Graphic Alchemy with Alexis Labs

Category: Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography

I was really chuffed with myself when I thought of the word alchemy for the title of this article.That’s because when looking at Alexis Labs that’s exactly how I view the work, as alchemy. Yes, it’s graphic design, yes it’s print, but it’s all sorts of other things too. Thoughts, personalities, theories and aesthetic’s jumble together in the work of Alexis Labs into some sort of unusual, visual potion.

As the definition goes, alchemy is a process by which paradoxical results are achieved, or incompatible elements combined with no obvious rational explanation. It was that thought of rationality in graphic design, and the challenge that Alexis Labs have laid out for us with non rational graphic design, that I find really interesting. Challenging, contemplative and very interesting.

Alexis Labs are a graphic design and digital arts community at one our supporting institutions, Santa Fe University of Art and Design. From what I can gather Alexis Labs is student initiated and have been producing work and exhibiting as a collective. Blurring the boundaries between function, abstraction and thought in the realm of design, the group have been producing imagery that for me is on the right side of contemporary graphic design. The above images have been taken from Kindling, a traditional newspaper format that has been hijacked and subverted by young eager designers. As a regular feature at SFUAD, Kindling is a bit grimy with all the perfect imperfections of ink on newsprint and is distributed freely around the area. I just love this concept and really enjoy Alexis Labs’ work in (what I think) is their latest edition.

Other than what I’ve mentioned above, I can’t find out too much out about the group, but I’m determined to bring you more. In the meantime though I recommend checking out their Tumblr page. There’s a lot of good work there, especially their redesigns of the My Own Private Idaho film posters.

Logan Bradley

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Everything Comes Broken @ SFUAD

Category: Fine Arts, Photography

I just love it when you discover work that is thought provoking, fascinating and visually engaging all at the same time. Santa Fe University of Art and Design, one of Frontier’s supporting creative institutions, recently opened Everything Comes Broken, an exhibition of Kevin O’Connell’s photography as part of their photography department’s spring exhibition series. And what a goodie it is.

O’Connell’s landscapes were new to me but immediately captured my attention with their gorgeous, spacious and minimalist approach. This is my type of landscape photography. The milkiness of each image, the strong, clear horizon lines, and the cropping, centering and perfect composition of the industrial subjects make for some pretty engaging and visually stunning work. Initially, a clear commentary on environmental energy is the takeout from the photographs, but on delving a bit deeper into O’Connell himself, a fogginess of intention comes into play. Separate to his photography, O’Connell works as an engineering consultant on water projects and is well versed on environmental and engineering issues of the American West. As an engineer, his fascination with the massive machinery of these modern windmills is apparent, but as an environmentalist, a wariness of the implementation of this new modern energy underlies each image. I think that’s what is so engaging with these photographs. There is obvious admiration, but admiration with an underlying sense of apprehension. What unknown outcomes will this new energy bring us? What hidden agenda is there behind this modern icon of optimism? What thought has there been behind it’s intrusion on our horizon lines? All poignant questions and thought-provokingly clear in O’Connell’s clean and beautiful depictions.

Everything Comes Broken is also accompanied by an exhibition of student work from the SFUAD department, which unfortunately I couldn’t find any imagery of. The department however is a top notch and has just refocused it’s degree to incorporate commercial, journalistic and fine art photography as part of their base. We’ve featured work from the department before, check out what’s new here:

Everything Comes Broken runs at SFUAD until May 17 2014

Logan Bradley

Photographys: Kevin O’Connell

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Study options

Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Photography
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Photography

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