1.2 – 1.3 Ephemera Collection

1. Videotape
2–3. Brass Number Three
4. Project Description
5. Paper Swatch Book
6. Pantone Swatch Book
7. Name Card
8. One-way Amtrak Train Pass
9. Button
10. Small Clip
11. Pantone Chip
12. 10x Loupe
13. Reflective Sticker S
14. Reflective Sticker T
15. Reflective Sticker E
16. Reflective Sticker P
17. Respond Design Sticker
18. Claim Check Ticket
19. Parking Claim Ticket
20. One-way MBTA Train Pass
21–27. 12 Trip MBTA Train Pass
28. Calendar At-A-Glance
29. Silver Number Three
30–33. Reflective Sticker 1
34–35. Reflective Sticker 3
26–37. 12 Trip MBTA Train Pass
38–58. Train check-in tickets
59. Clam Cake Bag
60. Color-Aid Box
61–65. Chap Stick
66. Book
67–68. X-Acto Blade
69. Paper Angel
70–72. Marker
73. Pen
74. Pencil
75. Pen
76. Marker
77. iPhone
79. Student ID
80. Altoids
81. Emergen-C
82. Lighter
83. Hole Punch Reinforcer
84–86. Rubber Bands
87–88. Small Clip
89. Pencil Sharpener
90. Baby Photo
91. Bottle Cap
92. Small Clip
93–94. Penny
95. Dongle

1.3 Reading a Collection as Possibility
Any one of the ninety-five previous objects could be a piece of trash or a spark of inspiration. Each object has the ability to be examined, studied and elaborated into its own thesis topic. The Train ticket stubs (38-58) may relate to the history of the Industrial Revolution or the first locomotive. The brass address numbers (2-3) perhaps unpack the history of the single-family home, suburban expansion in America or social class structures defined by Marxism, or they could relate to the current U.S. economic and political environment. The calendar page August 3, 2011, (28) may be the impetus to discover the Gregorian or Egyptian calendar or elaborate on one of the most amazing days of my life, which was when my daughter Joy was born. The iPhone (77) potentially investigates the current state of technology and how it is just one device in the future continuum of mobile technologies and communications. The paper angel (69) may speak to the concept of kitsch, religious iconography or good luck charms.

1.4 – 1.5 Form + Content (or structure) = Graphic Design

RISD GD Studio Providence, RI

1.4 Form
Ephemera Collection is just a small sampling of everyday objects that inspire me; initially, they inspire me in a formalist tradition—how something is made, looks or feels based on my canon of aesthetics: imperfect surfaces, vernacular typography, kitsch iconography, repetition, scale, nostalgia. I take great pleasure looking at these objects; first, in their indeterminate haphazard state in my studio. Second, understanding that creating them in an organized poster composition decontextualizes each object; thus, each signifies structure and meaning. As contemporary artist Deborah Fausch states “The very act of labeling a part of experience as ‘everyday’ alters its fluid character and its immersion in an ongoing stream of events; substituting a hypostasized mental object formed according to the rules governing theoretical operations.” Therefore, I feel nothing is really an everyday object. Everything has meaning and falls under the umbrella of structuralism no matter how mundane.

1.5 Structure
Structuralism is a theoretical paradigm that emphasizes that elements of culture must be understood in terms of their relationship to a larger, overarching system or “structure.” Alternately, philosopher Simon Blackburn summarizes Structuralism as “the belief that phenomena of human life are not intelligible except through their interrelations. These relations constitute a structure, and behind local variations in the surface phenomena there are constant laws of abstract culture.”

Form + Content (or structure) = Graphic Design is nothing new, but my work aims at being conscious that we are completely surrounded by these elements everyday. Furthermore, it is not just about the function of the object or how it looks, but the intangible lives in how it feels. I ask myself metaphysical and epistemological questions when observing these things. Why is that object inspiring? Where does this inspiration come from? This is where the Japanese tradition of Wabi-Sabi plays an important role in my methodology.