Recently asked to be a part of an alumni art show at my old high school Kenmore East, in conjunction with their 50th anniversary celebration this year, I was left without a clue as to what I should submit. Suggested to send over a design piece I had done, the prospect just didn’t appeal due to the fact that putting a logo or an ad on the wall never really screamed out ‘art’ to me as far as a gallery setting. And if I wanted to show a creative fine art piece, I’d either have to whip something up quick or dig out some old college project, aged five years or more. So, I needed to improvise.
Thinking about what I could do to meld the two art forms, the idea struck to find Buffalo locations that I had photos of and make them into a commodity by branding a graphical representation of each. The beauty of this was that I wouldn’t have to do much heavy lifting, but still could let the creative juices flow and craft something brand new.
With that came Buffalo, Consumerized—I still am unsure that title even makes sense. The piece consists of images of four locales cropped uniquely and superimposed with both a logo and design motif, making the photographs double up as a sort of poster advertisement. The photos used of the Central Terminal, The Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, Dipson’s North Park Theatre, and the Richardson Complex were taken during the past 6+ years, and the logos for BECHS and Dipson were actually created as college projects. The icons for the other two were designed and each frame composed as such. It was a great artistic outlet that I may continue on with, doing a few each year to increase the series.
They are printed on Kodak Professional Metallic stock from adorama.com and framed in pairs. I then sent them off for the show along with an artist statement that I made sure was as pompous and self-indulgent as I could make it. It’s an art show … that’s what’s expected, right?
The KE Formers Art Exhibition opens May 6th from 5:00pm to 7:00pm with an awards ceremony at 5:30pm, and continues on in the Ken East porch area until May 14th. I’m looking forward to going as this is my idea of a high school reunion. I get to see some new work from old friends Alyson O’Connor, Leah MacVie, and Deanna Saracki among others and, heck, maybe they’ll even be in attendance.
And for those bored and interested in the aforementioned artist’s statement, enjoy:
The main impetus of my design style is to not only create an image that stands for the product, but to also enhance it. By using clean-cut geometric forms and pared-down graphics, I try to stylishly represent the essence of the project at hand—creating an icon that’s memorable and grabs the eye. Photography only adds another layer, giving the graphic a visual representation to play off against, an indelible image to fully connect the two in the viewer’s mind. Kenmore East’s Art Department helped me to discover this outlook into a medium that only consisted of paint, pencil, and clay at the time. My first experience with computer art and graphics took place within these walls, completely changing the way I looked at the world as a result. Everything is now a breathtaking angle to photograph or a piece of history worth glorifying; a memento mori capturing the exact instance that overtook you, melding the past with the present as something to go back to even if it’s long gone.