creativity and print / pixels

I’ve learned from this announcement that the UMKC Center for Creative Studies is asking for applications by May 1 for curriculum development for interdisciplinary courses studying the creative process. You can read the application instructions for yourself. I’m thinking of proposing a course that would be taught by me and by a faculty member from the Art & Art History Department, but I’m not 100% sure what direction to take. A course that involved printmaking and/or bookmaking would be interesting, but I’m also tempted by the possibility of a course involving new media. There are faculty from A&AH engaged in both, so…

But what would a course “studying the creative process” and involving print or new media look like? This is just a blind post asking for suggestions for further reading and research. I will post this to Palimpsest, as well.

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8 thoughts on “creativity and print / pixels

  1. This will be interesting to watch. But BAH…from the description, it may not happen before I graduate.
    Don’t resist the new media temptation…

  2. Unfortunately, much cross-disciplinary work focuses on the nature of books and visual arts as “commodityî rather than creativity. John Bergerís Ways of Seeing is the classic example. Contemporary critical readers surrounding the image/text usually have a Lacanian spin, focusing on ìthe gazeî or ìabsenceî rather than creativity per se. Creativity is sort of the red-headed stepchild in these discussions.
    The only book I can think of that specifically deals with analyzing ìcreativityî is The Way We Think by Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier (2002).

  3. Thanks for the feedback, Heidi and Jeff. I’d like to avoid Lacan, frankly, (and I won’t get into why here) but the Turner and Fauconnier book looks interesting.
    Matt and Kari’s experience with Old School Movable Type is the sort of thing I’d love to be able to incorporate into a class of this sort. Furthermore, I think I could probably learn a lot by examining in detail Matt’s syllabi for “Word and Image” and “Computer and Text” as well as Kari’s “Writing for Artists,” which has an online site that may be considered a super-secret location (I’m not sure), so I won’t post to it without her say-so.
    I’m more of a nuts-and-bolts “history of…” and “sociology of…” kind of scholar, and I’d like to be able to develop in new directions.

  4. There’s a relevant article on Hammerpress Letterpress Studio in the Star and a September 2003 entry from Heidi. (The Star has an irritating registration process. The article is reproduced below.)
    Heidi also tells me that Hammerpress has moved to 1919 Wyandotte, the heart of the Crossroads Arts District, and is having a grand opening Friday night from 6-10 as part of the monthly First Friday events.
    Posted on Sun, Sep. 21, 2003
    Crossroads: Hammerpress Letterpress Studio
    Hammerpress Letterpress Studio
    Many of the materials he works with are more than a half-century old, but letterpress printer and graphic designer Brady Vest doesn’t like the word “retro.”
    “My attraction doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that it’s old,” Vest says of the pulp-fiction novels, vacation postcards and other antiquated paper stored at his Hammerpress custom printing shop at 1714 Holmes.
    The public-domain images and designs, culled from thrift-store and flea-market finds, are used by Vest to create pieces of functional art — from wedding invitations to a line of acrylic floor mats.
    The mats, he says, are “definitely related to the design stuff we’re doing on paper. It’s an easy transition to thinking about textile designs.” Vest hopes to offer mats printed in four designs by the end of September.
    Vintage matchbooks are a favorite source of graphic inspiration that, in Vest’s hands, can wind up on a concert poster or a skateboard.
    “Matchbooks weren’t done by people who had design degrees,” Vest says. “They were done by probably some guy in a basement that had to do the (color) separations. So there’s this element of `novice’ that is interesting. It’s kind of anti-design design, without sounding too weird about it.
    “And the same with letterpress printing. Letterpress printers usually were craftsmen, not designers or artists. They had a kind of different take on design that was more functional.”
    Vest, 31, became enamored with the letterpress — an obsolete machine in which printed matter is set by hand — while he was earning his printmaking degree at the Kansas City Art Institute. Early next year he plans to open a retail space devoted to a spectrum of emblazoned objects, including limited-edition art prints, posters, greeting cards, T-shirts and maybe even lampshades.
    “Everything that we offer will be hand-printed,” he says.
    But might some in the Kansas City art world pooh-pooh it?
    “Probably, because it comes from a print shop,” Vest says. “To me, that’s stupid. But I also don’t care. I mean, we’ve made more pieces of art here than a lot of people could count. To me, it’s art — and we enjoy it.”
    Call Hammerpress Letterpress Studio at (816) 421-1929.

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