—Anaïs Nin, (1903-1977)
Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Ljubljana, Skopje… take your pick.
Yugoslavia came onto my radar when I was 10 years old (living in Switzerland at the time) as a result of a pen-pal who I corresponded with in the northerly city of Novi Sad (now Serbia) on the Danube. On boxing day the following year (I was 11, it was 1965) I boarded the Orient Express in Basel for a 32-hour epic train-ride to go visit my friend “Rosie” on the other side of the Iron Curtain (I still can’t believe how much trust my parents placed in me to do this on my own—hard to imagine in today’s over-protective context). Needless to say, I had a blast, I learned a lot (including some significant life-lessons), and I was enamored by almost everything I encountered.
During the late 1960s we would occasionally make day trips into Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) while on family camping trips in nearby Austria. During the 1980s, I visited designer friends in the Zagreb area (now Croatia) with my wife, and spent some fine holiday days in/around Bled (now Slovenia). Later on, I was invited to contribute works to and then serve on design juries of ZGRAF (including one visit in 1991 in the midst of what had become a civil war). The last time I was in (former) Yugoslavia was during the Icograda events in Zagreb, Croatia, in April 2001.
I’m looking forward to another visit to these remarkable Balkan lands some day soon… in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the vintage nostalgia here.
—Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007)
These ‘fine toys for boys’ feature the ironic statement “Not recommended for children under 36 months” on the packaging—manufactured in the 1970s by Matchbox, long part of Mattel, Inc., the world’s largest producer of plastic entertainment for children. Mattel is responsible for a virtual empire of toys for budding minds including the ever-empowering Barbie dolls that help girls grow up to become the well-rounded, well-mannered women we all know they have the potential to be, as well as the plethora of toxic Chinese-made toys under the Fisher-Price name [Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street] recalled of late due to hazards arising from the use of lead-based coloration.
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
pour la création des visuels
du colloque “Share/d Heritage”
organisé par la Scam*
à la Bibliothèque royale
autour de la question
par les créateurs contemporains
de la numérisation
et de la mise en ligne
des patrimoines culturel.
(work in progress—more here)
A. A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)
Keith Martin is a remarkably talented designer and illustrator. I know him through the GDC (Society of Graphic Designers of Canada), our country’s national professional association, as well as from award-shows in which his work appears (including some of the most beautiful stamps every created for Canada Post). Keith is also known to those in our field as an outstanding teacher, and a helpful mentor.
Today he posted a link to the GDC Listserv (an ongoing conversation among Canadian designers that’s been going for over a decade now) along with some helpful advice regarding “keeping life in vector drawings.” I was blown away by the examples of his work that he pointed to in a Flickr set (here) and felt this was just too good not to share. (Hope you’re OK with that, Keith :-)
Here’s how he described what you see above: “I think it is quite common for thumbnails to loose their energy/life when translated to vector. One way I have found to break out of that is to use a drawing tablet. I keep “drawing” the gesture repeatedly very quickly and then use the bits that work out. If you have never used one there is a bit of a learning curve, but I have found it to be an indispensable tool. Drawing with it (a tablet and stylus) using pressure sensitivity is a great way to capture that energy… here are some examples of my fluid vector work.”
“When I was doing these drawings I built a friendship with Kathryn Ricketts, the owner, dancer, choreographer of the dance school where I did these drawings. She was doing a series of performances where she improvised a dance performance with other art types (singers, musicians, poets,etc). What she created on stage was a conversation between herself and the other person through both artist’s disciplines. So I ended up doing a number of these with her where I was on stage with my laptop and a digital projector and I literally drew on her and the stage around her as she improvised dance movement from my drawings. Between us we had some interesting conversations without a word being spoken. We did this all over Vancouver, notably at the Chan Centre, the Vancouver Centre for Dance, and we even did a couple of the Fuse nights at the VAG (Vancouver Art Gallery).”
Images: part of a series of gestural sketches by Keith Martin of dancers in situ, done while watching dance students practice their craft. “These are quick 1 to 2 minute sketches using a stylus and tablet with a laptop, with the drawing program Adobe Illustrator.” All sketches were done at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada as part of the Salon Series, all are © Keith Martin, 2010.