I have just had one of those truly intense experiences that need months maybe years to sort out. We held a design conference on campus and invited some amazing people to come speak about their work and hold workshops with our students. Graciously excepting the invitation where Tarek Atrissi
, Jonathan Barnbrook
, Mohammed Harib
, Nadim Karam
, Anja Lutz
, Teal Triggs
, Will Brown
and Douglas Haddow
from Adbusters. In any context this would be a dream line up - at a private woman's college in Saudi Arabia it was a bit surreal. Just a tiny little bit.
From the bottom of my cynical little heart I am grateful to every one who participated, speakers, faculty, students, staff, visitors, and local dignitaries, for the amazing way it all came together. You can't throw a great party if nobody shows up, design is a dialogue, art is a visual medium. Talking to one's self is a monologue and without an audience art has no meaning.
I started the week in Mohammed Harib's workshop, where he explained how he came to produce Freej starting from a survey course he took in animation as a design student and then focused his workshop on concept building. Mohammed's story is inspirational and an example of conviction and determination in the face of clearly insurmountable odds. More to the point he has brought a sensitive and funny face to contemporary cultural issues in the UAE.
Somewhere in the middle I ended up at the Will and Doug Show as they introduced the joys of anti-consumerism and multiple ways to put graphic design chops to socially relevant use. Rise up and resist the brand! (Srsly, put that iphone down.)
I ended in Jonathan Barnbrook's workshop on typography - the project was to pick two concepts from geometric shapes, brush strokes, whisper, swearing and ugly, and then work out at least 5 letters from each.
My sketches got thumbtacked to the board along with all the rest and Jonathan included me in the crit. For the first time in a VERY long time I was on the other side in the spotlight and exposing my convoluted thought process which included chrome filters and fried eggs, very red faced, but survivable – even with Tarek Atrissi laughing at me. Jonathan was very kind.
Labels: graphic design, Saudi Arabia