31 March 2010

The Wow Moment

TSB Work in Progress (Feb 2010)

TSB Work in Progress (Feb 2010)

I made a new friend at the annual Artforce awards where she was nominated for one of the award categories. (I wasn't -- just attended out of interest to see the leading designs.) We decided to collaborate on a new traffic signal box (TSB) design. This is really exciting and fun as I've never collaborated with someone before. It's a different way to work, bouncing ideas off each other and changing things around like a sliding Chinese puzzle.

I've learned some new ways of composition from her such as tracing, photocopying, cutting and gluing. I typically do things the hard way -- freehand sketching with old-school erasing and starting over if I don't get it right. Last night we even used whiteout to "do over" some areas and cut apart white paper and a spare color copy of the image to do over other parts.

We've gotten together several times now -- usually I head over to her place after the kids are in bed. Last night I went over to help finalise the design, thinking that we just had a few things to firm up, and we ended up changing the design some more... and I stayed until one in the morning. The design is now finally ready for submission -- it already looks different from these photos -- keep your eyes peeled for the final result!

Last Friday I also brought a pile of the working materials and the mock-up to Anya's class and gave a short talk (after morning tea and before the teddy bear's picnic... but that's another story...) The aim of the talk was to illustrate how you go from imagining a design, to planning it and working it out. I'd downloaded Hokusai's The Great Wave and a swath of paintings by other artists who inspired us, like Lin Onus and Friedensreich Hundertwasser. It was the best moment when the first image flashed up (projected on the wall from the teacher's laptop) and all the kids gasped, "Wow!" They continued to "Wow" each successive image as if watching fireworks and I felt thrilled to be connecting them to the wonders of art. Anya had a proud moment as well, when I mentioned that some of the animals in the design were from her drawings.

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