Herbert Bayer and Bauhaus

Herbert Bayer and Bauhaus

101 years ago, Bauhaus was founded in Weimar, german. Despite its short existence, it managed to influence the world’s aesthetic for a century. 

The minimalist aesthetic we indulge in elaborating on, like Muji, Apple, with their clean, basic features, and even the classic Kubrick 2001 space odyssey, all took inspiration from what Bauhaus left behind. hilton-1

“The refinement of combining fine art, architecture and decorative art into a total work of art with meaning for future civilizations was lost by the mid 19th century when industrial development and emerging mass consumption created a huge gap between the spiritual world and the material world. Gone were unified works of art like the medieval cathedrals, built by generations of artisans, craftsmen, and sculptors in the service of the church and its ideals. ”(212 Lerner)

In the 19th century, the architecture design of its time pursues the most luxurious and pompous decoration. The more spectacular it is, the more it ignores the real needs of the general public, and it becomes a symbol of inequality. Also, society have grown mature and rigid due to industrialization, and the human division of labor was clear. The rigid division of labor led to a separation between people and society.

Under this background, groups of artists, architects were starting to realize the problem of society. 

They hated the hierarchical order left by the decadent system of the old empire. The hierarchy reflects in economics and society, also permeated in many fields such as architecture, art, and design. Their goal is to break the boundary between art and industry, create art that can meet the requirement of the modern age. 

“An essential principle which formed the basis for the Bauhaus is expressed in a few words taken from Gropius’s statement in 1923: ‘…the old dualistic world concept which envisaged the ego in opposition to the universe is rapidly losing ground. In its place is the rising idea of a universal unity in which all opposing force exists in a state of absolute balance.’” (81 Pritchard) In 1919, with the purpose of cultivating a group of artists who can understand the concept above, the school of Bauhaus was created. And the unique way of education challenged the basic education system. 

Bauhaus may have more influences on architecture compared to other fields, however, it did influence graphic design in some extend. Among all the graphic designers who took inspiration from Bauhaus school, Herbert Bayer is one of the most well-known ones. He was famous for designing the universal font, written on the Bauhaus school building.competition-win-bauhaus-stay_dezeen_2364_col_0-2-852x1278

I think that the Bauhaus movement should be in the textbook because unlike the former art styles that have disappeared in the modern days, Bauhaus is still influencing the design aesthetic today. The advocation of simplifying the complex, practical art style and concept made its products last, with no trace of age. Assumably Bauhaus will still inspire in the future.

Lerner, Fern. “Foundations for Design Education: Continuing the Bauhaus Vorkurs Vision.” Studies in Art Education, vol. 46, no. 3, 2005, pp. 211–226. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3497081. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

PRITCHARD, JACK. “GROPIUS, THE BAUHAUS AND THE FUTURE.” Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol. 117, no. 5150, 1969, pp. 75–94. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41370286. Accessed 16 Apr. 2020.

American comic books: diving into propaganda

Comic books have a rich history in North America. One could say they are a cousin to graphic design, because of their marriage of text and imagery. Despite this, they are not considered in the textbook Graphic Design: A New History, by Eskilson (2019). 

For a kind of graphic design devoured by many a kid, teen, and adult since the 1940’s, comics have had an impressive influence throughout society. In fact, they were used as a vehicle for propaganda during World War II (Scott 57). Captain America comics were introduced in 1941, and in the first issue’s cover the character Captain America is seen punching Adolf Hitler in the face (see figure 1). Issue 58 of Superman toted a cover with a banner stating how war bonds and stamps can help the war effort in America (see figure 2). The patriotic themes and heroism of these comic book characters — those who protect and serve the people of America — were a perfect companion for American propaganda, providing the youth a visceral but appropriate understanding of what a ‘good American’ was, and who their enemies were (Scott 57). 


Figure 1. Captain America seen here in his first issue, punching Hitler in the face as a good American would.


Figure 2. Superman shown helping to print out posters about how any American can help the war effort.

The slogans seen in the Superman and Batman comics were a way to encourage average Americans that they too could support the war effort of their people (see figure 2 & 3). These covers denote superheros fighting hard against their enemies or in the war, suggesting that if you were to do as these characters say (buy war bonds and stamps), you would be fighting the war too.


Figure 3. Batman and Robin on adventures to show Americans how they are helping out their soldiers.

But what if you couldn’t or wouldn’t do these things? Like the posters created to swell patriotic pride for World War I that guilted men into signing up for global fights, these comics provided the dark understanding that if you do not do what these superheroes do, you are unpatriotic and not at all like the beloved superheroes that help out as an American should (see figure 4) (Eskilson 115).


Figure 4. Savile Lumley’s WWI poster (1915). – Daddy, what did you do in the war?

Comics also disseminated the face of the ugly enemy in a more modern format for youthful readers(Scott 54). Unlike the serious and/or horrifying appearances illustrated for past wartime posters, here were bumbling fools and comically drawn ghouls. Different but similar, the purpose of creating negative (and racist) appearances of enemies was done for the exact same reason it was done in any other way — to sow the concept of good versus evil (ibid.) (see figure 5).


Figure 5. The Fighting Yank‘s cover depicting racist caricatures of the Japanese army.

In particular, the concept of a patriotically-dressed comic book character was an American invention, providing a way for readers to connect with their country and its ideal beliefs (Scott 56). In line with this, Captain America toted an American flag themed shield and wore an American flag themed body suit (see figure 1). Another hero dressed similarly was Wonder Woman with her red, white, and blue costume with a bald eagle as a chest emblem (see figure 6). To wear the flag would be a clear signal that these characters lived and breathed American values. The bald eagle was yet another signal to viewers of this, and characters would be seen holding one or even, riding one (see figures 6 & 7)!


Figure 6. Wonder Woman lasso-ing enemies.


Figure 7. Batman and Robin seen riding a bald eagle – a symbol of American pride and patriotism.

Delving into American comics and their impact on society would be a boon to the textbook. There is a rich history that dips into war-time propaganda specifically aimed at the American youth, as well as a demonstration of patriotic imagery that resounded to the people of the time. Looking into these comics would provide our class another view into the way propaganda was disseminated into different times, that varied from the usual posters and flyers see typically shown in class.

Cord, Scott A.  Comics and ConflictNaval Institute Press, 2014.

Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: A New History. Yale University Press, 2019.

“Patriotism.” Word War II: Comics and Propaganda,


Swiss graphic designer, Lora Lamm

By: Gillian Reyes

Lora Lamm is a Swiss graphic designer best known for her 10 years of work when she lived in Milan during the post-war years from 1953 to 1963 after finishing her studies in Zurich, Switzerland.  During her time there, she found her own unique style by combining both Milanese and Swiss influences and design principles into her work. She did plenty of commissions designing posters, packaging and invitations for big brands, such as the La Rinascente, Pirelli and Elizabeth Arden, etc. in Milan.

pendulummagazine-findingloralammbybertaferrer lamm_scooter_cartello-1-e1580989382796

Her style seems optimistic and colourful, executed by the use of typography, illustration, collage and photography. She was free to conduct experiments in her design, hence the use of different typography in each of her work, ranging from sans serifs, grotesques, and to Bodoni and other serifs.  Her composition of having both a message and an image is very powerful since it “serves the purpose of communicating clearly and elegantly, with optimism and humour” (“A breath of fresh air”). Apparently, her Pirelli and La Rinascente employers at the time stated that her style is “a reflection of [her] own personality” (“A breath of fresh air”).

During her stay in Milan in post-war years, a design revolution took place between the Italians and the Swiss. Big companies and businesses like the  Pirelli, La Rinascente, Olivetti, Necchi and many others were open to experimentation in advertising as a result of the growing economy after WWII. They hired Swiss and Italian designers who brought forth unique designs that resulted from experiments and friendly competitions. Lora Lamm was one of the designers who stood out despite being in a “male-dominated creative atmosphere.” Berta F., a writer from the Pendulum Magazine, describes her views on designing: “She understood advertising is much more than just selling a product; it is mutual recognition between brand and public. It is also a dialogue, and she engaged – she still engages – in it with one very simple tool: proximity.” Due to this, she produced many advertisements with clear and concise compositions and messages that were understood by the audience.

Even with her accomplishments, she was written out of graphic design history books. One reason may have been because she distanced herself from other designers. Lora Lamm, herself, said, “I was working for Rinascente by day, and working for other clients by night; on holidays I went back to the Alps. Also, it was not easy in the 1950s for a young, single, foreign girl to join a crowd of male friends for bar evenings and design banter” (“A breath of fresh air”). Another reason could be that the AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale), a club of the world’s graphic designers, refused her membership.

Regardless, she is content with just being a good designer. When she went back to Switzerland, she resumed her career as a graphic designer, but stopped using the style she used in Milan since she felt that it was time to move on. Her past works will continue to be personal for her as it reflects the design revolution that took place in Milan.



F, Berta. “SWISS GRAPHIC DESIGN || Finding Lora Lamm.” Pendulum Magazine, Pendulum Magazine, 22 Sept. 2017, www.pendulummag.com/art/2017/9/21/swiss-graphic-design-finding-lora-lamm.

“A breath of fresh air.” Eye Magazine | Feature | A Breath of Fresh Air, www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/a-breath-of-fresh-air.

Seoul 1988 Olympics Designs

Due to the fact that our textbook is heavily focused on Western art history, I suggest that 1988 Seoul Olympics designs and one of the main designers, Kim Hyun to be a part of the textbook to allow students a wider vision and understandings in art history.


The Seoul 1988 Olympics was a huge turning point in the modern history of South Korea to significantly improve international reputation. However, shortly after the “Miracle of the Han River,” which was a national economic transformation after the Korean War, the design industry was yet to be fully ready to provide enough resources. The Olympics was when South Korean designers had to face their first international stage without much of preparation.


Fortunately, a designer Jo Yeongje suggested the government to form an Olympics design committee and directed the entire Seoul Olympics designs from 1981 to 1988 for seven years once 1988 Olympics was confirmed. The designers who participated in the committee later applied the earned skills and knowledges to their practice, which became a huge jump in Korean design industry. It also enhanced recognition of the power of design, which later allowed designers to be a part of planning division in national projects.



Seoul 1988 Olympics Logo Logo

The logo was inspired by Korean triskelion, a triple spiral motif consisting of three symmetrical swirls from a single point, to show traditional aesthetics of South Korea in a simplistic modern style. The visual elements are harmonious over all. Bold lines are used to form a circular pattern to echo the clarity of theme.



Seoul 1988 Olympics MascotMascot

Hodori, is the official mascot of the Seoul Olympics. It’s a simplified tiger figure – the national animal – wearing the logo on his neck, with a traditional hat that is used for a traditional dance on his head. The stylistic choice of the character was to portray the hospitable traditions of Korea in a friendly tone.



Seoul 1988 Olympics Poste


20th century Olympics posters were the essence of the contemporary design techniques. Though it was once centered in North America and Europe, starting with 1956 Melbourne Olympics, Olympics designs expanded its diversity adapting regional characteristics and aesthetics. The official poster is an image of a torch runner with diffusing light rays from the Olympics symbol above him.

Seoul 1988 Olympics utilized computer graphics which was considered innovative at that time. Due to technical issues, it was produced as a team unlike these days where most of the graphic work can be done by a single designer. The gradation of the rings were done by Cho Jonghyun , while the glowing rays were done by a Japanese designer, Kenda Etsuo. The torch runner was photographed by Hyungu Yu.


Designer, Kim Hyun

Seoul 1988 Olympics Mascot SketchSeoul 1988 Olympics sketch

“To me, design is a process of self-identification.”

Kim Hyum was born in Seoul, 1949. He designed Seoul Olympics mascot in 1988, then designed Daejeon Expo mascot in 1991. He founded a design company in 1984, later creating logos for LG, GS, BC card, and the Korean Constitutional court.

He won the design competition of the Seoul Olympics mascot Hodori, eventually became one of the most important figures in Korean design industry. Hodori was thoroughly supported by the government and was loved by the citizens. A variety of goods were produced including cartoons, animation and even a bank plan named after the mascot.

Seoul Olympics Committee opened a public competition for a national symbol to design the mascot. Few of the national preferences included magpie, Korean Jindo dog, and rabbit but the final winner was Siberian tiger that is more suitable to illustrate dynamic movements with.

Hodori is a simplified Siberian tiger character, designed after the official national animal. The curved outlines deliver delicacy, and the Olympics medal on its neck represents its identity as a mascot. Based in the original version, designers created 7 different traditions versions and 19 different Korean alphabets versions which have supported to inform the international audience about the nation.

As a side story, the final competitors were Siberian tiger and rabbit. Though the Olympics committee secretly wanted rabbit to be selected since the international reputation over Korean government was very centered on the fact that it was a military government, which the docility of rabbits can offset. However, tiger was chosen in 1982 by the government officials.



Esquire. “김현은 누구인가: 에스콰이어 코리아 (Esquire Korea).” ESQUIREKOREA, Esquire, 15 May 2018, www.esquirekorea.co.kr/article/36236.

Segye Wa Hamkke Nanun Hanguk Munhwa: Sangong Kang Sin-Pyo Ollimpik Munhwa Haksul Undong = Korean Culture and Seoul Olympic Studies: Kang, Shin-Pyo: His Olympic Movement. Kungnip Minsok Pangmulgwan, 2010.

디자인 월간. “디자인 40년 회고전 연, 김현.” DESIGN, 25 Jan. 2010, mdesign.designhouse.co.kr/article/article_view/103/50758?per_page=76&sch_txt=.



Ramona Andra Xavier / Vaporwave

For the next edition of Graphic Design: A New History, I propose that an area of graphic design be dedicated to the subculture music genre Vaporwave and also highlighting an artist named Ramona Andra Xavier who contributed to creating and popularizing the music and visual trend. The Oregon graphic artist and producer’s first album was called, “Floral Shoppe” (2011) and it heavily sampled on elevator muzak and smooth jazz reminiscent of music that would be heard in old shopping malls.


Floral Shoppe by Macintosh Plus, 2011 (one of Ramona Andra Xavier’s many aliases)

Much of the music genre and its producers continued to follow up from the previous genre of “chillwave”, using trance-like synth-based elevator music that was usually never taking itself too seriously. The graphics that would display this genre were nothing short of a parody of 80s pop music, often referred to as meme music. (Mikhaylova) Also often distributed on free websites such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp as its intention was for easy listening background music. The music and appeal were in the subculture were also in the attention to detail in the graphic art for album covers. Usually using 80s and 90s technology, glitch art and Japanese aesthetic for nostalgic appeal. The art heavily used renaissance-era statues and cyberpunk imagery, and the Japanese language as an appropriative aesthetic choice. To have statuesque figures next to computer graphics challenges the viewer to think: what is art? In this context but sets the tone of the genre as a whole. 

Xavier and anonymous vaporwave contributors present these visual parodies of what they believe blissful nostalgia looked like within the early 2010s, using visual references that would become key signifiers of the genre such as Arizona ice tea, palm trees, old VHS tapes and fuji bottled water became a humourous staple of the genres playing on the aesthetic of consumerist culture. (esquire) 


music_vektroid_4451Vektroid Art

38ac8153703edc564b9602cc4e3603f4MTV International 2015 TV Rebranding

Later on, MTV would adopt the years old visual trend to look refreshing and new. Claiming its self-awareness to the generation’s movement toward self-examination, identity politics and apparent narcissism. (Nguyen) Perhaps many saw this as the death to vaporwave during 2013 as the visuals began to echo in Drake’s video “Hotline Bling” and other musically popular ventures, it began to become mainstream.

Ultimately, its purpose of engaging with listeners is to enjoy the music and art as a reaction against the irony and nihilism of postmodernism. (Jurgens) Vaporwave is innovative and unique as a subculture of trying to create sincere and joyful renditions of forgotten corporate videos and advertisements into soulful manipulations. This genre becomes relevant for a “failed consumer paradise” where we will often see economic and cultural decline cycle once again. (esquire)

Music critic Adam Harper described vaporwave artists’ work as a reaction to late capitalism thusly: “These musicians can be read as sarcastic anti-capitalists revealing the lies and slippages of modern techno-culture and its representations, or as its willing facilitators, shivering with delight upon each new wave of delicious sound.” (Pearson)



“How Vaporwave Was Created Then Destroyed by the Internet.” Esquire, 11 Oct. 2017, www.esquire.com/entertainment/music/a47793/what-happened-to-vaporwave/.

Evans, Sidney, et al. “I Am My MTV: MTV Gets Personal With The Viewer In Its Rebrand.” Brandingmag, Brandingmag | Narrating the Discussion, 8 May 2019, www.brandingmag.com/2015/06/26/i-am-my-mtv-mtv-gets-personal-with-the-viewer-in-its-rebrand/.

Jurgens, Genista. “Why Won’t Vaporwave Die?” Format, www.format.com/magazine/features/art/vaporwave.

Lyons, Patrick. “Vaporwave Pioneer Vektroid Can Do So Much More Than Music.” Willamette Week, www.wweek.com/music/2018/10/18/vaporwave-pioneer-vektroid-can-do-so-much-more-than-music/.

Pearson, Jordan. “How Tumblr and MTV Killed the Neon Anti-Corporate Aesthetic of Vaporwave.” Vice, 26 June 2015, www.vice.com/en_us/article/539v9a/tumblr-and-mtv-killed-vaporwave.

Scaruffi, Piero. A History of Chillwave and Vaporwave, www.scaruffi.com/history/vaporwav.html.



Blog Post 2: Contemporary Graphic Design

Eugene Yang



Graphic Design A New History, written by Stephen J. Eskilson covers the history of graphic design, from the expansion of graphic design in the 19th century to contemporary graphic design. In the preface of this book, Eskilson addresses the significance of digital technology:

“This book emerged in the context of the radical changes that have revolutionized graphic design over the last few years. Digital technology, which had already substantially influenced the field for two decades has transformed the way in which many designers conceive of and execute their work” (Eskilson, 10). 

Even though Eskilson talks about digital technology and the development of it, and there are parts that this book introduces contemporary(digital) graphic design around the 90s and 2000s, I personally find the content for these chapters are little informationally lacking compared to the other parts of the graphic design history (understandable since the book was published in early 2010s). We live in an era where smartphones and internet, social media are part of our lives. Due to these enhancements of digital technology, the trend and the technology used for graphic design nowadays has a wide variety, and is changing quite quickly and radically. Therefore I believe that the history of graphic design development in the past 10 years is just as important as the history of the past graphic design development.

There is a part that introduces digital graphic design trends in this book, but I thought that it could address more various types of trends and styles by introducing new, active, and relevant graphic designers and designs and at this moment. For example:


  • David McLeod, 3D Typography


David McLeod, Metro AR-T: New York City, 2014
David McLeod, Metro AR-T: New York City, 2014

According to his Behance page, he is “a 3D Illustrator and Artist. Originally from Australia, he now lives and works in New York City. His work is focused on experimental and textural CGI illustration, bespoke typography and lettering”.



  • Isometric Design, Jing Zhang
Jing Zhang, Slack Illustration, 2019
Jing Zhang, Slack Illustration, 2019

Isometric design is “a method of drawing/creating a three-dimensional object in two dimensions”, quoting from Isometric Design & Illustration: An Eye- Catching Trend, by Carrie Cousins.

According to her website page, Jing Zhang is: “Originally from mainland China, Jing is an illustrator living in England, the epicentre of eccentricity and creativity.With her clients mostly from the advertising industry, she has been working for clients including the European Parliament, General Electric, HSBC, IBM, Canon, Samsung, Adobe and many others”

In conclusion, these artists I mentioned above are active and have worked with major companies such as Adobe, Toyota, Canon and more. They could be a good example to show the development of tools and programs used for graphic design. Also could portray the history of trending styles of graphic design past few years, and may help filling more missing information on contemporary graphic design in Graphic Design A New History. 





Works Cited

Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: a New History. Yale University Press, 2012.

Behance. “David McLeod on Behance.” Behance, www.behance.net/davidmcleod.

Cousins, Carrie. “Isometric Design & Illustration: An Eye-Catching Trend.” Design Shack, Design Shack, 5 June 2019, designshack.net/articles/trends/isometric-design-illustration/.

“About & Contact.” Jing Zhang Illustration, www.mazakii.com/About-Contact.



Takashi Murakami – Esther Wong

Takashi Murakami
Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami is a Japanese contemporary artist born in 1962, founder of Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd., works in both fine arts media and commercial media. He is one of the most innovative and influential  Japanese artists today, known for merging traditional Japanese art styles with Western art influences, cultures that are frequently considered in opposition, and blurring the boundaries between fine art and commercial art.

Murakami received his  BA, MFA, and PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts, his PhD in nihonga painting became the basis of his artwork. His huge interest in manga and animation ⏤ the Otaku subculture, was the inspiration of his aesthetic sense. He created the term “Superflat”, which he described as a concept he came up with “by overlaying the painting style of creating a completely flat surface with the cultural predicament of post-war Japan.” This term explains the background and production of his art, also became a postmodern movement. In 2000 Murakami curated an exhibition titled Superflat, which featured works by artists whose techniques and mediums incorporate different aspects of Japanese visual culture, from ukiyo-e to anime and kawaii (Japanese cute culture). He advanced and introduced his Superflat theory with this exhibition, highlighting the absence of perspective, the two-dimensionality in Japanese visual culture, from traditional art to contemporary subcultures in the context of post-war Japan, transported the tough realities⏤horrors of World War II and its aftermath into the realm of cartoon fantasy. Painful truths were stripped of their historical context in childlike animated forms, which reflects the flattening process, and Murakami’s feelings of cynicism towards the influx of consumerism and embrace of western culture, caused by the success of Japan’s conquerors, defiling Japan’s honour. The Japanese society had lost its part of identity, aspects of its culture and its complexity; thus becoming flat and superficial. Murakami’s Superflat movement encouraged Japanese artists to mock the Japanese consumerism and remind the country the importance of its individuality. He inspired artists to combine elements of American pop art and Okatu culture, it was a beneficial way to express their feelings and views.

Murakami successfully created a style of his own. His style is instantly recognizable from his anime-esque aesthetic. Using flat/glossy surfaces, incorporating motifs from Japanese traditional art and pop art culture, Otaku imagery and candy-like colours. He extends his work to mass-produced items, including prints, sculptures, animated videos, limited edition dolls, t-shirts, chocolates, gum, keychains, etc. all manufactured from Kaikai Kiki, his own factory.

Murakami not only expands on integrating fine art and pop culture into one flat plane, he is able to appropriate contemporary globalized visual culture, and explored the new possibilities of manufacturing to create a incorporate commercial, popular images into well-executed pieces of fine art, thus he is considered the heir to Warhol.  His art also defines traditional Japanese identity from modernity, allows us to learn about Japanese history.


Work Cited

Lubow, Arthur. “The Murakami Method.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Apr. 2005, www.nytimes.com/2005/04/03/magazine/the-murakami-method.html.

Murakami, Takashi. “Manga, Goya and ‘Star Wars’: The Unexpected Influences That Made Takashi Murakami the Artist He Is Today.” CNN, Cable News Network, 29 July 2019, www.cnn.com/style/article/takashi-murakami-identity/index.html.

“Superflat: The Aesthetic Reaction to Post-War Japan.” The Artifice, the-artifice.com/superflat-japan/.

“Takashi MURAKAMI – Artist.” Perrotin, www.perrotin.com/artists/Takashi_Murakami/12#biography.

“Takashi Murakami – Bio: The Broad.” Bio | The Broad, www.thebroad.org/art/takashi-murakami.

“Takashi Murakami.” Gagosian, 12 Apr. 2018, gagosian.com/artists/takashi-murakami/.




representation of cultural arts

I personally believe it would be very helpful and informative to see more cultural and traditional pieces within our history textbooks for many are inadequately represented not gaining the recognition that is deserved. As all the art textbooks that I have come across do give a thorough understanding of worldwide arts and design nonetheless it is heavily comprised of the European arts. Yes, artists who are interested in doing further research on specific styles of art that they find are interesting are able to do so to further educate themselves. However, it is very unfortunate to see how brief and concise many cultural styles of art are being represented within our very own textbooks. From my own experiences growing up, I felt art had to be very eurocentric or westernized to be celebrated and accepted because I was only surrounded by what was shown in our textbooks and a part of the art history curriculum. But over the years it has been very interesting to see the representation of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds outside of textbooks. The recent recognition and celebration of our differences helping to inform one another of our cultures, values, and traditions to create a deeper understanding of one other.



As an artist who is ethnically Korean, there has recently been an influx in attraction to the Korean culture through the numerous achievements that have been made throughout the years attracting many to the different sectors of what makes up Korean life and culture it is definitely lacking in the arts. As the visual and fine arts are nearly represented as much as the music, dance, and entertainment section. 


There is such a richness in the traditional arts such as folk painting, calligraphy, mulberry paper (Hanji), and etc. Though Korean, Chinese, and Japanese art all share similar concepts, motifs, techniques, and forms as time has passed to each their own have developed into their own distinct styles.  As an example, not many know of the traditional Korean masks called 탈 (Tal) that are made of wood with a black cloth attached to the sides to mimic that of hair as the mask bearer has information about themselves revealed through the mask itself. When first looked upon they are not very appealing, almost grotesque and unappealing looking due to the saturated use of colours with exaggerated facial features. These masks are painted in primary colours to represent an individual’s personality and social class, and gender. 




Works cited

  • “Korea Information – Culture and the Arts.” Korean Cultural Center New York, www.koreanculture.org/korea-information-culture-and-the-arts.
  • Panero, James, et al. “Korean Culture Is on the Rise. What About Korean Art?” National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), www.neh.gov/humanities/2014/julyaugust/feature/korean-culture-the-rise-what-about-korean-art.
  • team, travel360.com editorial. “South Korea: Mask Unmasked.” Travel360.Com, 1 Sept. 2019, www.travel360.com/south-korea-mask-unmasked/.


New Form of Graphic Design: Song Visualizers

Written by Steph Burns (3167495)

Within graphic design education and the history courses I’ve taken within the subject I’ve noticed how little video or motion graphics are discussed. Perhaps it’s because video technologies haven’t been around a long time if you take the entire history of art into account; for the most part the job of a graphic designer didn’t include motion or video for a very long time. As a result of this, I often think of graphic design as stagnant, when in actuality it can have many moving parts. I think in general, it would be wise to include more motion design within the history of graphic design as I am seeing a lot more use of motion or video graphics in the present day. Especially with the over saturation of our current digital world, motion is almost like the new way to attract attention to an object or thing that didn’t previously have it; often times motion or video elements will be implemented to draw attention to a piece.

Moreover, very recently, I have noticed a new form of motion video that has started to become popular with music artists. I think it’s worth mentioning, as it is a new way in which graphic design is starting to be used.  I’ve seen a fair amount of short video or motion clips that act as a “visualizer” for songs. I’ve seen some uploaded on YouTube, but for the most part I’ve seen this start to occur over the last few months on Spotify, which is the main way I listen to music. I’ve included examples of these below, but these video or motion clips appear as you play the song. It’s much too short to be a music video, but rather a short 5 to 10 second looping video that plays while the song is. You can’t view Spotify horizontally, only vertically, so these clips are made to the dimensions of the typical phone screen with the intention that it will loop play and add to the experience of listing to a song. There are many different types of these that I’ve seen, some are short videos, while others are cinemagraphs, but regardless, they all have the same purpose.  It’s also important to note that a large majority of people won’t view or have access to these short clips. They’ll only be available to the select people that have access to the internet and have access to a cellphone with a Spotify account.

Music visualizer for Dua Lipa's song Future Nostalgia, 2020 (screenshotted by me on Spodify)
Music visualizer for Dua Lipa’s song Future Nostalgia, 2020 (screenshotted by me on Spodify)

One of the first times I ever saw this mode of presenting songs was with Billie Eilish’s debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Throughout the entire album, for every one of the 14 songs, there is a short looping video that goes along with. Some of these clips relate to the lyrics or central theme of the song while others only add an ambiance. The very last song, which features lyrics from the previous 13 songs also has the visualizer for it take clips or parts of the previous 13 visualizers.

It’s also interesting to note that these visualizers are being made for albums that didn’t originally have them. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was released in 2015, but these clips (screenshots shown below,) have been made recently to add a visual experience when you listen to that album now, that wasn’t available before.

music visualizer
Music visualizer for Kendrick Lamar’s song Wesley’s Theory, 2019/2020 (screenshotted by me on Spodify) 
Music visualizer for Kendrick Lamar's song Alright, 2019/2020 (screenshotted by me on Spodify)
Music visualizer for Kendrick Lamar’s song Alright, 2019/2020 (screenshotted by me on Spodify)

Blog 2




I believe that there should be more graffiti art included within our textbooks. This style of art is a great example of the type of art that is being more popularized in this generation, and therefore be studied more in-depth. Graffiti can be found all over the world and expresses the social perspectives of those who live within the community. Often times it is seen as vandalism because it is usually done without the permission of the owners of the property. Contemporary graffiti is also described by its controversial issues between social, style and aesthetic forms. (Colombini & Alain 2018). Many see graffiti as a distraction or negative addition to communities that face poverty or have a lot of violence with the community. It also is under the assumption that Graffiti is a positive urban art form that raises some paradoxical questions regarding ephemerality and “visual pollution” with a growing art market demand. (Colombini & Alain 2018). Depending on the content, Graffiti and Street Art have their own definitions and interpretations. (Colombini & Alain 2018). It is important to understand the history behind these artworks because it tells the stories of what goes on behind closed doors within the communities. It is important that we are taught to analyze these types of art just like we are taught to analyze designers and painters from the previous centuries. Studying these works of the area will enlighten how are communities are and responding to certain events or downfalls and how we choose to express this.

More artists like Shepard Fairey should be put into our textbook because many artists from this era are inspired by graffiti and pop art. Street art reflects where many of these aspiring artists come from. It reflects diversity and freedom for those who as if they have no voice. Graffiti art is a way to express social issues or make a political statement peacefully. Often, graffiti makes a normal and dull place more interesting and brighter, bringing beauty to places that are run down or facing poverty. (Journey, 2018). It also brings a sense of community to bring together a connection amongst people. it is a way of energizing a community rather then it becoming destroyed. (Journey, 2018). Lastly, street art is another way of telling history. Many artists create murals when the community has experienced a triumph or tragedy. It away for the community to come together and celebrate, or for memory to never fade. This type of art allows people to explore cities, and places they’ve never thought to go to and experience the community differently, almost like walking into a gallery. Not only does it bring beauty, excitement, and mystery to the world, but it also brings happiness


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Works cited

journey, Author janaline’s world. “Top 5 Reasons Why Street Art Is Important.” Janaline’s World Journey, 25 Feb. 2018, janalinesworldjourney.com/2018/02/25/reasons-why-street-art-is-important/.


“10 Reasons to LOVE Street Art.” Graffiti Artist & Street Artists for Hire by the Graffiti Kings, 19 Aug. 2016, graffitikings.co.uk/10-reasons-love-street-art/.


Colombini, and Alain. “The Duality of Graffiti: Is It Vandalism or Art?” CeROArt. Conservation, Exposition, Restauration D’Objets D’Art, Association CeROArt Asbl, 2 Dec. 2018, journals.openedition.org/ceroart/5745.