Masking Emotional Creativity

Mask-tongue

What an unusual and intriguing exhibit. Emotions on display.

Extraordinary.

When I first saw some of these works in an article, I thought “how inspiring!” So, I wanted to share. Creativity, as this blog illustrates, comes in a variety of executions. Even though digital seems to be everywhere these days, I find it refreshing to see exhibits like this one in London that showcase a traditional form of creativity – in paper.

The upcoming 2018 London Design Biennale will be devoted to the theme of ‘Emotional States’. National entries will explore how design affects every aspect of our lives – the way we live and how we live – and influences our very being, emotions and experiences.

For the second consecutive edition, Pentagram, the world’s largest independently-owned design studio, has created the visual identity and promotional materials for the Biennale. As with the previous identity, a restricted colour palette of orange, black and white is used.

In response to the theme of ‘Emotional States’ and taking inspiration from Charles Darwin’s seven universal emotions, Pentagram created and commissioned a series of arresting masks, handmade by Wakefield-based paper artist Andy Singleton and photographed by London-based John Ross.

Mask1

A universal phenomenon that spans centuries, masks have been used to interpret and illustrate the beautiful, the grotesque, the sublime – and everything else in between. Pentagram’s aim was to create a series of masks that could subtly, yet coherently, communicate this diverse range of emotional states.

Pentagram decided to use paper – supplied by G.F Smith – to create the final masks, owing to both its flexibility as a material, and its capacity to inspire intimacy from the intricate nature of its craft. Working with paper-artist Andy Singleton in an iterative process of trial and error, the final form of each mask was defined, and subsequently sculpted.

The resulting avant-garde masks, photographed by John Ross, bring the Biennale’s theme to life in a way that is independent of race, gender and age. The striking visual identity delivers captivating visuals that have been applied across the event’s online banners, print, outdoor, social media and marketing materials – which were also designed by Pentagram.

Masks 1

Masks 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more about the upcoming September exhibit and

Pentagram’s involvement.

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Creativity Tip # 25: Problems and Puzzles

It could start out looking like a wall. A very tall wall. How do I get over it? Around it? Through it?

Problems are like that, as are various creative challenges that aren’t yet fully explored.

Or that have just been dumped in your lap.

Overcoming them – getting through or around that wall – is where creativity of the mind comes in. Think time. What to do first? How are you sizing up this “behemoth?”

Think of it as a big puzzle but you can’t even begin to solve it – and create something wonderful – until you break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Maybe you start by just jotting down some thoughts and questions in no special order. Don’t try to write the first page, for example, or even the opening paragraph. Don’t try to design the entire project; just play with a couple of images or design elements.

Do whatever you can to trigger your creative juices. They’ll take care of the rest. If you’re lucky, they may lead you to more questions and, subsequently, some refined answers. That’s where your contact on this project comes into play.

Don’t be intimidated by the enormity of the project, aka, puzzle. Concentrate on one piece at a time.

You may not notice it at first but when you do this, your mind begins to relax. You feel less overwhelmed than when you started. Note that I didn’t say “calm.” That will come but you’ll probably feel more invigorated because progress is being made, and your creative juices are flowing.

When this happens, your mind may also take you on a path that “plays with” or addresses other pieces of this puzzle. Go with it.

Before you know it, a clear picture will start to emerge; a composite of all the puzzle pieces.

One piece at a time. Thoughtfully.