Design in the time of Psychedelics and Post-Modernism

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Moscow, V 1967, offset lithograph, The Big Brother and the Holding Company, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/5403&gt;

Welcome to the ages of Psychedelic experiences, through hallucinations and through artworks. Artists attempted to illustrate their experiences on psychedelic narcotics such as LSD and magic mushrooms from 1958 to about 1975. Influenced by Pop Art, Surrealism and Art Nouveau. Through the great bright, contrasting colour and organic shapes, Psychedelic Design creates a form of animation to the eyes or a viewer, especially when under the influence of LSD or magic mushrooms, or even, if you stare at it too long, you also can hallucinate. The artworks are based on having great visual aesthetic, as objects, shapes, lines, and even typefaces melt into each other, making it warm and soothing to look at after you look beyond the intensity of the bright contrasting colours. The subject matters are also interesting, tending to be about love, flower power, peace and music. Victor Moscow’s signature techniques in his design work are his use of contrasting colours (not black and white), creating a sense of vibrations. These colours are bright and bold too, we can see the influence of pop art. In Big Brother and the Holding Company, we see the contrast between red and blue, which are primary colours. These are the only colours throughout the design work, we are not receiving any negative white space. The background is filled with pinwheels going the same direction, layered upon this is a blue/black silhouette of a man with the same pinwheels for eyes. The composition invites the viewer to look into the hypnotised eyes of the man, we get sucked in. Is this what Moscow aimed for? For viewers to get stuck, then navigate around, then appreciate the poster afterwards? The negative space is outside the border, discarding graphic designers golden ratio. The typography has been experimented with, in the border and in the shirt, contrasted between each other, both colour and directions, creating an overall aesthetic experience.

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Yakoo, T 1966, Koshimaki-Osen, silkscreen, MoMA, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/7957&gt;

Now, welcome to the beginning of mass marketing, mass media, reproduction, consumption and technology advancement. Post-Modernism is a reaction to modernism, Post-modern artists are sceptical of the consuming world they live in and often question what reality is. It was acknowledged by the 1980s, with no definite date, we can see a resemblance with the movements such as Cubism, Dada & Surrealism. Artists of post-modern design breakdown pre-existing barriers between high and low art, this is where intertextuality slips in also. Artists collage ideas and influences to address issues or create meaning or even to be aesthetically pleasing. Graphic Designers explore creative techniques and experiment with overlapping, typography, bold colours & shapes, collage and as I mentioned before intertextuality. In Koshimaki-Osen we can see combinations of Western and Eastern styles with elements from Dada Art, Mass Media, Pop Art and Comic Books. Yakoo has used bleeding in which challenges previous movements, to create a sense drama, there is more. The layers and overlapping or layers create an illusion of depth, physically and emotionally. I feel the artist is expressing quite a deep meaning. Kinetic sequencing is used on the pink lady figure, also creating an illusion of depth but also movement, bringing the work alive. The colours are contrasting yet, supplement each other. This has been achieved through the compositional placement of scale and direction and experimentation with mixed typefaces, combined weight, style and directions. The point of focus is the couple who seem to be arguing, along with this is other chaos represented, however, Yakoo has used compositional techniques to master the balance making this poster beautiful.

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Observe, Collect, Record

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Here are my unedited photos from the Farm, Shed and a Road.

Transfer, Select, Refine

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Here are some examples of experimenting with photoshop. I really love the look of pastel colours along with black/white threshold.

Refine, Organise

Still so many to go…

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What I thoroughly enjoyed was the experimentation and how much potential each photo has, even unexpectedly. My favourite letter I have made is ‘O’, I love the detail outside the letter form I have included. Likewise, with the T, it is hanging off something… I can see there is no uniformity with some of these letters, I may find some better that suit. However, I personally like things that shouldn’t go together, go together. I find this interesting. I would also like to experiment with composition, like the examples I used above.

References: 

Moscow, V 1967, offset lithograph, The Big Brother and The Holding Company, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/5403&gt;

Rosicky, J 2011, Graphic Design History, Prague College, viewed 20 March 2019, <http://gdh.2rsolutions.cz/&gt;

Yakoo, T 1966, Koshimaki-Osen, silkscreen, MoMA, viewed 20 March 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/7957&gt;

Author: yanks

half optimist half pessimist half realist

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