On Friday 10th October, the whole of the Art and Design department had a talk with freelance graphic designer, photographer and publisher Amandine Alessandra as part of Industry Friday: a series of industry talks held by the university.
Amandine gave us an in depth talk about her work and how she had become the artist she is today. She draws inspiration from a range of sources such as other artist, everyday life, films and books. She talked about both Jean Luc Goddard and Lewis Carroll as two of her inspirations.
Although she knows the importance and gain from commercial work, she encourages each of us to not stop working on our dream briefs, so the brief that we enjoy and set ourselves. Together we looked through some of her dreams briefs and it became apparent she loves working in typography. “Always” was a project completed in Canada where Amandine experimented using salt as a repellent for nutrients in the soil! She was interested in seeing the side effect salt could cause. Using a stencil, Amandine wrote ‘Always” in the grass. Over a period of time she returned to the site, to still see the scar that the salt created on the ground, it ALWAYS will be present.
Another project she worked on is called In Vino Veritas. Amandine spilt wine on a tablecloth and some patterns on the tablecloth acted as a repellent for a wine. This created a really interesting design with a beautiful deep red colour. This piece was picked up by Selfridges who wanted to create a series of tablecloths based around this idea. This showed us how a self constructed brief could become commercial.
Amandine explained to us her research and passage in the project Wearable letters which involves using human bodies as a type as typography. Drawing inspiration from sources such as demonstration graphics, Sandwich men and football fans, she has created a series of typography in which to wear to be a letter. She has set this type up in Liverpool Street Station where the humans mimicked the clock behind them, changing every second and in Abbey Road, where her figures are seen crossing the famous zebra crossing, this time caught on webcam. This lead her to complete projects such as the human clock, a real time clock on the internet and to work with students at the Beaux Arts Academy in Lebanon, translating different messages into Arabic, English and French. Amandine’s type has been used in adverts such as Optimus Kanguru kolors in Portugal and HP. It was also used for Earth Hour to raise awareness in 2014 in Berlin.
Sources: http://www.amandinealessandra.com/index.php?/project/wearable-lettering/ and http://www.amandinealessandra.com/index.php?/project/relieftadariss/
Alongside this project, Amandine has co-founded her own publishing company Tower Block Books with Architect Rute Nieto Ferreira and together they have written a book called The Big Letter Hunt. The idea for the book came about when her children, whilst learning to read, kept seeing letters everywhere. Taking pictures of sites such as these and asking children to find letters in the book is now a reality releasing its second edition this week both online and in shops and museums.
I thought Amandine’s talk was really interesting. I felt she had a grasp on both the commercial side and self driven side of the art world making her very knowledgeable about both. I took into consideration a lot of things that she has said especially not forgetting to create what we enjoy creating. I think her work takes inspiration from a range of exciting and alternative resources and we can clearly see throughout a strong process in both experimentation and final pieces. Overall I really loved listening to her talk and I am eager to see what we will discover next Industry Friday.
Amandine’s website : http://www.amandinealessandra.com/
Always : http://www.amandinealessandra.com/index.php?/project/ephemeral-stencils/
Wearable Lettering : http://www.amandinealessandra.com/index.php?/project/wearable-lettering/
Beaux Art Academy Project: http://www.amandinealessandra.com/index.php?/project/relieftadariss/
The Big Letter Hunt : http://www.amandinealessandra.com/index.php?/project/the-big-letter-hunt/