Austin Cooper, It Is Warmer Down Below,
1924, Poster, The London Transport Museum
Artists associated with The London Underground around the 1900’s, were considered ‘modernists’ for their contemporary/cubist approach to art (Eskilson, 2012, p. 146). Modern art was typically described as artist’s shift in ideas and pursuit to make ‘new’ art (Art Story, 2018). Due to this limiting stylistic approach, artist’s had difficulty finding work (Eskilson, 2012, p. 146). Around this time, the London Underground was one of the only dependable venues for modernist graphic designers to seek employment (Eskilson, 2012, p. 146).
This poster done by Austin Cooper demonstrates an awareness of the orphist “colour cubism,” and depicts an abstracted/geometric representation of a blazing fire using “cubist facets” (Eskilson, 2012, p. 149). However, this is all a matter of perception – and perception can be easily manipulated by a number of factors. Such as ‘lexical-gustatory synesthesia.’ This rare condition involves individuals who “associate words or objects with taste, smell, or food” (Mclaughlin & Neal, 2016). With this in mind, I will explain my experience of Cooper’s poster with lexical-gustatory synesthesia.
Immediately as a I stare at the work, my mouth fills with the fruity taste of Wrigley’s Starbursts. Due to the posters orphist colour palette (bright warm colours) – I attribute it to the sweet fruity flavours of these tangy candies. Not to mention that the geometric forms mirror the taffy’s shape. As I read the text, everything starts off chewy and lemony. However, as I work my way up the page, the red adjusts the taste to a strawberry flavor. This lingers for bit, due to its abundance of red on the page. Slowly it deviates, and begins to taste like cheap artificial cherry. As I reach the top of the page, it changes again. This time to a sugary grape taffy. As my eye gets led over the piece, the cycle begins anew.
Please refer to the chart below.
Can You Hear Colors? (TEST). Perf. Rhett Mclaughlin and Link Neal. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj7vukZT9sI>.
Eggebeen, Janna. Lecture Slides from VISD-2006-001 Graphic Design Hist-20th Cent. OCAD U, 2018.
Eskilson, Stephen. Graphic Design: A New History. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2012. Print.
“Modern Art – Modern Art Terms and Concepts.” The Art Story. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2018. <http://www.theartstory.org/definition-modern-art.htm>.
| S Y N E S T H E S I A |. Perf. Adam Neely. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAqyw606WQQ>.
What Color Is Tuesday? Exploring Synesthesia – Richard E. Cytowic. Perf. Richard E. Cytowic. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRbebvoYqI>.