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I didn’t decide to be creative when I entered college. It wasn’t something I just one day decided to pick up as a side hobby. Being creative has always been a natural feeling inside of me that. It’s a feeling of expression, wanting to do and learn more. Always having multiple perspectives and views on anything that crossed my path throughout my 20 years. Writing this essay I do feel a little boastful. Aren’t all people gifted with a need to explore, investigate and expand their knowledge like I am? Creativity gives me choices. I believe that there is a little bit of creativity burning inside the minds of each and every person; it’s the way that people apply it that wins the attention and affection from others. Creativity is a tool that helps me get through each day and has been there for me to turn to. Creativity to me is not only the way you can place things in InDesign, the filters you apply in Photoshop or the way the text is arranged on this page. It’s a way of life.

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spontaneous organic flowing wonderful interesting unique everlasting cool clever stimulating productive insightful enduring organic mesmerizing inspiring inventive innovative wishful imaginative eclectic personal driven opinionated passionate boggling blissful beautiful lovely nostalgic daring manipulative fresh successful expressive insightful unexpected adventurous peculiar stunning blissful pretty vivid pretentious pretend vivid weird lively significant fascinating dramatic exquisite subdued neat elegant charming discreet witty serious indulgent confident distinguished conservative candid ambitious admirable eccentric polished spastic collected crazy unrefined intimidating precious influential illustrious radical awesome indulgent saucy natural mystical sparkling fanciful brave delightful magnificent clean important alive gifted vast colorful coherent enchanted entertaining different excellent fearless necessary quirky sassy modest

“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas”-Donatella Versace

“To stifle creative expression is to bind and gag our souls”Curtis Verdun

“Curiosity about life in all of it’s aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people”-Leo Burnett

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creature of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary-Leo Burnett

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Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep on moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious... and curiousity keeps leadng us down new paths.” -Walt Disney

“When we allow ourselves to exist truly and fully, we sting the world with our vision and challenge it with our own ways of being.”-Thomas Moore

“I’m lucky to not have a real job, to be able to express myself, be creative and be relevant”Gwen Stefani

“Whatever creatvity is, it is in part a solution to a problem”-Brian Aldiss

“The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them”-Mark Twain

: 100:010:001 Poster

“I am tapping into a place in you that is unexplored, and very dangerous, but I think essential to the creative life of an artist”- Brandon Boyd

Creativity


CLOSER THAN EVER Directed By: Jeromy Hunt November 7-15 2010 7 p.m. Studio 49 Michigan State University Department of Theater

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Michigan State Department of Theatre “Closer Than Ever” Street Sign Banner

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T

he absence in art of a well-formulated and systematized body of literature makes the problem of teaching a perplexing one. The subject is further complicated

by the elusive and personal nature of art. Granted that a student’s ultimate success will depend largely on his natural talents, the problem still remains: how best to arouse his curiosity, hold his attention, and engage his creative faculties.

Through trial and error, I have found that the solution to this enigma rests, to a large extent, on two factors: the kind of problem chosen for study, and the way in which it is posed. I believe that if, in the statement of a problem, undue emphasis is placed on freedom and selfexpression, the result is apt to be an indifferent student and a meaningless solution. Conversely, a problem with defined limits, implied or stated disciplines which are, in turn, conducive to the instinct of play, will most likely yield an interested student and, very often, a meaningful and novel solution.

Of the two powerful instincts which exist in all human beings and which can be used in teaching, says Gilbert Highet, one is the love of play. ”The best Renaissance teachers, instead of beating their pupils, spurred them on by a number of appeals to the play-principle. They made games out of the chore of learning difficult subjects—Montaigne’s father, for instance, started him in Greek by writing the letters and the easiest words on playing cards and inventing a game to play with them.”1)

cessful

Depending on the nature of the problem, some or all of the psychological and intellectual factors implicit in game-playing are equally implicit in suc

THOUGHTS ON DESIGN DESIGN AND THE PLAY INSTINCT BY: PAUL RAND

Paul Rand: Thoughts on Design Layout Design

motivation competition challenge stimulus goal promise anticipation interest curiosity skill observation analysis perception judgment improvisation coordination timing concentration abstraction discretion discrimination economy patience restraint exploitation excitement enjoyment discovery reward fulfillment

Without the basic rules or disciplines, however, there is no motivation, test of skill, or ultimate reward—in short, no game. The rules are the means to the end, the conditions the player must understand thoroughly, and work with, in order to participate. For the student, the limits of a well-stated problem operate in much the same way. “Limited means,” says Braque, “beget new forms, invite creation, make the style. Progress in art does not lie in extending its limits, but in knowing them better.”2)

Unfortunately, in some of our schools little attempt is made to guide the student’s thinking in a logical progression from basic design to applied design. We are all familiar with the so-called practical problems which attempt to duplicate the conditions of industry-the atmosphere of the advertising agency, for example. Such problems are frequently stated in the broadest terms with emphasis, if any, on style and technique in advertising, rather than on interpreting advertising in terms of visual design principles.

Without specific formal limitations, without the challenging possibilities of introducing the element of play, both teacher and student cannot help but be bored. The product may take the form of a superficial (but sometimes “professional looking”) literal translation of the problem, or of a meaningless abstract pattern or shape, which, incidentally, may be justified with enthusiasm but often with specious reasoning.

Similarly, there are badly stated problems in basic design, stressing pure aesthetics, free expression, without any restraints or practical goals. Such a problem may be posed in this fashion: arrange a group of geometric shapes in any manner you see fit, using any number of colors, to make a pleasing pattern. The results of such vagaries are sometimes pretty, but mostly meaningless or monotonous. The student has the illusion of creating great art in an atmosphere of freedom, when in fact he is handicapped by the absence of certain disciplines which would evoke ideas, make playing with those ideas possible, work absorbing, and results interesting. The basic design problem, properly stated, is an effective vehicle for teaching the possibilities of relationships: harmony, order, proportion, number, measure, rhythm, symmetry, contrast, color, texture, space. It is an equally effective means for

exploring the use of unorthodox materials and for learning to work

within specific limitations.


This character for the word “tan” (sunrise) is designed within an imaginary grid. Geometry functions here in a manner similar to the previous illustration, namely as a guide to filling the space correctly,

Here is a simple grid system for a booklet. Devising such

but not to produce a geometric pattern.

a grid involves two creative acts: developing the pattern that is suitable for the given material and arranging this

To insure that theoretical study does not end in a vacuum, practical applications of the basic principles gleaned from this exercise should be undertaken at the proper time (they may involve typography, photography, page layout, displays, symbols, etc.). The student learns to conceptualize, to associate, to make analogies; to see a sphere, for example, transformed into an orange, or a button into a letter, or a group of letters into a broad picture. “The pupils,” says Alfred North Whitehead, “have got to be made to feel they are studying something, and are not merely executing intellectual minuets.”3) If possible, teaching should alternate between theoretical and practical problems-and between those with tightly stated “rules” imposed by the teacher and those with rules implied by the problem itself. But this can happen only after the student has been taught basic disciplines and their application. He then is able to invent his own system for “playing the game”. “A mind so disciplined should be both more abstract and more concrete. It has been trained in the comprehension of abstract thought and in the analysis of facts.”4)

create There are many ways in which the play-principle serves as a base for serious problem-solving, some of which are discussed here. These examples indicate, I believe, the nature of certain disciplines and may suggest the kind of problems which will be useful to the student as well as to the teacher of design. image The crossword puzzle is a variation on the acrostic, a word game that has been around since Roman times. There have been many reasons given for the popularity of the game. One is that it fulfills the human urge to solve the unknown, another that it is orderly, a third that it represents, according to the puzzle editor of the New York Times, “a mental stimulation… and exercise in spelling and vocabulary-building”.5) But the play in such a game is limited to finding the exact word to fit a specific number of squares in a vertical and horizontal pattern. It allows for little imagination and no invention or aesthetic judgment, qualities to be found in abundance, for example, in the simple children’s game, the Tangram. The Tangram is an ingenious little Chinese toy in which a square is divided into this configuration. It consists of seven pieces, called “tans”: five triangles, one square, and one rhombus. The rules are quite simple: rearrange to make any kind of figure or pattern. Here above is one possibility. Many design problems can be posed with this game in mind, the main principle to be learned being that of economy of means-making the most of the least. Further, the game helps to sharpen the powers of observation through the discovery of resemblances between geometric and natural forms. It helps the student to abstract: to see a triangle, for example, as a face, a tree, an eye, a nose, depending on the context in which the pieces are arranged. Such observation is essential in the study of visual symbols. This drawing is reproduced from the first volume of Hokusai’s Rapid Lessons in Abbreviated Drawing (Riakougwa Hayashinan, 1812). In the book Hokusai shows how he uses geometric

Paul Rand: Thoughts on Design Layout Design

The Chinese character is always written in an imaginary square.

material within the pattern. In a sense, the creative ability

The ninefold square, invented by an anonymous writer of the T’ang

required for the former is no less than that for the lat-

dynasty, has been employed as the most useful, because it prevents

ter, because the making of the grid necessitates analyzing

rigid symmetry and helps to achieve balanced asymmetry.6) At

simultaneously all the elements involved. But once it is

the same time it makes the writer aware of negative and positive

evolved, the designer is free to play to his heart’s content:

spaces. Each part of the character touches one of the nine squares,

with pictures, type, paper, ink, color, and with texture, scale,

thus achieving harmony between the two elements and the whole.

size and contrast.

Within this rather simple discipline the calligrapher is able to play

The grid, then, is the discipline which frees him from the

with space, filling it as he feels would be most appropriate. The

time-consuming burden of making certain decisions (di-

composition of Chinese characters, says Chiang Yee, “is not gov-

mensions, proportions) without which fruitful and creative

erned by inviolable laws… however, there are general principles

work is extremely difficult. He can move directly to those

which cannot be ignored with impunity”.7)

aspects of the problem in which individual expression,

image The Modulor is a system based on a mathematical key. Taking

novel ideas, and freedom of choice are essential.

account of the human scale, it is a method of achieving harmony The grid system has as many detractors as it has adher-

and order in a given work. In his book, The Modulor, Le

In comparison to most so-

ents. It has been condemned as stifling, rigid and cold.

Corbusier describes his inven-

calIed systems of proportion,

But this is to confuse the product with the process. The

tion as “a measuring tool (the

the Modulor is perhaps the

grid does not automatically insure an exciting product.

proportions) based on the hu-

least confining. The variations, as

The designer must still exercise all the experience at his

man body (6-foot man) and on

wilI be seen from this ilIustra-

command, discretion, timing, and a sense of drama and

mathematics (the golden sec-

tion, are practicalIy inexhaust-

sequence. In brief, the intelligent designer will recognize

tion). A man-with-arm-upraised

ible (and this example utilizes

that the grid can help him achieve harmony and order, but

provides, at the determining

only a very limited number of

also that it may, when and if necessary, be abandoned.

points of his occupation of

possibilities). If, however, the

In addition to those already discussed, variations of the

space-foot, solar plexus, head,

system presents any difficulties

geometric plan are to be found, among other places, in

tips of fingers of the upraised

which happen to go counter

Japanese architecture, modern painting, and in Byzantine

arm-three intervals which

to one’s intuitive judgment, Le

masons’ marks, such as the seal at left. This seal “employs a

give rise to a series of golden

Corbusier himself provides the

mathematical key as its design basis. The thick lines repre-

sections, called the Fibonacci

answer: “I still reserve the right

sent the mark, the thin lines represent the ground lattice

series.”8) (1, 1, 2,3,5,8, 13, etc.)

at any time to doubt the solu-

which allows an infinite number of combinations.”12) The

(Italics are mine.)

tions furnished by the Modulor,

geometric scheme is the discipline in which the designer

keeping intact my freedom

works. Designs stemming from such a scheme are limited

The Modulor is a discipline

which must depend solely on

only by his imagination.

which offers endless variations

my feelings rather than on my

and opportunities for play.

reason.”11)

Le Corbusier’s awareness of

Like the architect’s plan, the

these potentialities is evident

grid system employed by the

from the numerous references

graphic designer provides for

to the game and play in his

an orderly and harmonious

book, such as: “AlI this work on

distribution of miscellaneous

proportioning and measures

graphic material. It is a system

is the outcome of a passion,

of proportions based on a

disinterested and detached, an

module, the standard of which

exercise, a game.”9) Further, he

is derived from the material

goes on to say, “for if you want

itself. It is a discipline imposed

to play modular…”10)

by the designer.

re

o expl


inven

t

There are disciplines other than those based on geometry, among them availability of materials, reproduction pro cesses, mechanical limitations, economic considerations, legal requirements, time factors, physical handicaps. Some of these are self-imposed, others are involuntary, but in the hands of the artist each may contribute to, rather than detract from, the end product. It is inconceivable to consider Matisse’s compositions with cut paper without, in some way,

The de Stijl movement, founded in 1917, had a profound influence on painting, architecture, and typography. Piet Zwart, the designer responsible for this advertisement for the Dutch firm Nederlansche Kabelfabriek, was associated with this group.

linking them to the play element—the joy of working with simple colors and the fun of “cutting paper dolls”. But the greatest satisfaction, perhaps, is derived from creating a work

The disciplines which de Stijl encouraged—functional use of material and meaningful form, and

of art with ordinary scissors and some colored paper—with so simple means, such satisfy-

the restrained use of color (black and/or primary colors)—are evident in this design. With a few

ing ends.

simple typographic elements and an ingenious play on the letter “O”, a humorous, yet significant design was evolved. A picture is created by typographic means: a few type characters and type

Similarly, the early Cubist collages, in which cut paper played an important part, are products of strict rules, limited materials: newspaper mounted on a surface, with the addition of a few

rules are so manipulated as to make a useful product, an advertisement. Many examples of this artist’s work reveal this same playful approach and are worthy of serious study.

charcoal or pencil lines, usually in black and white and sometimes with tan or brown or similarly muted colors. These elements were juggled until they satisfied the artist’s eye. The playfulness and humor in the production of some of these compositions in no way detracts from the end result—a serious work of art.

The

kind of grid employed by Japanese architects in their traditional houses

combines the virtues of determining the size of various rooms in the house, floors, walls, furniture, etc., and creating the style and appearance of the house. The Tatami, a straw mat approximately 3 by 6 feet and 2 inches thick, is the module or standard from which the plan of the house grows. Edward S. Morse, in his book, Japanese Homes, describes the mat system as follows: “The architect invariably plans his rooms to accommodate a certain number of mats; and since these mats have a definite size, any indication on the plan of the number of mats a room is to contain gives at once its dimensions also. The mats are laid in the following

This monochrome, Persimmons, by Mu Ch’i, a thirteenth century Zen priest and painter, is a splendid example of a painting in which the artist plays with contrasts (the male and female principle in Chinese and Japanese painting): rough and smooth, empty and full, one and many, line and mass, black and white, tint and shade, up and down. It is a study in the metamorphosis of a fruit, as well as of a painting. (The artist, incidentally, never used any color but black.)

The earth colors of Africa, the ice of the polar regions, the bamboo of Japan, are among the many

numbers: two, three, four-andone-half, six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, and so on.”13) This illustration shows the “plan” of a four and-one-half mat room. Once the outer dimensions of the house are determined, the mats, together with the Japanese system of sliding doors, give complete flexibility in the arrangement and number of rooms. A perfect example of form and

“The student learns to conceptualize, to associate, to make analogies; to see a sphere, for example, transformed into an orange, or a button...”

The reader may find a parallel, at least in spirit, between this

challenging materials with which artists and artisans create their idols, their utensils, and their

painting and the preceding one by Picasso. Both employ a

houses—all natural limitations which provide their own built-in disciplines which, in turn, contribute

single color, and exploit this limitation to achieve as much

to the creative solution.

variety as possible, and both undoubtedly were painted very

function, of discipline and play.

rapidly, a condition often conducive to utmost simplification

Some years ago in Kyoto I was fortunate enough to witness a young Japanese craftsman make

and improvisation.

the “chasen” you see here. It is a whisk used in the tea ceremony and is cut from a single piece of bamboo with a simple tool resembling a penknife. Both the material and manufacturing process

image In modern times artists like Man Ray and MoholyNagy,

(about one-half hour) are the quintessence of discipline, simplicity and restraint. The invention of

One cannot underestimate the importance of restraint and playfulness in almost any phase of

working with the most limited photographic means, the

such an article could not possibly have been achieved by anyone lacking the ability to improvise

Picasso’s work. Here, for example, one sees a restrained use of the brush and one flat color.

photogram, created highly significant pictures. This technique

and the patience to play with a specific

The drawing of the child’s face, the ornament and the lettering are all one. Lettering is not

offers the artist ample opportunity to play with light and a

used as a complement to the drawing, but as an integral part of the drawing. It serves as both

great variety of materials, opaque, translucent, and transparent,

It has not been the purpose of this discussion to provide a glossary of disciplines or recipes, but

a garland and a verbal image—a visual pun. What emerges is a kind of game itself, revealing the

to produce, very rapidly, rich and unexpected effects.

merely to indicate the virtue of the challenge implicit in discipline. “I demand of art”, says Le Corbusier, “the role of the challenger… of play and interplay, play being the very manifestation of

ingenuity and playfulness of the artist, his ability to deal with problems in the simplest, most

the spirit.”14)

direct, and meaningful manner. The photogram, at the left, made by the writer some years Similarly, this ability to do much with little—to find a bull’s head in a bicycle seat and handle

ago, shows how simply one is able to capture movement and

bars—is another aspect of Picasso’s wizardry, his humor, his childlike spontaneity, his skill as a

achieve interesting tonal effects. Because the technique itself

punster and ability to improvise and invent with limited, often surprising means.

dictates a certain degree of speed the time factor becomes an additional discipline, which acts as a creative stimulus.

play

Paul Rand: Thoughts on Design Layout Design


T

he absence in art of a well-formulated and system-

atized body of literature makes the problem of teaching a perplexing one.The subject is further complicated by the elusive and personal nature of art.Granted that a student’s ultimate success will depend largely on his natural talents, the problem still remains:how best to arouse his curiosity, hold his attention,and engage his creative faculties.

Through trial and error,I have found that the solution to this

* motivation

enigma rests,to a large extent,on two factors:the kind of

* competition

problem chosen for study, and the way in which it is posed. I believe that if,in the statement of a problem,undue em-

* challenge

phasis is placed on freedom and selfexpression,the result is

* stimulus

apt to be an indifferent student and a meaningless solution.

* goal

Conversely,a problem with defined limits, implied or stated disciplines which are,in turn, conducive to the instinct of

* promise

play,will most likely yield an interested student and,very often,

* anticipation

a meaningful and novel solution.

* interest * curiosity

Of the two powerful instincts which exist in all human beings

* skill

and which can be used in teaching,says Gilbert Highet,one

* observation

is the love of play.” The best Renaissance teachers,instead of beating their pupils,spurred them on by a number of ap-

* analysis

peals to the play-principle. They made games out of the

* perception

chore of learning difficult subjects—Montaigne’s father,for

* judgment

instance,started him in Greek by writing the letters and the easiest words on playing cards and inventing a game to

* improvisation

play with them. ”1)

* coordination * timing

Depending on the nature of the problem,some or all of

Thoughts On Design Design and the Play Instinct by Paul Rand

* concentration

the psychological and intellectual factors implicit in game-

* abstraction

playing are equally implicit in successful problem-solving:

* discretion * discrimination * economy * patience * restraint * exploitation * excitement


Without the basic rules or disciplines,however,there is no motivation,test of skill,or ultimate reward—in short,no game.The rules are the means to the end,the conditions the player must understand thoroughly,and work with,in order to participate.For the student,the limits of a well-stated problem operate in much the same way.“Limited means, ”says Braque,“beget new forms,invite creation,make the style.Progress in art does not lie in extending its limits,but in knowing them better ”2) . Unfortunately,in some of our schools little attempt is made to guide the student’s thinking in a logical progression from basic design to applied design.We are all familiar with the so-called practical problems which attempt to duplicate the conditions of industry-the atmosphere of the advertising agency,for example.Such problems are frequently stated in the broadest terms with emphasis,if any, v If possible,teaching should alternate between theo-

v Here above is one possibility.Many design problems

retical and practical problems-and between those

can be posed with this game in mind,the main prin-

with tightly stated“rules”imposed by the teacher and

ciple to be learned being that of economy of means-

those with rules implied by the problem itself.But this

making the most of the least.Further,the game helps to

Without specific formal limitations,without the challenging possibilities of introducing the element

can happen only after the student has been taught

sharpen the powers of observation through the discov-

of play,both teacher and student cannot help but be bored.The product may take the form of a

basic disciplines and their application.He then is able

ery of resemblances between geometric and natural

superficial (but sometimes“professional looking”) literal translation of the problem,or of a meaning-

to invent his own system for“playing the game”.“A mind

forms.It helps the student to abstract:to see a triangle,

less abstract pattern or shape,which,incidentally,may be justified with enthusiasm but often with

so disciplined should be both more abstract and more

for example,as a face,a tree,an eye,a nose,depending

specious reasoning.

concrete.It has been trained in the comprehension of

on the context in which the pieces are arranged.Such

abstract thought and in the analysis of facts. ”4)

observation is essential in the study of visual symbols.

There are many ways in which the play-principle serves

This drawing is reproduced from the first volume of Hoku-

as a base for serious problem-solving,some of which

sai’s Rapid Lessons in Abbreviated Drawing (Riakougwa

are discussed here.These examples indicate,I believe,

Hayashinan,1812).In the book Hokusai shows how he

the nature of certain disciplines and may suggest the

uses geometric shapes as a guide in drawing certain

kind of problems which will be useful to the student as

birds.This exercise may be compared to theTangram in

well as to the teacher of design.

that both use geometric means.TheTangram,however,

on style and technique in advertising,rather than on interpreting advertising in terms of visual design principles.

uses geometry as an end in itself to indicate or symbol-

Similarly,there are badly stated problems in basic design,stressing pure aesthetics,free expression, without any restraints or practical goals.Such a problem may be posed in this fashion:arrange a

The crossword puzzle is a variation on the acrostic,a

ize natural forms-whereas Hokusai uses it as a clue or

group of geometric shapes in any manner you see fit,using any number of colors,to make a pleas-

word game that has been around since Roman times.

guide to illustrate them.In the artist’s own words,his sys-

ing pattern.The results of such vagaries are sometimes pretty,but mostly meaningless or monotonous.

There have been many reasons given for the popular-

tem“concerns the manner of making designs with the

The student has the illusion of creating great art in an atmosphere of freedom,when in fact he is

ity of the game.One is that it fulfills the human urge to

aid of a ruler or compass,and those who work in this

handicapped by the absence of certain disciplines which would evoke ideas,make playing with

solve the unknown,another that it is orderly,a third that

manner will understand the proportion of things”.

those ideas possible,work absorbing,and results interesting.

it represents,according to the puzzle editor of the New YorkTimes,“a mental stimulation… and exercise in spell-

This character for the word“tan”(sunrise) is designed

ing and vocabulary-building”.5) But the play in such a

within an imaginary grid.Geometry functions here in a

The basic design problem,properly stated,is an effective vehicle for teaching the possibilities of rela-

game is limited to finding the exact word to fit a specific

manner similar to the previous illustration,namely as a

tionships:harmony,order,proportion,number,measure,rhythm,symmetry,contrast,color,texture,space.It

number of squares in a vertical and horizontal pattern.

guide to filling the space correctly,but not to produce a

is an equally effective means for exploring the use of unorthodox materials and for learning to work

It allows for little imagination and no invention or aes-

geometric pattern.

within specific limitations.

thetic judgment,qualities to be found in abundance,for example,in the simple children’s game,theTangram.

To insure that theoretical study does not end in a vacuum,practical applications of the basic principles gleaned from this exercise should be undertaken at the proper time (they may involve typography,photography,page layout,displays,symbols,etc.).The student learns to conceptualize,to associate,to make analogies;to see a sphere,for example,transformed into an orange,or a button into a letter,or a group of letters into a broad picture.“The pupils, ”says Alfred North Whitehead,“have got to be made to feel they are studying something,and are not merely executing intellectual minuets. ”


The Chinese character is always written in an imaginary square.The ninefold square,invented by an anonymous writer of theT’ang dynasty,has been employed as the most useful,because it prevents rigid symmetry and helps to achieve balanced asymmetry.6) At the same time it makes the writer aware of negative and positive spaces.Each part of the character touches one of the

Like the architect’s plan,the grid system employed by the graphic designer provides for an orderly and harmo-

nine squares,thus achieving harmony between the two elements and the whole.

nious distribution of miscellaneous graphic material.It is a system of proportions based on a module,the standard of which is derived from the material itself.It is a discipline imposed by the designer.

Within this rather simple discipline the calligrapher is able to play with space,filling it as he feels would be most appropriate.The composition of Chinese characters,

Unlike the Modulor,it is not a fixed system based on a specific concept of proportion,but one which must be

says Chiang Yee,“is not governed by inviolable laws… however,there are general

custom-made for each problem.Creating the grid calls for the ability to classify and organize miscellaneous

principles which cannot be ignored with impunity”.

material,with sufficient foresight to allow for flexibility in handling content which may,for one reason or another, be altered.The grid must define the areas of operation and provide for different techniques,pictures,text,space between text and pictures,columns of text,page numbers,picture captions,headings and other miscellaneous items. Here is a simple grid system for a booklet.Devising such a grid involves two creative acts:developing the pattern that is suitable for the given material and arranging this material within the pattern.In a sense,the creative ability required for the former is no less than that for the latter,because the making of the grid necessitates analyzing simultaneously all the elements involved.But once it is evolved,the designer is free to play to his heart’s

The Modulor is a system based on a mathematical key.Taking account of the hu-

content:with pictures,type,paper,ink,color,and with texture,scale,size and contrast.

man scale,it is a method of achieving harmony and order in a given work. The grid,then,is the discipline which frees him from the time-consuming burden of making certain decisions In his book,The Modulor,Le Corbusier describes his invention as“a measuring tool

(dimensions,proportions) without which fruitful and creative work is extremely difficult.He can move directly to

(the proportions) based on the human body (6-foot man) and on mathematics

those aspects of the problem in which individual expression,novel ideas,and freedom of choice are essential.

(the golden section).A man-with-arm-upraised provides,at the determining points of his occupation of space-foot,solar plexus,head,tips of fingers of the upraised

The grid system has as many detractors as it has adherents.It has been condemned as stifling,rigid and cold.

arm-three intervals which give rise to a series of golden sections,called the Fibo-

But this is to confuse the product with the process.The grid does not automatically insure an exciting product.

nacci series.

The designer must still exercise all the experience at his command,discretion,timing,and a sense of drama

The Modulor is a discipline which offers endless variations and opportunities for

and sequence.In brief,the intelligent designer will recognize that the grid can help him achieve harmony and

play.Le Corbusier’s awareness of these potentialities is evident from the numerous

order,but also that it may,when and if necessary,be abandoned.

references to the game and play in his book,such as:“AlI this work on proportioning and measures is the outcome of a passion,disinterested and detached,an

In addition to those already discussed,variations of the geometric plan are to be found,among other places,

exercise,a game. ”9) Further,he goes on to say,“for if you want to play modular…”

in Japanese architecture,modern painting,and in Byzantine masons’marks,such as the seal at left.This seal “employs a mathematical key as its design basis.The thick lines represent the mark,the thin lines represent the

In comparison to most so-calIed systems of proportion,the Modulor is perhaps

ground lattice which allows an infinite number of combinations. ”12)The geometric scheme is the discipline in

the least confining.The variations,as wilI be seen from this ilIustration,are practicalIy

which the designer works.Designs stemming from such a scheme are limited only by his imagination.

inexhaustible (and this example utilizes only a very limited number of possibilities). If,however,the system presents any difficulties which happen to go counter to one’s intuitive judgment,Le Corbusier himself provides the answer:“I still reserve the right at any time to doubt the solutions furnished by the Modulor,keeping intact my freedom which must depend solely on my feelings rather than on my reason.


One cannot underestimate the importance of restraint and playfulness in almost any phase of Picasso’s work.Here,for example,one sees a restrained use of the brush and one flat colorThe . drawing of the child’s Much of the painting of Josef Albers is based

face,the ornament and the lettering are all one.Lettering is not used as a complement to the drawing,

on this geometric pattern.The pattern is not used,

but as an integral part of the drawing.It serves as both a garland and a verbal image—a visual pun.What

however,in the same manner as the masons’

emerges is a kind of game itself,revealing the ingenuity and playfulness of the artist,his ability to deal with

lattice.Here it is the painting itself.It represents a

There are disciplines other than those based on geometry,among

strict,immutable arrangement (theme) in which

them availability of materials,reproduction processes,mechani-

the artist,by juxtaposing colors (variations) plays

cal limitations,economic considerations,legal requirements,time

Similarly,this ability to do much with little—to find a bull’s head in a bicycle seat and handle bars—is an-

the fascinating game of deceiving the eye.The

factors,physical handicaps.Some of these are self-imposed,others

other aspect of Picasso’s wizardry,his humor,his childlike spontaneity,his skill as a punster and ability to

squares as we see them here appear to recede

are involuntary,but in the hands of the artist each may contribute

improvise and invent with limited,often surprising means.

into the picture plane.However,by skillful manipula-

to,rather than detract from,the end product.

tion of colors,the painting flattens out and is thus

problems in the simplest,most direct,and meaningful manner.

imageThis monochrome,Persimmons,by Mu Ch’i,a thirteenth century Zen priest and painter,is a splendid

seen as a two-dimensional picture.

example of a painting in which the artist plays with contrasts (the male and female principle in Chinese and Japanese painting):rough and smooth,empty and full,one and many,line and mass,black and

The many variations based on this and similar de-

white,tint and shade,up and down.It is a study in the metamorphosis of a

signs attest to the fascination the artist finds from

fruit,

the interplay of a great variety of color schemes and an extremely limited geometric format. It is inconceivable to consider Matisse’s compositions with cut imageThe kind of grid employed by Japanese ar-

paper without,in some way,linking them to the play element—the

chitects in their traditional houses combines the

joy of working with simple colors and the fun of“cutting paper

virtues of determining the size of various rooms in

dolls”.But the greatest satisfaction,perhaps,is derived from creating

the house,floors,walls,furniture,etc.,and creating

a work of art with ordinary scissors and some colored paper—with

the style and appearance of the house.TheTatami,

so simple means,such satisfying ends.

a straw mat approximately 3 by 6 feet and 2 inch-

Similarly,this ability to do much with little—to find a bull’s head in a bicycle seat and handle bars—is another aspect of Picasso’s wizardry,his humor,his childlike spontaneity,his skill as a punster and ability to

es thick,is the module or standard from which the

improvise and invent with limited,often surprising means.

plan of the house grows.Edward S.Morse,in his book,Japanese Homes,describes the mat system

imageThis monochrome,Persimmons,by Mu Ch’i,a thirteenth century Zen priest and painter,is a splendid

as follows:“The architect invariably plans his rooms

example of a painting in which the artist plays with contrasts (the male and female principle in Chinese

to accommodate a certain number of mats;and

and Japanese painting):rough and smooth,empty and full,one and many,line and mass,black and

since these mats have a definite size,any indica-

white,tint and shade,up and down.It is a study in the metamorphosis of a fruit,as well as of a painting.

tion on the plan of the number of mats a room is

(The artist,incidentally,never used any color but black

to contain gives at once its dimensions also.The

Similarly,the early Cubist collages,in which cut paper played an

mats are laid in the following numbers:two,three,

important part,are products of strict rules,limited materials:news-

four-andone-half,six,eight,ten,twelve,fourteen,six-

paper mounted on a surface,with the addition of a few charcoal

The reader may find a parallel,at least in spirit,between this painting and the preceding one by Picasso.

teen,and so on. ”13)This illustration shows the“plan”

or pencil lines,usually in black and white and sometimes with tan

Both employ a single color,and exploit this limitation to achieve as much variety as possible,and both

of a four and-one-half mat room.Once the outer

or brown or similarly muted colors.These elements were juggled

undoubtedly were painted very rapidly,a condition often conducive to utmost simplification and improvi-

dimensions of the house are determined,the

until they satisfied the artist’s eye.The playfulness and humor in

sation.

mats,together with the Japanese system of sliding

the production of some of these compositions in no way detracts

doors,give complete flexibility in the arrangement

from the end result—a serious work of art.

and number of rooms.A perfect example of form and function,of discipline and play.

image In modern times artists like Man Ray and MoholyNagy,working with the most limited photographic means,the photogram,created highly significant pictures.This technique offers the artist ample opportunity to play with light and a great variety of materials,opaque,translucent,and transparent,to produce,very rapidly,rich and unexpected effects.


The photogram,at the left,made by the writer some years ago,shows how simply one is able to capture movement and achieve interesting tonal effects.Because the technique itself dictates a certain degree of speed the time factor becomes an additional discipline,which acts as a creative stimulus. The de Stijl movement,founded in 1917,had a profound influence on painting,architecture,and typography. Piet Zwart,the designer responsible for this advertisement for the Dutch firm Nederlansche Kabelfabriek, was associated with this group. The disciplines which de Stijl encouraged—functional use of material and meaningful form,and the restrained use of color (black and/or primary colors)—are evident in this design.With a few simple typographic elements and an ingenious play on the letter“O”,a humorous,yet significant design was evolved. A picture is created by typographic means:a few type characters and type rules are so manipulated as to make a useful product,an advertisement.Many examples of this artist’s work reveal this same playful approach and are worthy of serious study.

The earth colors of Africa,the ice of the polar regions,the bamboo of Japan,are among the many challenging materials with which artists and artisans create their idols,their utensils,and their houses—all natural limitations which provide their own built-in disciplines which,in turn,contribute to the creative solution. Some years ago in Kyoto I was fortunate enough to witness a young Japanese craftsman make the“chasen”you see here.It is a whisk used in the tea ceremony and is cut from a single piece of bamboo with a simple tool resembling a penknife.Both the material and manufacturing process (about one-half hour) are the quintessence of discipline,simplicity and restraint. The invention of such an article could not possibly have been achieved by anyone lacking the ability to improvise and the patience to play with a specific material:to see the myriad possibilities and discover the ideal form. It has not been the purpose of this discussion to provide a glossary of disciplines or recipes,but merely to indicate the virtue of the challenge implicit in discipline.“I demand of art”,says Le Corbusier“the , role of the challenger… of play and interplay,play being the very manifestation of the spirit. ”14)

1.Gilbert Highet,The Art ofTeaching,Alfred A.Knopf,New York (1950),p.194 2.Cahier de Georges Braque,Maeght Editeur,Paris (1947) 3.Alfred North Whitehead,The Aims of Education,Mentor,New York (1949),p.21 4.Ibid.,p.24 5.The New YorkTimes Magazine,December 15,1963 6.Chiang Yee,Chinese Calligraphy,Methuen & Co.,Ltd.,London (1938),p.167 7.Ibid.,p.166. 8.Le CorbusierThe , Modulor,Harvard University Press (1954),p.55 9.Ibid.,p.80 10.Ibid.,p.101 11.Ibid.,p.63 12.Matila Ghyka,The Geometry of Art and Life,Sheed & Ward,New York (1946),p.120 13.Edward S.Morse,Japanese Homes,Ticknor & Co.,Boston (1885),p.122 14.Le Corbusier,op.cit.,p.220


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MA S K SECRETS AND REVELATIONS

MA S K SECRETS AND REVELATIONS

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ADMIT ONE

Michigan State University Mask:Secrets & Revelations

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MASK

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MASK

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Michigan State University Mask:Secrets & Revelations

MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK

MASK

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ADMIT ONE

Michigan State University Mask:Secrets & Revelations

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MASK

SECRETS AND REVELATIONS


MASK

MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK SECRETS AND MASK REVELATIONS MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MASK MICHIGAN STATE MUSEUM MASK MASK MASK MASK February 13, 2011 - January 22, 2012 MASK MASK MASK MASK

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Lauren Doherty's Portfolio  

My collection of work that I have produced throughout the past 3 years at Michigan State University

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