Yuck ‘n Yum – 2013 Autumn Issue Launch

I headed towards the Yuck ‘n Yum launch at Generator Projects on Sunday thinking that I would sample just a little of the soup they had promised and quickly pick up the latest copy of the zine. However, Alexander Aitken invited us to join in with her I Lava Dundee performance by stepping onto an island and then starting to construct colourful new lands.

yuck n yum, dundee, 2013, generator projects

So I did. Alexander stated that initially the first three rules below were the most important:

  1. The ground is lava – DON’T TOUCH THE GROUND.
  2. To move forward cut your island on half, float it where you want to go.
  3. If you are standing – Mark make onto your island.

I started by standing still and subsequently having to doodle. Initially, my head was blank so I started drawing squares of different shapes and sizes – a little inspired by the paper islands surrounding me that were starting to change shape and size.

yuck n yum, dundee, 2013, generator projects

Then I decided to cut my island up and float it as advised – before stepping out onto new land. Continue reading “Yuck ‘n Yum – 2013 Autumn Issue Launch”

Linotype: The Film

I recently watched the Linotype documentary. This feature length was released in 2012 and is essentially a film about the linotype machine. In fact, the director and producer Doug Wilson did a great job of ensuring this film was also very much about the fascinating stories of the people who know how to work this machine – the operators.

It was an education for me. The Linotype was called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, it revolutionised printing and society. However, I didn’t really know what the linotype was before I watched the film, but by the end of the film I wanted to own one!

Just brilliant and I would encourage all designers to watch it. It gave a real insight into the history, the craft and the beauty of the linotyping machine.

I think watching it re-affirmed a few things for me:

  1. It is important to collect the stories of people and things. To be able to ensure that items that had/have a massive impact on the way the world works don’t disappear from history without a reasonable record of how they existed. BUT it is important to do this in a captivating way, that excites people about the past and doesn’t bore.

  2. Some people have incredible minds. Minds that can create incredible things. This film made me wonder in awe at the brilliance of the brains and engineers that created these incredible machines – that mechanically look like one of the most complicated machines ever.

  3. You have to believe in your ideas. It took the inventor, the German clockmaker Ottmar Mergenthaler, 10 years of extremely hard work and a number of attempts to build a linotype machine that worked. However, it revolutionised the printing industry. Not only that, but it went on to change the literacy rates in America and change the way that people consumed information forever.

I think the most poignant scene for me was near the end. When the owner of a linotype machine, Joel, who had been a linotyper had to get rid of his machine. After failing to find a museum who wanted to house it or anyone else to take it in – he had to take it to the scrap yard. So Joel stands in front talking about the machine, whilst the brutal force of the bulldozer crunches this beautifully crafted machine in to lots of little bits behind him, until it no longer resembles the brilliance that it once was. All the importance of the machine that is built up over the course of the film, all the value of these machines is crushed before you – as their value in current day is more easily found by the mass weight of their scrap metal. Somehow you have to laugh at this scene, otherwise I think it might make you cry.

Today, very few machines are still in existence. As I write this on a computer, in Google Drive no less, I am all too aware of the reasoning behind this loss in value. The speed at which technology (and our consumption of it) is moving at such a pace – it is often incredibly hard to keep up. Let alone, to take the time to reminisce in the craft of these machines.

However, there is some incredible beauty in the industrial heaviness of these Linotype printers and the skill it took for the people to power them. People who didn’t master how to use the machines until they had worked with them for years and years. It is an impressive kind of dedication.

Farewell etaoin shrdlu

+ Linotype: The Film

PARKing Day in Dundee 2013

Can a parking space in a city really only be used by a car? A good question to consider. If you pay the parking meter – can you just take over the space?

In San Francisco in 2005 Rebar Studio set up a single parking space as a park for a day. This has now evolved into a global movement – PARK(ing) Day – where thousands of artists, activists, designers and citizens temporarily transform city parking spaces to show how ordinary public spaces can easily be re-imagined. On the 20th September 2013 Dundee joined a host of cities worldwide in a celebration of the city space, when students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design designed a number of installations for PARK(ing) Day. So carry on reading to explore the fun areas that popped up in Dundee.

Parking day, dundee, 2013, scotland, city, spaces, design,

Play Don’t Park crafted a space for people to play! Their motivational signage ‘PLAY’ was salvaged from a recently closed swimming pool and their installation of play cubes were covered in colourful doodles & drawings from the days visitors. Continue reading “PARKing Day in Dundee 2013”

Interview – Gary Hustwit

Earlier this year I completed an interview for Port Magazine with Gary Hustwit, an independent filmmaker who produced and directed what has become known as the Design Trilogy films. Gary spoke to me about how Helvetica (2007), Objectified (2009) and Urbanized (2011) enabled him to meet his heroes, and how crowd-funding helped to complete the project. You can read the full interview over on Port Magazine. It is worth a read – he really is a fascinating guy.

This quick writing project highlighted to me the need for us all to ask more questions, to reach out to different communities, engage with the city environment and make art and design accessible to all. The film that struck me the most in the trilogy was Urbanized; it highlights so many things that can be planned into cities, which have the potential to make a huge impact on the way people live. So I would urge you to watch it – you can start with the trailer below.

The Urbanized papercut image above was an image I created for day 16 of a Fun a Day project to reflect having completed the interview with Gary that day. Continue reading “Interview – Gary Hustwit”

Inside The Studio – Lara Scouller

I am fascinated by what drives creativity in people – artists, designers, makers, bakers, musicians, writers – anyone really. So I recently volunteered to write some ‘Inside The Studio’ features for the Creative Dundee blog. These will feature photography and short interviews within the working spaces of creative people in Dundee.  I hope that in addition to these interviews being featured as articles on the Creative Dundee blog, they will also contribute to a further personal research project exploring creative working spaces.

Creative Dundee, Lara Scouller, Inside the Studio, Dundee, 2013, creative spaces,

I recently completed my first interview with fine artist Lara Scouller. Lara has recently won The Pastel Society UK Young Artist Award, just one of a number of awards collected since graduating in Fine Art from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2006. I loved getting to spend a little bit of time in Lara’s calm, sunny studio space whilst we asked a few questions about her work, her studio and her life in Dundee.  Continue reading “Inside The Studio – Lara Scouller”

Tin Roof Social Club

A social club for artists appeared in Dundee for 4 short days in August 2013; the Tin Roof Social Club was a great little space that was housed within the gallery space of the Tin Roof Arts Collective. This art installation functioned as a working social club with drinks, daily newspapers, snacks for daytime visitors, a fully licensed bar and games competitions. A social club often has a distinctive look, and although this one housed some of the normal features like a darts board and a pool table – the windowless gallery felt surprisingly bright and welcoming with its bright white walls and shiny tin foil signage.

tin roof, social club, dundee, 2013, impact 8, art, social club

The social club was hosted by the ‘landlord’ Fraser Mcdonald and ‘landlady’ Catrin Jeans, ( the local artists who conceived of the project) and they made every guest feel very welcome – being particularly pro-active at offering drinks to thirsty artists (and their friends) that came to visit. I managed to pop in on the Saturday and Sunday night and on Sunday I took part in their darts and pool competition. It was a great lesson for me – one where I learned that I was particularly bad at darts! Whilst all the competitors slowly worked their way up the numbers – I progressed painfully slowly. On each shot I hoped that the three darts that I threw would magically hit the spot I intended them too. But more often than not, they would be nowhere near. Continue reading “Tin Roof Social Club”

Henningham Family – Chip Shop Press

I was lucky to be able to satisfy my hunger for a little bit of art and printing by visiting the Chip Shop Press during Print Festival Scotland. They were offering up a unique menu of delicious words, freshly printed and at a great takeaway price – such a treat for a Thursday night. The Chip Shop Press is the brainchild of the Henningham Family Press, otherwise known as the artistic duo of David and Ping Henningham. They are both Artists and Authors who are curious about every aspect of writing, printing and publishing.

Henningham Family Press – Chip Shop Press

They visited Dundee recently and set up shop in Dundee Contemporary Arts to feed the hungry print making delegates visiting the Impact 8 conference. They fed them with words, ink, chipboard and witty conversations. Set-up in front of the brilliant Sister Corita Kent exhibition, and surrounded by printmaking professionals and academics; they got to work and made a number of very simple screen prints onto chipboard, based on the words suggested by the bustling queue of people that was forming. Continue reading “Henningham Family – Chip Shop Press”