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Course: Graphic Design History
Year: Fall 2010
Instructor: Shane Sullivan

Course: Graphic Design History
Year: Fall 2010
Instructor: Shane Sullivan


Dada

Hopefully we have all seen Marcel Duchamp’s most famous, corrected ready-made, the reproduction of the Mona Lisa. I challenge people to look around and noticed the ready-mades in their every day life. The painting I have chosen to analyze is a perfect example of one. The original image was only the background, so the desert, mountains, and a herd of buffalo. The other drawings have evolved over time by various people. They have corrected or assisted the original artist in his painting, not to mention without consent. Many would argue that this is not art, but this would not offend the Dadaists. If anything, this would do nothing but encourage them. However, while they felt that their art was meaningless, it was far from it. Nothing they did could truly be random. After all, it takes some amount of thought to accomplish their goal of defying the social norms.


Corporate Identity & Branding

Brands have created materialistic people, or really, just brainwashed us. You can’t walk into the mall today without seeing Victoria Secret models plastered on the walls or high school jocks wearing t-shirts with Hollister ironed across the front. Even when you make it to the food court, you have three different Chinese restaurants to pick from. What makes them different? A brand or corporate identity is what distinguishes one place from the next. This can be expressed through dozens of commercial and advertising outlets through logos, posters, or websites. In this case, the outlet is a painting. While scanning the painting, there are plenty of brand names such as Miller, BIC, Whataburger, and Dos Equis to be accounted for. What is interesting is why they identified each object with a certain brand or corporation. However complicated this may seem, the answer actually quite is simple. People tend to choose their favorites and while at first this seems like a harmless consumer crush, it can soon turn you into a materialistic shopper.


Pop Art

The movement is simple, so simple that the purpose of the art is explained in one word. Pop, of course. Does the art jump off the canvas? Another hint is comic book looking art, pastel colors and all. Sometimes the art emphasizes the kitschy or insignificant parts with the use of irony. The artists usually used well-known, or iconic images within the collage. Also, the work was commonly mass-produced, so while the artist did design the original, a factory could have easily copied them. The cartoon-like drawings remind me of pop art, especially in the top right corner. Pikachu and the talking birds also spark my attention, but to be honest, the whole painting does. The painting is a story made up of other stories, like one big comic strip.


Psychedelia 

This mind-manifesting movement began roughly around 1964 and reached into the late sixties. The most commonly used technique is to simulate the senses. The color palette includes an array of bright and bold colors, like the rainbow for instance. This particular art is greatly associated with drug use, primarily hallucinogens such as marijuana, mushrooms, and LSD. Many believe that the elevated state caused by these drugs put you in a better state of mind for creating and even viewing art. This painting has nothing but illusions to psychedelia, from rainbows to the Merry Prankster bus. While this piece of art may not scream psychedelic, there are too many drug references to ignore. The interesting part of this is why over half the people chose to draw those things. However, the fact that most contributing artists were young adults probably answers the question.


Postmodern Design

This design was about making a statement, however absurd that statement might be. The art was created by recycled ideas from past movements. While the design was mainly a rejection to the Swiss style, that was not the only purpose. The postmodernists took bits and pieces from every other movement to create their own. Each element in the painting, separately, has a meaning. However when you put them all together, a new picture emerges. Everyone can identify what a clown or cactus is, but when you put the two together, the task is much more complicated. This is not the only connection to postmodern. Some argue that all artwork today can be considered postmodern, since many believe we have left modernism. So if this were true, the painting would still fall under this category of design.


Information Design

The world is full of information waiting to be designed. And while this may painting seem rather complicated, there are a few things clearly trying to be communicated. A few of these things are Universe This Way, 2 Pac 4ever, the talking turtle, and the list goes on. There are so many different things going on in the image that you have to break it up by sections to cover everything. Some things are bold and easily visible, but others are smaller and harder to see. The things drawn may communicate different things to different people, but the image is constant. For example, the birds in the top left corner were already on the painting, but then someone else added the speech bubbles to communicate a specific meaning.

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