An exhibition located at Palm Springs Art Museum that celebrates the storied history of Graphic Design from Mexico.
Spatial Experience and Motion Graphics Designer
Robert Kett, Guest Curator
After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Laser Cutter, and Handbrake
Summer Internship with Palm Springs Art Museum
In preparation for the August 9th, 2023 opening of the Eso Es La Vida exhibition, two big parts needed to be completed:
I worked directly with Guest Curator, Robert Kett, Freelance Graphic Designer, Carlos Avila, and in-house Exhibition Designer, Tom Johnson.
I explored various forms of motion in Mexico City and studied the analog animations featured in "La Creacion Artistica" by Vicente Rojo, a film presented in the exhibition.Link
Concurrently, I researched a fabrication process for the three different sets of 12” letterforms of the El Chopo typeface and the 72” La Ruta de la Amistad.
I spoke to experts at the ArtCenter Model Shop and 3D Lab about the pros and cons of different approaches.
Using the Graphic Designer's visual cues and first draft, I tested various layouts and tried out different typography styles.
From there, I implemented my motion research into several studies for review and feedback from the Curator and Graphic Designer.
Following a conversation with the Curator regarding the video's brevity and the volume of artwork to incorporate, I decided to shift my focus from animating individual pieces to crafting transitions between them.
For La Ruta de la Amistad, I created numerous samples with changes across finishes (Flat, Matte, and Satin) and textures (sand and orange peel).
With the letterforms, I considered using a CNC machine, but ultimately, I opted for a laser cutter as it would give me the cleanest edges on the wooden form.
Because of the laser cutter's constraints, I had to work with 1/4” MDF and stack the slices together to reach the desired width. This layering caused visible lines on the side of the form.
To troubleshoot and find a solution for this issue, I made a small-scale version for testing purposes, using Bondo to fill in the cracks.
Based on the outcomes of the "U" letterform test, I fine-tuned my lamination technique for three different sets of letterforms, each with widths of 1 inch, 2 inches, and 3 inches.
This approach was also applied in the fabrication of La Ruta de la Amistad, where the Orange Peel texture was utilized at Estudio Herrera's request to represent the texture of the actual route in Mexico City.
For the video about Posada's lithographic images, I attempted to mimic the lithography print making techniques by creating my own texture with black paint and newspaper paper.
The resultant texture was applied as a mask to the labels to reduce their straight, hard edge qualities.
When I installed the letterforms, I carefully measured the spacing and alignment, then used clear silicone to secure them to the table in order to prevent any tampering by visitors.
To achieve the best quality with the smallest file size, I compressed the videos using Handbrake and then connected them to the monitor using a media player.
Estudio Herrera had their own space in the exhibition, which they were responsible for the design.
Note: The exhibition space is intentionally kept dim because the borrowed paper artworks can be damaged by sunlight.
I partnered closely with the Guest Curator to curate the artwork in the videos and align each with the physical displays dispersed throughout the exhibition.
In addition, the Graphic Designer provided assistance in the layout and hierarchy of the accompanying text.
The Posada broadsheets were typically used to convey past social-political messages, and I used camera movement to unveil the entire artworks gradually, creating a story-like effect.
I also incorporated similar effects of the lithography process, including its uneven ink application, into the typographic treatment and transitions between artworks.
Blake showed a strong design sensibility but also deep curiosity that allowed her to develop work that resonated with the exhibition's broader themes and rationale. Our project benefited from the strength of Blake's work but also from having such a steady, kind, and accomplished collaborator.
I learned a great deal from my experience working with the team at Palm Springs Art Museum, especially in how the museum operates and the level of work involved in constructing new exhibitions. I was especially thankful for the chance to explore new tools in the Model Shop and craft physical objects. This, in my view, enriches my digital design skills as I crafted a unique making process and was motivated to focus on smallest details of each object.