Anecdote of the Jar by Wallace Stevens
I placed a jar in Tennessee,   
And round it was, upon a hill.   
It made the slovenly wilderness   
Surround that hill. 
The wilderness rose up to it, 
And sprawled around, no longer wild.   
The jar was round upon the ground   
And tall and of a port in air. 
It took dominion everywhere.   
The jar was gray and bare. 
It did not give of bird or bush,   
Like nothing else in Tennessee.
I take this to be that the jar defined the world around it because the jar was not of the natural world. Wouldn't these signs, by binding the city under a common label, give name to them outside nature? Don't we do that anyway by telling stories? The words we use become little jars that make the world around us resonate with a new vision.
My work exists at the intersection between an Ed Fella type of decorative hand-work and what I see in a type of cutting edge, Neville Brody way of working where I take a (paraphrased) quote of his, "I'm interested in ways of communicating, not in communication." In these pieces, there is a push-pull between legibility and imagability. Typography can be about what can be read, versus how it is read and the goal of decoration is to embellish a thought enough to motivate and reward the viewer for the level of attention paid.
This approach to an image based way of laying out text, letting the flow of the pen suggest alignments rather than relying on a steady baseline, opens text up to expressive capabilities for a beginning typography student. We have an assignment in which they have to take an interview (or something else with mutliple speakers) and illustrate the tone, volume, and emotions of the speakers through visual means. I use my work in the classroom as an extreme example of what is possible to do with type, to find that communicative part between Ed Fella's and Neville Brody's approaches.
Student Work
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