A poster announcing 'Illustration Today - A Symposium on the State of the Art' Parson’s the New School for Design, New York
The poster announced and invited attendance at 'Illustration Today: A Symposium on the State of the Art' Parson’s the New School for Design, New York, Tishman Auditorium 11 November 2006.
I was commissioned by Steven Guarnaccia (Illustration Chair at Parson’s) to design a poster to announce this event. The brief: only the text and the dimensions.
A question occurred to me very early in my own thought process: Would it be possible to begin the debate within the poster announcing a symposium? I designed the poster on this basis. I invented, wrote and illustrated some opposites. (As an announcement it folded into a mailer with the speakers’ biographies on the reverse).
I also took part in the symposium ‘in conversation with’ Christopher Niemann. We addressed such topics as 'designer or illustrator?', 'words or images?', 'Rules and Games?'. Other speakers were visually introduced by small, repeating, selections of their work. I had prepared a huge ‘screen saver’ of 90 images, so that the points made could be illustrated by images and sequences, actually selected during the conversation.
The poster consists of a series of pairs of words, with illustrations, handwritten in word/word form. Many are opposites from within the profession. Some address illustration in it immediate context, some address outputs, techniques, approaches and the past and future. The biographies of speakers proved useful on positions within the profession but all the phrases express my views as ‘author’. These phrases are then illustrated with more formal drawings as simple 'before and after; spot the difference’ two part images.
There are various methods and ‘rule changes’ used within this ‘game’. Sometimes the images represent opposites as well as the words, in one, the images are exactly the same, sometimes really quite small changes tell the story, some are verbal puns ‘still/animated’, some are visual puns ‘words/ pictures’, one is a metaphor, and so on. The typography works in the same way, contrasting classical with modern and rough with digital (has the digital made the rough obsolete and which type face represents which ?) The central image of the viewer/listener is an essential focus and eye catcher in a poster that involves much close ‘reading’. She and he represent the joy/misery and something in between, of the audience of ‘illustrators’.
Funding from Parson’s the New School for Design included a fee for the poster, my air fare and hotel bills. My part in the symposium was described in the mailer as:
'Spot light: George Hardie, the legendary British illustrator, in conversation with New Yorker cover illustrator Christoph Niemann.'
The conversation could be seen at Fora.tv
The poster has since been published in:
A review of the Symposium by Terry Kattleman; Executive editor, p 10:
"Another conference highlight was a fascinating mini career retrospective, conducted by illustrator Christoph Niemann, with British legend George Hardie who doesn’t mind 'being called a designer, an illustrator or both' he noted, as he admitted he had little talent as a draftsman. Now 62, handling projects that range from self-published art books to postage stamps for the Royal Mail, in his youth Hardie was rocking the album art for the likes of the Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd…
… practically everything the dryly witty Hardie said sounded like a quote from Bartlett’s [famous quotations]. Some examples: 'I’m quite content to do pictures that people don’t actually get. I love limitations. You need rules to fight against. With a fading memory, it’s very important to keep a notebook. I don’t, actually, but I feel very strongly that everyone else should'."
Also published in:
Exhibited by invitation in the National Cultural Festival in Tokushima October 27 2007. Photographs have just arrived.