Sara Boris

Sara Boris came on Friday to our Hot House as a graphic designer guest. She is also a tutor in the Press studio. Her talk was full of useful tips on how to enter and keep a career as a graphic designer. She worked for the Barbican for two years and a half. It was encouraging to know that they didn’t accept her first application but she entered in her second try. She pointed with this that we don’t always sell ourselves in the right way so is worth to redo an application and try again. After a while in the Barbican working as an internal designer she wanted to do more things within the company and for this she convinced the curator that she could do more such as creating a visual identity for the company through her designs. Then after talking about her experience at the Barbican she gave us a tour through the many jobs and works she has done in her career as a graphic designer. The last one was with Phaidon publishers until February 2015. In this company she worked with different artists such as Toni Urgeres, illustrator for children and erotic books, among others. If I have to put a name to her presentation it would be “efficiency”. In around fifty minutes she delivered so much information within the graphic design field, her work, experience, and all this in a very understandable and entertaining way.

What I most liked was he studio “Le theatre del graphics” in which people were invited to go in and talk to her. This seems to be linked to her past as a student of theatre. Also at the very end she talked about what was “her” work, meaning not for any company but for her as an independent artist. In this section she showed a rug made with one of her designs. And this triggered my imagination… I’d love to design rugs with my illustrations! I will definitely explore in this field. And there was another section called “not work” in which she showed things she likes. Here was a little treasure: a collection of old books from her grandfather.

grandfather collection

The images for this presentation had a general air of tidiness and a “serious sense of playfulness” She claimed to be a fan of black and white.



The World goes Pop

We visited The World Goes Pop at The Tate Gallery yesterday. This exhibition was showing the visual art response on the 1960s-70s to main social concerns at that time such as censorship, consumerism, the role of women, war and civil rights, social imbalances, tradition, sexual liberation, etc. Pop Art expresses itself in a strong way, living the viewer with a feeling of confrontation between the human and the establishment. When walking around the rooms I had a sense of gratefulness for the people who fight at that time through art trying to leave a much better world. We all know that there’s still a long road to make of this world a right place for everyone, yet they did this “art fight” and this was meaningful to the point of seeing it at The Tate fifty years later. Pop art flourishing coincides with the Vietnam War and artist across the world responded to it in their work, often focussing on America’s role in the conflict. Rough, tough and harsh images in a very bright and sometimes even in candy colours. I noticed the much use of the pink colour in different tones. Even the booklet is pink! The fashion of this art is a cocktail of innocence and violence.

In contrast to the main line of the general style of the exhibition I found a room dedicated to the works of Eulália Grau and Joe Tilson. They addressed using printed textile materials the political and abuse violence in Spain in 1972-73 when Franco was in his last years. I could feel the tension in this room by the light and the works which are mainly black and white. There was a sense of seriousness and gravity in comparison to the others rooms even though the theme of the whole exhibition was the same for that period everywhere. I, somehow, got the impression that this is the expression of how things were seeing in Spain at that time. When Spanish refer to the Franco period we always call it “the black Spain”.


Then, I was “called” by the video of Keiichi Taanami, Crayon Angel. Keiichi combines images of some old Nipponese drawings and animations, pictures of Japanese families and explosions at the time of the Second World War. The general tone of this video is orange reminding the firebombing. The sound are always heartbeats and sometimes on top of it you can hear the war street alarms and a scared voice just saying “ah, ah, ah, ah!” Quite disturbing.

Nicola L, produced the most graceful protest with a sofa with the shape of a woman. The head , arms and legs where the cushions and you could put then in different places of the base of the sofa. This work was the female body as an object.

Isabel Oliver had a series of printings in which she makes a point on the role of the woman. My favourite one was “Beauty Products”. There’s a woman standing up with a semi-transparent silky pink dress. She looks like a giant in the middle of millions of beauty products placed on the floor. These products are display until the end of the horizon. The face of the woman is a bit concerned… no wonder!!

And so, there were many interesting things to see and think about in this exhibition. I have never really sunk into the pop style. It push me away the strident style. Yet, I was really happy to see, think and feel this sense of gratefulness for these artists.

Of weirdness and magic.

Delfina and I decided to work in this project together for different reasons. The most important was because we both were really excited about the request of the brief: find three weird things in our Local Universe and make a narrative of it. Weird things keep us awake taking us out of our ordinary life…. as much as magic does! So off we went after the class in our search for weird things. Two of the three things were situated in a street closed to Brick Lane. The first thing we encountered was a strange shape in a brick wall. The bricks were pushed inside the wall as if it was a magic door that would open with a magic spell inviting strange beings from another world into this one.

pared magica

The second weird thing was a satanic car parked in the same street. We felt these two things were waiting for us to use them in our project.

coche maldito

The third thing was “The Bridge”: a coffeshop situated in Shoreditch. This is an amazing place that one would never imaging when passing by what the inside is like, especially the top floor. It takes you to another time and another country. We both agree that this place absolutely needed to be in our story.

cafe misterioso

cafe misterioso 2

cafe misterioso 3

In our return home, a more than one hour bus ride, we articulated our story with much enthusiasm. For the rest of the days until the handing in there were lots of calls, emails and messages about the many bits of the making of the video. We did all the photos in the same day. Our story has three characters. Ashley, Delfina’s boyfriend, was happy to be in our video and also to take the pictures of Delfina and me in The Bridge. Delfina knew how she wanted to dress in the video. The use of the blue wig gives the story a bit more of weirdness.  As for my character, dressed as Madame Iris in the old fashion cafe, I wanted to have a look between a gipsy and the actress Dita Parlo in the French film L’Atalante by Jean Vigo, when she is under the water as a spirit. For the talisman we used a doll I made some time ago. We added to it a couple of big ears that I had in my studio: we wanted everything very weird!!

munequita talisman

Then it was the editing of the pictures in PhotoShop and the video in Adobe Premiere. Delfina was mainly working in this as she is more familiar than me with this program. I decided to learn in my free time more about this program. I saw in this project the possibilities and the fun of making videos.

One of the most important things in the whole process of making this video was the fun we had. Somehow I feel this is transmitted to the viewer. I hope you enjoyed watching it!


Cat asking for money

I was enthusiastic to start an animation video for this brief as I am always with a new brief. Although the process is usually very similar: I have been giving a brief with which I became very enthusiastic, so I became easily full of ideas. The difficult part is to put them into action, to make them happen. I, generally, struggle here because I tend not to get the easy path; I just wonder why I do it like this! Anyway, I am habitually happy with the results, not so much with the outcome as much as the process of learning and the experience. I always end thinking “this could have been much better if I did this, or that” but thing is that I know that now I know better for next time. Time at university flies, I wish we have more time with briefs to fully deep into new things. I feel like when you are starting to understand something is time to move on. On this brief we were asked to do a video in which we need it to ask for money. The example to follow was I realised that I need nothing! So I couldn’t possibly make a serious video asking for money. I thought of asking for someone in need or maybe a charity. But I wasn’t sure about this since I wanted first to be sure I can make a it with some decent result before offering my skills to someone else. So this video is a kind of testing. Is about one of my cat asking for £500 to buy a cool strong box made by a designer to play with and to sleep in. I learned how to use a program called Movie Maker which I will use more in the future and I know the next one will be much better! This seems to be the easier way of making a video. Now I am also chasing the adobe premier pro which is more sophisticated. The only problem now (and again) is time. Anyway, is in my list and it will happen! The video has a narrative in which I tried to expose in one minute the introduction; a playful cat that loves boxes. Followed by the body of the narrative; cardboard boxes are too weak and they don’t last. So the cat is sad and the conclusion is the cat asking for help to buy a cool £500 box made by a designer. I think I have been successful in making very clear the whole narrative in one minute. Yet, I wish I had more than one minute to expand scenes of the drawings. Also more time to make this video. Unfortunately animations are a really time consuming work and what you see in one minute is the work of days -and nights. For this animation I ended using slightly less than 300 images. I started with handwriting messages and I ended in the last two days having to change it with fonts from PhotoShop because of the lack of time. I choose MoolBoran because of its curves and diamonds endings. I thought this gave the drawings a friendly turn. I decided to change sizes and colours to make the message playful. The video has at the end a dedicatory to all my cats and the credits: the song of The cure and me. As for title instead of a name I put the cat walking from the left and disappearing in the right side of the image.

The music definitely it had to go without lyrics so the viewer could concentrate in the delivered message. I looked for songs related to cats and… Bingo! The Cure with its Lovecats sounded perfect! I found one Lovecats song without lyrics for Karaoke which was exactly what I need it.

I wrote the previous words the day before the handing in of the video. It was late in the night, I was really tired, just those moments when the big mistakes happens, so I decided to leave the post for next day, which it came to be two days. But here I am, back to write about the feedback.

The video seemed to like, people smiled and laugh. The feedback from Cecile is that the typography was not matching the beautiful drawings. She suggested changing it, which I hope I can do, only if I have enough time since my studio and dissertation are highly demanding and revisiting an animation means a good lots of hours. I wish I can do it!! Let’s see. Up to now the most important for me is that I feel ready and inspired for a new animation adventure when I have more time.


As for my colleagues I saw really good things. Some of them I really enjoyed like Angie’s video about animals. It had bright colours and a great message on animal awareness. Also Joana Santos showed a video with a girl playing the piano. Images were taking from inside and outside the room through a window. It related to me about the dissertation I’m writing about the theory of flow and education on crafts and arts. Very professional and elegant look. Tara’s video was really funny and I love the touch of simplicity although it might have been complicated to make it, this is something that most of the times the viewer doesn’t know. I liked also from Eduardo’s video the intriguing sound; the touch and clapping of things. And there were many other good ones. I realized seeing others people’s videos that I thought the brief for the video was restricted to one minute and it seems that the rest of the videos went from one minute to around three, so maybe I was wrong in this. All together a great morning!

Sign Language

On Tuesday 3rd of November we had a presentation in our signage work. That took us the entire morning and part of the afternoon. It was interesting to see what kind of signs each one of us search with the same brief and how differently we develop ideas. Nicolas gave us good insights in response to our work and the presentation and critic passed by very pleasantly.

For our presentation I collected in our local Universe images of signage such as posters, official and non official signs, graffiti, etc. During the presentation I showed my sketch books and talked about my own reflections about these signs and their messages. Here are some examples of my research:

About semiotics these two examples recall easily England and “Good Luck”



As for colours, when a warning of danger I seem to find always yellow and black together. Might this be why I was so scared of bees in my childhood?


Red and black are use to give orders like Stop or prohibition. Also are the colours of very strong ideolical political parties. The design of non-smoking sign is extremely strong because it makes a cross with the cigarrete.


In clarity of messages I brought some examples. Here are two: the first one for unclarity: the image is packed, the sentences are going in all directions, the design is packed. As the next images is an example of claruty and good design; half of the text is missing yet we understand the message at first sight. Less is more!



I feel the same when seen graffiti… the less is in the message the more you can get from it.



You can deliver an official message in an unofficial or semiofficial way so that is more friendly and seem to be more inclusive to everyone:


Handwritten messages can be seem more personal and makes the viewer feel envolved or rejected by the advertiser. This one had kareoke before. Now you can choose from other things and also is welcoming you!


So these and many others were in my sketchbook. As for my design I decided to do the parking sign in a more welcoming way with a bit of colours and no writting as the brief asked. This could be more suitable for schools, neibourhoods with families and children, etc. This design was made a bit fast yet I feel it responds to the brief.

My parking sign


At the end of the session we were given the new brief. This time is about weird things in our local universe. Nicolas gave us a tour through different authors. I especially liked the videos of “Green Porno” by Isabella Rosellini. Last night I watched most of this collection from her as well as others.