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28Sep09

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COURSEWORK, OMG

28Sep09

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Livin’ la vida Logo

Concept: musings about urban living through logos. Is it quite typical of us to hmm, guzzle a can of Coca Cola, watch a Dreamworks-produced film and fawn over an LV purse. Not to mention wear Nike sneakers, use Microsoft Windows and chomp on McDonald’s/KFC. Whatever we come into contact with is very likely to carry a brand name. We can’t help it – it’s part of urban living.

The urban lifestyle is consumerist. We are all fish on bait. The big brand names and giants of enterprise are fishing, and logos are the worm/shrimp/bait/whatever. We are bombarded with logos on television, on billboards and flyers, from all around, all the time. We hardly notice it, since we’re too used to it anyway, but not desensitized. Logos, which are artforms themselves, are a great symbol of urban consumerism.

And since logos are so recognizable and may very quickly hit home for most people, I am going to transform them into paintings musing about urban living. It would be intriguing and amusing to see familiar logos in strange new contexts, and this would force you to take a step back and look at our lifestyles in a different light.

What I mean by the vague word ‘transform’ is (1) to retain the general colour scheme (2) make use of striking elements of the logo to symbolize something else (3) modify the logo so that it’s still recognizable but not the same.

It is a series of 3 paintings, acrylic on canvas. After careful selection from my vast reserves of logos, the finalists are: Dreamworks, Coca-cola and Louis Vuitton. This is for diversity in colour (blue, red, brown) and market (entertainment, F&B, fashion/apparel).

My reflections: These 6 months of coursework have been arduous, and I learnt many valuable lessons from it (so clichéd, but it’s true!). Enlightening. And most of it stemmed from an act of impulse. In the beginning of courseworking the above idea had already been conceived, but I was unable to move much further past the intangible thought. School work was already too much to cope with in term2, and the stress resulted in what Mrs Tan termed a mental block. What a block it was. Uninspired, grouchy, frustrated, nothing much materialized for the few months there. In the lowest point of my plight Mrs Tan suggested that I use Project PaperChain designs – website, postcards, posters – for my coursework, since I’ve been working on them on and off all along. I was apprehensive, as I didn’t see much artistic value in the designs as well – not as much as I valued my logos, because that came on a spark of inspiration (and I consider it a literally bright idea). But switching to Project PaperChain designs would kill two birds with one stone, and lighten the then-existent burden of coursework. In the practical sense it was a great idea to switch. I was so unconvinced then that Mrs Tan roped in the other Mrs Tan (from AEP) to persuade me and yes, I was swayed. So I worked on Project PaperChain – it was easier, more straightforward. But I felt dead to a small extent. Worked on it for 1+ months, and just barely 2 weeks before the submission deadline for EOY coursework, I thought, THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK. SCREW IT, I’M GOING BACK TO THE LOGOS! It was an impulsive and risky decision, almost suicidal. I had to squeeze about 2 months’ worth of work into 10 days. But it was as if I had some surge of adrenaline or hormonal imbalance – I worked like crazy, non-stop and with a consistently enthusiastic disposition. Oh sure, the stress was tremendous, and definitely frustrating, but I had so much fun that it didn’t quite matter. I was working out of passion and inspiration, and that was what mattered. I submitted something I value and am proud of, and that’s was of utmost importance. This was an epiphany of epic proportions. No, I’m not exaggerating. As Mrs Tan also said, I had understood the essence of art. This is, in my opinion, a great closure for sec4 GAP.


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Yes, designed a book cover that is actually published!

It is for my friends’ project, titled Your Singapore Through Their Eyes. They organized a writing competition for students from primary and secondary schools to express their views of Singapore. The winning entries are compiled in this book, which is distributed to schools and libraries over the island.

(1) the front: quinessentially Singaporean things popping out of a book. The book here is actually Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew, which was lying around in the study room. Grabbed and photgraphed it open, propped up by a bunch of colour pencils to form a nice obtuse angle. the yellow and white buildings are actually my estate, which i took photographs of from my bedroom window (alot of self-taken stock photos!) Sir Stamford Raffles and the durian, however, were taken from the net. The “Singapore”an street sign was made in microsoft powerpoint with autoshapes. most people dont realise it, but PPT can actually be a really convenient program for simple graphic design. (see my post about the sec3 class tee!) The collage of Singaporean pop-ups is laid upon a pretty blue sky (spongey wet brush in photoshop) with a white moon and 5 stars – relates to our country’s flag!

(2) stream of words: there is a mess of words under the very large book in front, and this stream of words run all the way to the back cover and slowly widen and disperse. Look closely, and you’ll realise that words overlapping and crowding there are all very singaporean! I took lines from national day songs, road names, cuisine, our pledge, and even PCK’s quote. Keywords like Vanada Miss Joaquim, H.D.B., and People’s Action Party are in there somewhere as well. I have also secretly worked our names into the mess, in the more densely-populated aeras. Upon close inspection, the 5 names are still visible. Squint really hard!

(3) Colour pencils: they are representative of a child’s creations. and this compilation contains voices of young people. the colour pencils on the back cover are laid on a purple smear that looks like it’s made by crayons.The colour pencils are self-taken stock photo as well.

(4) Fonts: the bigger words (the titles) on the front and back cover are done with a more handwriting like font, to express that rawness of the essays. All other smaller texts are in Bradley hand, which is friendly-looking and easy to read.

Read the wonderful synopsis! I had a hand in that too, haha. Designing this cover was definitely en enriching experience. On one hand, it was a good artistic experience and it also allow me to explore my native roots. On the other, I went through real-world processes like meeting up with the publishers, going through several stages of adjustments, deciding what sort of printing works and what doesnt (glossy or matt?) and looking at the mock-up. It also unlocked a door for me – I could illustrate on one-off projects for Select Books, which I might commit myself to after my year-end exams. WONDERFUL!


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The website for Project PaperChain is supposed to be fun, appealing to the masses and user-friendly. Key features of the website design: (a) Tree guarded by red,blue and yellow paperchains is secured and protected from deforestation. Emphasizes our mission to conserve forests. (b) 3 tags on the side point out the important characteristics of our project- 100% recycled [referring to the paperchain made of waste paper], environmentally friendly [the cause as a whole], and youth-initiated [the organising team and all its volunteers are youths, and we are an independent proejct.] (c) brown crumpled paper- waste paper (d) cut-here perforations running across the page, trying to cut the tree. it has two meanings: refers to excessive deforestation, and also to our cutting up of waste paper into strips to form the paper chain. the cut-here perforations are consistent in many of PaperChain’s designs.

The 3 versions you see above are drafts leading up to the 3rd and final one. The final complete design has brown scrap paper as the main body for text, giving a more organic feel. There is also a cut-out nature of the tree and paperchains above, complete with shadow behind it, to echo the cut-here peforations in front of it. it also embosses the layout to make it more interesting.