Archive for 'Conference'
Posted June 26th, 2007 by Rhys
I remember when I was in my final year of study and I was talking about buying a ticket to the Melbourne held AGIdeas conference, organised by the highly esteemed designer/entrepreneur Ken Cato. I had previously been to a couple of these conferences, and couldn’t quite work out whether they were more positive or painful. But feeling the need to feed on some famous designers creative drive, and telling myself there would be at least a few interesting designers over the 3 day conference, I forked out the $360 to buy a student ticket.
At the same time some of my fellow students said they were heading off to Sydney to a conference up there, one that was a little “less corporate and a little more creative.” It all sounded good to me at the time, but flying up to Sydney as a poor student wasn’t really an option.
Jump forward to 2007
A few years later and now designing for Hugeobject, I checked out a design competition Triple J was running that had a trip to Sydney and a ticket to Semi-Permanent as a prize. I think I had completely forgotten about the conference over the past few years.
A month later I was on the plane to Sydney, and no I hadn’t won the Triple J competition. With experience comes a greater understanding of time management. I quickly decided that it would be much easier and cheaper to get work to send me, than spend hours working on a competition with the odds of winning stacked against me.
I’ll give a quick overview of some of the speakers i found most interesting and inspirational (that would be most of them), then if you are interested you can visit their website for further information. For those that I haven’t mentioned, I either didn’t find their talks very stimulating, or I just don’t have an affinity with what they do.
The first Semi-Permanent speaker was Sophie Howarth, the official photographer for the Big Day Out. She has just self published Peace, Love, and Brown Rice, a book documenting her time with the Big Day Out from its inception in 1992. One thing that struck me about Sophie was her easy going personality, undoubtedly an important quality for a rock star photographer. She wasn’t arrogant about what she does. If anything, she was playing it down.
Overall she started off shyly, having technical problems playing photos in iPhoto. But she increasingly became more confident, blatantly pushing her book. I guess you can’t blame her, as she did spend about 2 years sorting, compiling, and personally overseeing the printing (on recycled stock) in South Korea.
A two person outfit from Rotterdam, Netherlands, Toko are currently living and working in Sydney. Eva Dijkstra and Michael Lugmayr spent the first part of their talk giving a humorous introduction to Dutch design, the difference between the Netherlands and Australia, and the relationship of the two. In one comparison they said the most dangerous animal they have in the Netherlands is the cow, compared to the numerous poisonous and deadly creatures in Australia. They explained how Dutch design is known for its clean crisp appearance, focus on typography, and almost religious use of the grid. This was especially apparent when they began showing their own work.
What impressed me the most about Toko was their attention to detail, especially in the area of Typography. For many of their clients they will design a unique typeface. This means their clients will have completely individual outcomes. They explained that everything in the Netherlands is designed, and companies are willing to spend large amounts of money hiring designers in a bid to set their business apart from others. Because of this, a relatively slow process such as designing a typeface is much more possible.
Overall, Toko gave a humorous yet technically interesting presentation.
Apart from being extremely nervous and at time incomprehensible, Si Scott’s work was somewhat of a hit at the conference. He has a very distinct illustrative/typographic style which has been adopted by other designers. All of Si Scott’s work is drawn by hand only to be touched up digitally at its final stage.
Initially I was spellbound at the beauty of his work, but later as he continued showing work after work of a similar style produced for larger and larger clients, I became a little bored. This is not to say the work itself was boring, but that the style itself has been overexploited and now seems a bit old. He did on the other hand lightly delve into some of his most recent work where he was consciously trying to move his work forward, aware that his unique style has now become a commodity.
I found Tiffany Bozic to be an exciting addition to a conference mostly attended by designers and design students. It was refreshing to see and experience the passion of an outstanding artist who creates work for herself and no one else. All her painting streams from her love of exploring her own imagination and creative passion, mixed with her endless curiosity for nature.
Her work is not only conceptually and symbolically complex, but technically she is a master at what she does. I especially enjoyed her explanation of her process, how she would intricately lay down overlapping strips of masking tape to mask off areas of wood grain which remained untouched by her brush.
Tiffany was one of the most well prepared speakers at the conference. She passionately told her ‘rags to riches’ tale, and never failed to explain her work. I can safely say she was one of my favourite speakers at Semi-Permanent. Her creative passion was addictive and I left adamant to find time to pursue my own creative endeavors.
A fit follow up to Tiffany Bozic’s presentation was the illustrator/artist Jame Jean. Like Tiffany, James had a well prepared presentation and was a pleasure to listen to. James Jean studied at the School of Visual Art, New York and graduated with a BFA in 2001. He began his professional career illustrating comic book covers such as Fables and has subsequently illustrated for a breathtaking number of internationally renowned clients.
One thing that set James apart from most of the other speakers was his detailed descriptions of his creative process. He even went through some of his works from start to end, showing initial sketches through to colouring/finishing in Photoshop. Like Tiffany, James Jean was one of my favourite speakers at Semi-Permanent.
Dave Kinsey brought a little more attitude to the the conference. He is renowned for his street art, fine art and graphic design. He’s the founder of BLK/MRKT and BLK/MRKT Gallery, and has worked for some big name clients including Absolut Vodka, the job he said paid for the Gallery.
In the Semi-Permanent Event Program it stated “If their presentation at the London Semi-Permanent in 2005 is anything to go by, Marmalade look set to rock Sydney with an awesome presentation. Not to be missed!”.
It could have been that they were the second to last speaker of the conference, or that the expectations were set a little too high, but I was a bit disappointed in their presentation. It seemed a bit unprepared and short in length. They actually started running through the slides again when they realised that they finished way too soon. The magazine itself was reasonably interesting, laid out entirely by hand with a mixture of hand cut text and 3D object, photographed and then laid out for print.
The final speaker/s to the show was Method Studios from Los Angeles. Out of the two motion graphics businesses presenting, Method was by far the most interesting and inspiring. It was represented by a funny French guy and the director (can’t remember their names).
What I liked most about Method Studios was their mentality. They know they are good at what they do, and try and do the most creative job possible for every client, even if the client may be a little conservative. Towards the end of their presentation they talked about the staff at the studio. They mentioned that a lot of the people there are not formally trained in the field of cinema graphic, but have found their way there through their own personal interests and creativity.
Method Studios mainly works on commercials, but also dabbles in music videos and feature film work.
Overall I found my two days in Sydney an inspirational experience and I was shocked to find that I liked all the speakers and found most of them interesting. I’d rank James Jean, Tiffany Bozic, and Toko as the 3 most interesting!
The Semi-Permanent 2007 lineup was:
No Comments | View/Make Comments