During the Fall of 2013 I took a screenprinting class. I’m still not very good at it, but I did come out with a couple cool projects to show, and I learned something about art versus design.
For the first project our instructor wanted us to show the contrast between organic and geometric forms. I used the X from the XX album cover and drew sea life inspired organisms growing off of it – as if the X had been floating in some other worldly sea for many years.
For the last project of the quarter we were to take our screenprinting to the next level creating a 3D object or sculpture with screenprinting and try to communicate something important with it. I was sitting in class trying to come up with ideas and I kept being disctracted by my phone, getting emails from work, notifications and texts etc. and I realized I could turn that into something. I was a slave to my phone in that moment. I felt like I had to answer emails from work because I had a smartphone. The idea that smart phones make our lives easier and more enjoyable was what I wanted to challenge, because a lot of times they seem to do the exact opposite. The way I executed this idea was creating an iPhone out of paper that was beautiful, colorful and nice looking on the outside sufrace, but the screen, buttons and speakers, (all the points of contact with the user,) are pure black.
This class was in the art department, not the design department, and I learned something very important in taking it. There are some major differences between art and design, while there is a lot of overlap, I much prefer design.
In art it seems you can’t ever tell anyone their work is bad, or that their solution is wrong, because it’s so much about the artist’s own interpretation, while in design, there can be good solutions and bad solutions, right and wrong ways of doing things. There is information to organize and there are ideas to communicate and we as designers know how to do this well and we will speak our minds when we see a design that is not doing this well. Art on the other hand is so open ended. I don’t mean to demean artists or say there aren’t some really great and talented artists out there, (even in Spokane there are some really talented artists,) it’s just not a good fit for me.