of things I should have been is, a dancer. (For Pete’s sake, I can jump as high as a deer). Gymnastics was my passion for many years; I meant for it to spill into dance, but never made the move. I suppose that is the best segway I can think of at the moment; the subject of my books are, dance.

My images are vintage, yet The Complete Book text suggests a thorough look at past and present. I added a san serif font to allude to the modern as well.

To establish cohesion with the book designs, I added an image of the dancer in action as well as a symbol to thicken the meaning of the initial read.

From my perspective, tapp is a fast moving dance style. In the bottom right area of my book cover, I placed a dancer with a motion blur trailing behind. The symbol is bellowing smoke following his path.

Since Modern dance exudes freedom, the symbol I chose is a bird escaping from a cage.

For my Jazz cover, I duplicated and blurred the leg behind the title to suggest a kick in action. The secret symbol is glitter and sequence.

Lastly, for Ballet, a very strange headless dancer exists in the background; I placed a motion blur beneath her to exaggerate a ridiculous leap. Symbols include birds flying around her.

KCAI Graphic Design group visits Minneapolis

tshell @ March 31, 2009

Over spring break, I joined a group of KCAI graphic design and AIGA enthusiasts; we visited the chilly and lovely city of Minneapolis. Everyone piled into four cars at the violent hour of 5:45am on a Monday.

On the first day, just a few hours after our arrival, we visited Larsen. I especially enjoyed the moment when a woman and a friendly cocker-spaniel walked in the door. We have an open dog policy, our guide, Heather Olson, let us know. Apart from the fur, the atmosphere was professional. People were quietly working in cubicles. Larsen specializes in print, web-based media and some industrial design; among their clients are, Buffalo Wild Wings, Wausau Paper and Best Buy.

Day two: A cold walk to the Minneapolis School of Art and Design (MCAD).

At MCAD the studios for all fine art disciplines were contained within one building. We walked in the door to experience a multi-disciplinary exhibit.

Occasionally, I enjoy photographing myself, reacting to art. Deer in the headlights is my specialty. (above)

We brought work to show and experienced a critique with a Junior level Typography class.

Above, is the paper airplane graveyard, located on the ceiling of the design studio space. The dust collection was not unlike our occasionally neglected filters in the spray booth.

Robb dressed in neutral colors that day in order to coordinate with this environment and assure my success when the above moment arose.

(Day 2 ended with a glorious trip to the Walker Art Center. I was sans camera and felt naked. Members of the in-house design staff gave us an informal presentation on some of their projects. A tiny design team of five is responsible for all printed materials for the Museum, including exhibition catalogues and promotional campaigns. They do not sleep. Severely competitive one-year internships are offered for recent graduates.)

Day 3: After eating blueberry pancakes (two days in a row) at a local diner where everyone on staff is required to have tattoo sleeves, we regroup.

We began the day with a walk to Guthrie Theater. Although the sky was clear, the hallway-like environment of surrounding buildings prevented the sun from softening the chill.

An enamoring view of the Mississippi river can be experienced on the balcony of the Guthrie.

Our next journey occurred a few blocks away at the design firm, Duffy & Partners. Suspense was intensified during an awkward and silent elevator ride to the sixth floor. (above)

Duffy’s atmosphere included a spacious, modern interior with tall ceilings, exposed stone, and giant windows overlooking the Mississippi. Soothing, yet energizing music played over the speakers. Also, everyone was good-looking.

Duffy specializes in developing identities; we also viewed some industrial design pieces. Among their clients are Fresca, American Eagle, Aveda Men and Thymes.

The lecturer at Duffy talked about the evolution of a brand. According to their process, identities are inspired by the initial research contained by mood boards. The colors, style, connotations of mood board images should all represent the potential identity in some manner. During this presentation we all glanced at our instuctor, Jamie Gray, (who teaches the very same principles) and wondered about a possible conspiracy.

(Following the lecture, some of us ate at a superb Thai restaurant in the city. The spice was fierce and people were sniffling. On the way out, I grabbed a fortune cookie, such suspense contained in a tiny treat, you will met someone special at a social event.)

And now for a visit to the coolest place in the nation: (objectivity is not necessary in an editorial) Aesthetic Apparatus. These guys are on my list of the most talented and clever people on earth. The atmosphere was so comfortable and unpretentious; this is the type of environment where you could walk in with bed head and no one would like you any less.

The mantra of Aesthetic Apparatus creators Dan Ibarra and Michael Byzewski, is simple: Do what you love. Don’t do it for the money. Part of their marketing scheme is to stay up late, listening to music and drinking beer, while printing limited-addition screen prints for bands. This company of three has such a high national and international following, the posters usually sell.

A moose costume is memorialized in the printing room. At a print convention, one of their friend’s danced infront of the Aesthetic Apparatus booth while wearing this costume.

Our last adventure occurred at the letterpress shop, Studio on Fire.

Founder, Ben Levitz demonstrated the original process with hand set type (above), as well as the slightly more recent process of creating plates from exposing film separations (below).

Levitz also talked about the tactile quality that embodies letterpress design and how quality should be a consideration when chosing a printer, rather than cost alone.

I happened upon this label taped to one of the presses. (Cookie fortunes are always powerful indicators of success.)

Alvin Lustig, A Modern Perspective

tshell @ March 24, 2009

Alvin Lustig lived from 1915 to 1955. During his highschool years, a teacher introduced him to the concept of Modern art. Lustig was amazed and began to experiment with design, rather than yield to tradition. Some of his artistic endeavors included books, magazines, record albums, ads, commercial catalogs, annual reports, architecture, interiors, industrial designs, and textiles. Lustig believed good design should be applied to all aspects of life. Since he actually read the books he designed for, I feel Alvin Lustig was a passionate designer. I easily connect with his view.

If Lustig were to deliver a lecture on our campus, I believe he might appreciate these designs. I chose to focus on his architecture and textile background. He experimented with photomontage and also demonstrated a knowledge of color theory through his display of amazing color schemes.

These are a few of my potential poster designs:
(When I happened upon a few lovely textiles in Vanderslice Hall, a bell when off in my mind, Lustig designed textiles, I looked around to make sure no one else heard.)

original exercises of grid structures within type: the enlarged exercise was my favorite. I employed it in the above designs.

you’d never guess I grew up baptist

tshell @ March 12, 2009

Last semester I added mannequins to three of my photographs for a munsell color theory study:

I was attempting to add humor and a little narrative to the photos. The surprise (to me) was the level of sensuality that occurred.

And so, the mannequins have returned for the seven deadly sins project. The following are spreads from the book: (in order) lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride.

The colophon reads as follows:
All photographs were created in the artist’s living room in Kansas City, Missouri with: her favorite couch, Julie’s mannequin, random borrowed heads and limbs from ATC and color pieces of mat board duct-taped to the wall. Her dog did, in fact, attempt to eat a cupcake. He did not succeed. Additionally, all photographs of Tammy Shell were taken by Tammy Shell.

No actual sinning took place during the production of this book, although, I now have a date next Tuesday.

three stops, first friday

tshell @ March 7, 2009

yesterday at the First Friday gallery walk. . .

on 18th and Wyandotte, I happened upon a printmaking show. Amazing prints were being sold for ridiculously, low prices. Abby Gallagher (of the design department and a member of print club) could be heard over any chatting in the gallery, persuading the hoards to buy a print. Prints were everywhere, some were even sold fresh off the press; Abby seemed to enjoy attempting to sell the wet ones.

Ben Jones, a recent KCAI graduate (and former roommate of my roommate), was demonstrating the process with one of his designs.

the result:

I decided to visit another show at the Midwestern Musical Company, on 19th and Locust.

At this show, a local musician (and friend of mine), Kasey Rausch was playing. Can anyone really resist a folk/country/bluegrass band with a girl from Texas, who tells amazing stories through song and naturally uses the terms like “gal” and “y’all”?

My (Papersource) friends, Allison and Poss met me at this show. The place was packed with people; we were in need of a little fresh air.

Next I ventured to the Mojo Gallery on 19th and Baltimore. My friend, (and sculpture alumna ‘03) Becky Buznedo was showing paintings.

Her process included creating wire and paper maché masks, photographing them on a model, painting on square pieces of tin siding and coating the final composition with a glossy resin.


For me, the First Friday gallery walk consists of running in to everyone I love. . . all in one evening.

sinning in broad daylight

tshell @ February 27, 2009

The Seven Deadly Sins photo project (still in progress) is a reminder of my first semester in the photo department at KCAI. I explored alter egos, all the while worshiping the work of contemporary artists, such as Cindy Sherman and Nan Golden.

(This is my second semester in the lair of the graphic design department and photography is thus far a significant part of the curriculum as clear image communication is essential to successful design).

walking with my girl: the goal of this project is to communicate each of the seven deadly sins with one image per sin. To ensure unification of the set, I created a rule set for the photos: me, this mannequin, a costume change (except the one time I forgot), sometimes random people and sometimes random mannequins.

(clockwise: from the top left): gluttony, pride, wrath and sloth

my process for attempting to communicate the animal instinct of lust included raw meat; I have been looking at work by David Lachapelle, lately. (Sometimes you can risk your life for a photo and end up with nothing.) I have chosen the one on the left. (above)

The rush of energy that floods my body before, during and after taking a photo is ridiculous. Although shyness and awkwardness are my vices in real life, when I have a photo in mind, my inner ruthlessness takes over.

at heart, a gentleman.

tshell @ February 24, 2009

This project involved an investigation of the semiotics of a person whom I admire.

Marlene Dietrich was a dangerous woman known for following through with her passions. She tested gender rolls while romancing the masses; also during WWII, she fiercely longed for Hitler to be defeated. In Berlin, the place of her birth, Dietrich achieved fame as a actress and cabaret dancer. In 1930, her fame exploded with the release of a movie titled, Morocco, where she played an androgyonous character who dressed in men’s clothing and referred to Gary Cooper as her girlfriend.

During WWII Dietrich became a U.S. citizen in response to her disgust with Hitler. She entertained U.S. troops and even joined the U.S. military. Upon being approached by Hitler’s associates to return to her country of origin, she declined. Her movies were then banned in Germany.

(above) I chose bedroom eyes, as a symbol of Marlene Dietrich, since she was a romantic who seduced the masses with a glance. The bed is laced with one of her quotes (that would make my conservative mother cringe), I am at heart a gentleman.

The WWII (montage within a montage) above on the right, is an index of her devotion during the war.

This is a picture from her 1930’s film, Morocco. I feel that the characters she played in these movies are not only icons but potential indexes of personalities she has once embodied.

things a homeless hitchhiker might have.

tshell @ February 21, 2009

For Visual Communications class, we are attempting to communicate two-word stories with only fundamental objects; my original two words were, homeless hitchhiker. Although, our class brainstormed some potential object ideas, we were individually able to guide the connotations of the story. To me, the idea of hitchhiking is leads to a romantic theme of adventure, rather then a lonely, street person, lacking means. I have decided to leave out the whiskey, axe and box (from the original list).

The next step for this story-telling project was to research and compile pictures of the objects. (This is the fun part.) I ventured to the library for books on nomads and maps, ran up to a homeless person and asked if I could take his picture, traded another homeless man a chocolate chip cookie for his money cup, scoured a few thrift stores for objects I could photograph and called my traveling friend, Rainbow, to set up a photo shoot. Below is a mood board (of sorts) of my photographs (although the dog, map and bus were acquired from the internet).

During the photo shoot, a gloriously, serendipitous moment on Main street. Sadly the bus did not pick Rainbow up.

We placed the photographs of the objects into book form as a reference for drawings to be made. Casting light to the theme of the story was also a goal for the reference book.

I chose a worn, leathery paper for the cover material and black, waxed thread to emphasize appearance of a hand-made, travel journal. Each page displays a background image of a map to also connote journey. The following are a few pages from the book.

This layout consists of thumb shots of my friend, the map background, a scene of her hitchhiking on Main st., as well as a excerpt about hitchhiking from one of her travel journals.

For the cigarette layout, I photographed a friend holding a rolled cigarette. Since a nomad is typically cautious with money, I thought this type of cigarette would give the appropriate connotations. Also, one of the cigarettes is screaming, “rebel”; the traveler is rebellious to the structure and normalcy of society.

For this layout, I recruited Rainbow holding the knife that she typically carries on her belt strap. The woods scene is to propose a hiking/camping theme, allowing the knife to represent more function than fear. I also added journal text about camping and hiking.

The process of gathering visual evidence has allowed me to learn more about a friend. (What could be better?) Her stories are enamoring. I am also becoming more and more tempted to pursue even a short experience of this lifestyle.

the semiotics of public sleeping

tshell @ February 16, 2009

For Image Making class we explored the semiotics. . . of ourselves. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behavior. Three modes we visually explored were index, icon and symbol; an index is fingerprint, an icon is an actual representation, and a symbol is a learned association.

my index illustrates a love for meditative activities… sitting, knitting, drawing, taking pictures, reading (books by two of my idols, phyllis moore and maria buszek), drinking tea and snuggling my cat.

an icon of me from a recent performance art series (fall 07), sleeping in public. Also a demonstration of my recurring experiences of being alone in a crowd.

a symbol to represent my adoration of delicate patterns.