Solving Systems of Literal Equations

I was a psychology major in college and once took a course in brain lateralization, the study of hemispheric dominance versus handedness and how that affects your overall quantitative and qualitative prowess. According to this theory, the left side of your brain (right-handed people) is wired more towards logic, structure, and control, and the right side of your brain (left-handed people) is more fluid, understanding, and emotional. This suggests that a person can be either scientific or artistic, mathematically inclined or computatively challenged, and perhaps such can be said when generally speaking. But designer Craig Damrauer has sought to break away from this stereotype by creating his series, New Math, with 20x200. An exploration into what an equation would look like with words instead of numbers, the collection aims to define situations creatively via direct parameters and [sometimes humorous but true] variables that would make any algebra teacher proud.

The lesson to be learned here is that similarities, covert and obvious, exist between art and science. When you really think about it, what is the difference between the formula for general relativity and the formula for an experience? Both include a desire to drink the vast wealth of knowledge that exists and a craving to interpret that cognizance. We are all just looking for the answer to "why?".

Chalk It Up

Always happy to discover new and interesting platforms from which artists define their work, I came across the chalk designs of Brooklyn-based designer, Dana Tanamachi, today. While most graphic designers use computer mouses or the tried and true pen and pencil to flesh out their ideas, Dana takes to a stick of calcium carbonate to bring us into her world of black and white, block and swirl lettering, and a canvas that is regularly the size of an entire room wall. 

In her timelapse videos that give you a very linear glimpse into her process, you can see that there is one defining step that comes across every project she does: repetition. Dana frequently draws out the general outline of her intended shape, comes back to it later, erases it with a damp cloth, and reworks that component of the piece again and again until it fits. Her perseverance and endurance to make sure that everything is aligned according to her original vision is a lesson in itself about the value of persistence. By continuing to alter the course of her project's expansion until it feels right, Dana teaches us that you should never shy away from your dream, nor settle for second best.

Start Where You Are

Oftentimes when we see branding and identity work in our industry, it is related to the act of enumerating the definition of a second party. But Steve Rura, a New York City graphic designer, has taken the brave tread of ascertaining the existence of himself in his poster for The Strange Attractor. Starting at the highest possible level of actuality, the Universe, he then breaks it down tier by tier until he arrives at the most basic stratum of his being. A quote by Albert Einstein, which describes the human desire to compact ourselves to only what we know and want, is stated at the bottom of the trail as almost an explanation to why Steve took upon this exercise.

Along this journey towards blunt self-awareness, Steve implants his observations on several levels with humorous descriptions of how he views this particular part of his person, reassuring us that while the world may seem like uncharted territory, it is our own interpretations of each place that bring it to life. While the truth of the matter remains that there are some things we avoid realizing about ourselves because we dislike the way it sounds, these personal spaces still are and always will be a part of our souls. Steve's art brings us a step closer to understanding and accepting the latitudes of where we are. 

It's Electric

If you are looking for the next great abstractionist painter, Sam Songailo is it. His art, which extends to light installations that invoke the players of Tron, incorporates bold, florescent lines into various geometric sequences throughout the canvas. These strokes are so sharp and systematic that they bring to mind other similar scientific artifices, such as the synapses in one's brain or the tracks in an underground railroad. Sam's usage of neon pink and aqua amongst a sea of primary colors hint towards a futuristic atmosphere that is both unsettling yet highly anticipated.

At first glance, I was hit with a cacophony of visual noise with dissonant color schematics clashing so deeply that I didn't know where to begin my appraisal. But once I began to stop focusing and started letting myself go, I saw a myriad of possibilities as to what these paintings could truly be. By allowing us to make up our own minds about the end result of his work, Sam has given us the greatest gift of all - transporting the design possibilities of tomorrow and bringing them into the now. 

Bianca Chang Redefines the Papercut

Paper is one of my personal preferences from which to create art, and I was so pleased to find Australian designer Bianca Chang's work within this channel. Bianca's methods epitomize the meticulous care needed in such an endeavor, so much so that I was rendered speechless when presented with videos of her process.

Each piece is carefully measured and cut to perfectly fit the confines of that paper's place within the overall project. The thin, delicate nature of the paper interpolates to establish its own subtle tonality that needs no extra element. I cannot stress enough the painstaking effort it must take to ensure that both the calculations and dimensions synthesize seamlessly to create the final look and feel. 

Bianca's work ethic inspires me to no end. To be able to sit and tirelessly compose these artworks is a true testament to her passion for her craft, and allows her to generate something that is austere, clean, and beautiful.