Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Raymond Loewy

 Ever wondered who was responsible for designing Americana? French-born American industrial designer, Raymond Loewy, can take a lot responsibility.

Initially a window designer for New York Department stores, Loewy went on to design Pennsylvania Railroad locomotives, Air Force One presidential airplanes, Studebaker automobiles, Coca-Cola vending machines and bottles, Lucky Strike cigarette packs, Greyhound buses, the NASA Skylab space station, and... a pencil sharpener.

He also designed a few other things, besides.  

If you would like more information, the Library has a number of books on Loewy, located in the main collection on the ground floor.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Abstract Art of 1950s Fashion Print

After browsing through a new purchase request, '1980s Fashion Print' by Marnie Fogg (available in the Library soon!), we looked up another book in the series by the same author, '1950s Fashion Print', and were struck by the abstract beauty of the designs, which could easily be exhibited as artworks in themselves.

Abstraction was intrinsic to 1950s print design, with designers (in parallel with the painters of the day) using creatively organised shapes, forms and colours which had no counterparts in nature.

Take out '1950s Fashion Print' , available on the first floor of the Library, and be inspired for your next project.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Celebrating Ivor the Engine's 55th Anniversary

Ivor the Engine was a British children's animation series created by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin for their SmallFilms company in 1959. Ivor follows the adventures of a little locomotive in the top left-hand corner of Wales, along with his cheery, rosy-cheeked driver, Edwin Jones. Ivor has a number of friends in his village, including the grumbly station master, Dai, as well as Bluebell the Donkey, Idris the Dragon, and many others, besides. Made with watercolour-painted cardboard cutouts, and animated using stop-motion techniques, the series was originally made for black and white television in 1959, before being picked up by the BBC in 1975 and remade in colour.  

For more information about Ivor the Engine, Oliver Postgate and SmallFilms, why not take out our DVD, 'Oliver Postgate: A Life in Small Films', available in the DVD collection on the second floor of the Library? You could also look at the SmallFilms website, too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Strategic Questions - New Display at the Library

As you may have seen from our Twitter account, there is a new display on the second floor of the GSA library.

Based on Strategic Questions (curated by Gavin Wade, 2002) - an on-going project to develop forty projects in response to forty questions written by architect R. Buckminster Fuller. Each project is an artwork or combination of artworks developed in relation to forty different publication scenarios. Each project tackles one question (such as, 'What is intellect?', 'What is wealth?', etc.) and is placed into an existing magazine, journal or other publication vehicle (or a new publication is developed in response to a specific site and context).

These strategic questions were written by R. Buckminster Fuller as part of a statement to a leading figure in the world building industry. The statement is called Design Strategy (1966), and was published in Fuller's Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity (1969, p.352). It is Fuller's proposition that to achieve total success for all humanity until the end of time, all interested parties must agree upon the answers to these strategic questions before they can successfully combine their efforts.

If you'd like find out more about the project, then please follow this link. You can also find a full bibliography for everything on display on the library VLE site.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Artists U: a Movement for sustainable art practice

Artists U are a movement originating from America questioning the current cycle of unsustainable exploitative practices in the field of art and trying to offer an alternative.

Their mission statement is as follows:

Artists U is a grassroots, artist-run platform for changing the working conditions of artists.
Make art. Don’t starve.
We want to change the conversations artists have in our heads, with each other, and with the world.
We push artists to build lives that are balanced, productive, and sustainable.
We are skills-based, not need-based: we work to empower artists to create their lives and their art.
We don’t give advice. We don’t do things for you.
Everything we do is artist-to-artist and free for all participants.

Artists U have now produced a book, which is available to buy online, but also free to download as a PDF, called Making Your Life as an Artist. They are aiming to get 100,000 artists to read this book (and have reached 57,882 downloads so far). Follow this link to download a copy for yourself.