Sunday, January 10, 2016

Game Parody | Janey Graveman

Game parody © Janey Graveman 2015
Above  Design by graphic design student Janey Graveman for a parody of Mastermind, the popular code breaking game.

•••

Studs Terkel in Touch and Go: A Memoir. New York: The New Press, 2007, p.232 and 236—

“Banality” is the operative word…

Britney Spears, a pop singer, shaves her head and goes into rehab. Most Americans know her name. She is a celebrity. None of the contestants in a recent episode of Jeopardy, a popular TV quiz show, knew who Strom Thurmond was. For most of the twentieth century, on the floor of the Senate, he was the drum major of segregation. Not even his fathering a black child was within the ken of the Jeopardy participants. Nor did they know the name of Kofi Annan (the newly former United Nations secretary general).…

What happens to all Alzheimer’s sufferers is tragic. What I’m talking about is what I call a national Alzheimer’s—a whole country has lost its memory. When there’s no yesterday, a national memory becomes more and more removed from what it once was, and forgets what it once wanted to be.

We’re sinking under our national Alzheimer’s disease. With Alzheimer’s you forget what you did yesterday. With Alzheimer’s finally, you forget not only what you did, but also who you are. In many respects, we [in the US] have forgotten who we are.

We’re now in a war [in Iraq] based on an outrageous lie [about “weapons of mass destruction”], and we are held up to the ridicule and contempt of the world. What has happened? Have we had a lobotomy performed on us? Or it it something else? I’m saying it is the daily evil of banality.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Trammels | Home II | Mary Snyder Behrens

Home II © Mary Snyder Behrens 2005
Above Mary Snyder Behrens, Home II (Trammel Series), mixed media.

•••

Raphael Soyer, Diary of an Artist. Washington DC: New Republic Books, 1977, p. xi—

I had an exhibition, and nothing was sold. My vivid memory of that time is of a sense of embarrassment and a feeling that my paintings were of no value. We were in great financial need, and when someone offered to buy the contents of my studio—drawings and paintings, all for $1000 plus an old Packard—I consented. Two men came with a pushcart, and while they were loading my work, I was painting.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Trammels | Gape | Mary Snyder Behrens

Gape © Mary Snyder Behrens, mixed media 2004
Earl K. Peckham, quoted in Robert Bruce Williams, ed., John Dewey, Recollections (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1970), p. 12—

[American philosopher John] Dewey was speaking slowly and very carefully [in an evening class in 1935 at Columbia University], also in simply constructed sentences, which was typical of his style. I was listening intently to a point. Many of the class seemed to have left the area of thought. Dewey himself seemed to have left, to have gone into his own world. I felt that I was with him regardless of the seeming absence of the other members of the class. He hesitated after his point was made, and he looked at me through his thick bifocals. I said to him in a too loud, nervous voice, “Doesn’t emotion play a part in this thought process?” His stare fixed on me. I was embarrassed. He was silent—then he walked slowly over to the window and looked into the night, for the better part of two minutes. Then he looked back and fixed his stare at me (at least that is how I felt) and he said in a very slow and almost inaudible voice—but he knew I heard and he seemed to me not to care if anyone else heard or not—“Knowledge is a small cup of water floating on a sea of emotion.”

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Sadé Butler Again

Exhibition poster © Sadé Butler 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Sadé Butler for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Anon Children's game verse, recorded in Edinburgh UK, c1940—

Shirley Oneple.
Shirley Twople.
Shirley Threeple.
Shirley Fourple.
Shirley Fiveple.
Shirley Sixple.
Shirley Sevenple.
Shirley Eightple.
Shirley Nineple.
Shirley Tenple.


•••

Shirley Temple (Hollywood child film star)—

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six., Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked me for my autograph.

•••

Robert Craft, An Improbable Life (Vanderbilt University Press, 2002), p. 147—

In 1953, he [Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky] broke off his connection with Hollywood's two Russian [Orthodox] churches, for the reason that the priest-confessor had asked him for his autograph.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Madi Luke

Exhibition poster © Madi Luke 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Madi Luke for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Sir Compton MacKenzie, Poor Relations (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1919)—

She was a well preserved woman and reminded John of a crystallized pear; her frosted transformation glistened like encrusted sugar round the talk, which was represented by a tubular head-ornament on the apex of the carefully tended pyramid; her greeting was sticky.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Lexy Deshong

Exhibition poster © Lexy Deshong 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Lexy Deshong for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

A fine house, dress, the manners and talk of highly cultivated people, were all thrown away on him [Henry David Thoreau]…[he] considered these refinements as impediments to conversation, wishing to meet his companion on the simplest terms. He declined invitations to dinner parties, because there each was in every one's way, and he could not meet the individuals to any purpose. "They make their pride," he said, "in making their dinner cost much; I make my pride in making my dinner cost little." When asked at table which dish he preferred, he answered, "The nearest." He did not like the taste of wine, and never had a vice in his life.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Sadé Butler

Exhibition Poster © Sadé Butler 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Sadé Butler for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

He [Henry David Thoreau] thought the scent a more oracular inquisition than the sight…[because it] reveals what is concealed from the other senses. He delighted in echoes, and said they were almost the only kind of kindred voices that he heard. He loved Nature so well, was so happy in her solitude, that he became very jealous of cities and the sad work which their refinements and artifices made with man and his dwelling. The axe was always destroying his forest. "Thank God," he said, "they cannot cut down the clouds!…"

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Jillianne Sanders

Exhibition poster © Jillianne Sanders 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Jillianne Sanders for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

He [Henry David Thoreau] could find his path in the woods at night, he said, better by his feet than his eyes. He could estimate the measure of a tree very well by his eye; he could estimate the weight of a calf or a pig, like a dealer. From a box containing a bushel or more of loose pencils, he could take up with his hands fast enough just a dozen pencils at every grasp.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Janey Graveman

Exhibition poster © Janey Graveman 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Janey Graveman for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

…those pieces of luck which happen only to good players happened to him [Henry David Thoreau]. One day, walking with a stranger, who inquired where Indian arrowheads could be found, he replied, "Everywhere," and, stooping forward, picked up one on the instant from the ground. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Sawyer Phillips Again

Exhibition poster © Sawyer Phillips (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Sawyer Phillips for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Thoreau" in his Lectures and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1889)—

His [Henry David Thoreau's] father was a manufacturer of lead pencils, and Henry applied himself for a time to this craft, believing he could make a better pencil than was then in use. After completing his experiments, he exhibited his work to chemists and artists in Boston, and having obtained their certificates to its excellence and its equality with the best London manufacture, he returned home contented. His friends congratulated him that he had now opened his way to fortune. But he replied that he should never makes another pencil. "Why should I? I would not do again what I have done once."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Tyler Hillis

Exhibition poster © Tyler Hillis (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Tyler Hillis for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Rudolf Arnheim, in a letter to Roy R. Behrens, 1993—

The physicist George Gamow was also an entertaining popularizer. He once told me a story of how with his wife and their baby daughter he visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa. As they climbed the steps, they noticed an increasingly musty smell, which they first attributed to the ancient walls of the building. Then, however, they began to suspect their little girl, and by the time they reached the top it was clear that she needed immediate attention. "And from the very place," explained Gamow, raising his arm and his voice dramatically, "where Galileo launched his experimental objects we also propelled…"  

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Kyler Smith

Exhibition poster © Kyler Smith (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Kyler Smith for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Mircea Eliade, Journal II 1957-1967. University of Chicago Press, 1989, p. 270—

Richard Stern arrived and told us some juicy anecdotes about two Rumanian "princesses" ninety years old whom he had met in Venice. One of them, drinking coffee, brought the cup too close to her face‚ and, Stern went on, the nose, probably restored with a wax cast, began to melt and finally fell into the coffee.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Hastings Walsh

Exhibition poster © Hastings Walsh (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Hastings Walsh for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Carl Sandburg (recalling a ventriloquist act at the circus ), Always the Young Strangers (New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1953), p. 191—

I had a dime and a nickel in my pocket. With the dime, the tenth part of a dollar, I bought a ticket. I went in and heard the ventriloquist and his dummy: "Will you spell a word for me, Danny?" "I'll try, what's the word?" "Constantinople." "Why do you tell me you can't stand on an apple?"

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Shay Petersen

Exhibition poster © Shay Peterson (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Shay Petersen for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Sam Kashner, When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School (New York: HarperCollins, 2003), pp. 33-34—

He [novelist William S. Burroughs] liked talking about being eight years old. At that age Burroughs had a secret hiding place under the back steps of his parents' house, a secret place where he kept a box, and in the box was a spoon, a candle, and some type of instrument for investigating the forging of hard metals for weapons. It was also around the time he said that he shot off his first gun and wrote his first story. It was called "Autobiography of a Wolf," a ten-page story about an animal who lost his mate and was killed by a grizzly bear. Burroughs said his parents had listened politely to the story. "Surely you mean biography of a wolf," he father had told him. "No," Burroughs insisted. "I mean the autobiography of a wolf." They sent him to Harvard.
 

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Sawyer Phillips

Exhibition poster © Sawyer Phillips (2015)
Above Poster by graphic designer Sawyer Phillips for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Alan Bennett, Writing Home (New York: Picador, 2003), p. 179—

I am reading a book on Kafka. It is a library book, and someone has marked a passage in the margin with a long, wavering line. I pay the passage special attention without finding it particularly rewarding. As I turn the page the line moves. It is a long, dark hair.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Tricia Riley

Exhibition poster © Tricia Riley 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Tricia Riley for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

George Carlin as interviewed in David Jay Brown, Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse (NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), p. 191—

We’re given many choices to distract us from the fact that our real choices have been diminished in number. Two political parties. Maybe three or four large banks now. Credit card companies, just a couple, a handful. Newspapers, reduced. Ownership of media, reduced, down to five or six big companies now. Big stock brokerage firms, reduced in number. All of these important things we have less choice. Then we’re distracted with these frivolous choices: 21 flavors of ice cream, 35 flavors of popcorn. You see specialty shops with 35 flavors of popcorn, like chocolate-walnut popcorn. These are absurd distractions from what we are doing to ourselves...

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Maris Price

Exhibition poster © Maris Price 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Maris Price for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

George Grosz, An Autobiography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 90-91—

It was in a café [in Berlin] that I first heard a jazz band. People called it a noise band. It was not a jazz band in the American sense, but more of a café orchestra gone crazy. Two or three musicians with saws and cow bells would parody the general melody with rhythmic interruptions. The conductor called himself Mister Meshugge and acted like a madman. He would pretend he had lost control, would break his baton to pieces and smash his violin over the head of a musician. At the end he would grab the bass and use it as a weapon in the ensuing battle, finally throwing the splinters into the audience that screamed with delight and threw them back. Throughout the performance waiters kept on serving the musicians more beer and drinks, increasing the general gaiety. Meschugee would grab instruments from the hands of the musicians, and sing and dance. Suddenly he would jump onto the piano, pretend he was a monkey, scratch himself, grab a large glass of beer to toast the audience, but then, quick as a flash, pour it down one of the trumpets. The audience was convulsed with laughter.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Samuel Skvor

Exhibition poster © Samuel Skvor
Above Poster by graphic designer Samuel Skvor for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Michael Ondaatje in Robin Robertson, ed. Mortification: Writers’ Stories of Their Public Shame (NY: HarperCollins, 2004), p. 129—

A well-known American novelist, after her successes, was invited back to her high school. They had put on the dog for her and she had therefore put on the dog for them. She dressed well and stood up at the lectern to give her formal speech about writing, the arts, culture, education—all the noble things writers never talk or think about when they are not on panels or speaking publicly. It was a full auditorium.

Halfway through the talk she began to feel sick and, knowing she was soon going to throw up, announced in a calm voice that she had left a few pages of her speech offstage, in her bag. She walked off slowly and as soon as she was out of sight ran to the bathroom and threw up noisily. She had been doing this for about a minute when someone came into the bathroom to tell her that the lapel mike was still on. 
  

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Molly Watson

Exhibition poster © Molly Watson 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Molly Watson for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••
 
David Attenborough Life on Air (London: BBC Books, 2002). 

[During a live interview on BBC, Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz agreed to appear on camera, unrehearsed, with a greylag goose. Moments later,] a keeper from the London Zoo walked on to the set carrying a goose which he put down on a low table that stood between the professor and myself. The goose, naturally enough, was somewhat perturbed at suddenly being thrust under the bright televison lights and began to flap its wings.

“Komm, komm, mein Liebchen,” said Konrad, soothingly, putting his hands on either side of the goose’s body so that its wings were held folded down. He was holding it so that its head was pointed away from him. This was sensible in that he was not then within range of the goose’s beak which it showed every wish to use, if it got the chance. But that, of course, meant that its rear was pointing towards the professor and the goose, in the flurry, squirted a jet of liquid green dung straight at him.

“Oh dear dear,” said Konrad. “All over der trouserz.” He released the goose, which flapped off the set and was neatly fielded by its keeper, took out his handkerchief and carefully wiped his trousers clean. Then, finding his handerchief in his hand, in his embarrassment, he promptly blew his nose on it.

He completed the interview with a green smear down the side of his face…

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Heidi Schmidt

Exhibition poster © Heidi Schmidt 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Heidi Schmidt for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Bernard Wolfe, Memoirs of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer (Garden City NY: Doubleday and Company, 1972), p. 157—

[There is a Law of Laws] that says, it’s not the paycheck you get that determines the value of the work you do, it’s the inspired and organized energy you put into the project, the invention, inner direction, personal thrust; no matter what payroll you’re on, the best payrolls are your own, the best jobs are free-lance. That says, the difference between those who do and those who get done to and in is what’s hungered for, the life on your feet or the life flat on your back. That says, there are the active ones, the makers; then there are the passive ones, the made. That says, work ethic be damned, what we’re talking about is the nature and direction of hunger, whether your need is to stiff the world a little or be steamrollered.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Tad Klenske

Exhibition poster © Tad Klenske 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Tad Klenske for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Bernard Wolfe, Memoirs of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer (Garden City NY: Doubleday and Company, 1972), p. 47-48—

Paradox: the more you comb through your insides the less you come up with to write about. Besides, there’s more to look at out there than in here, and it’s less fogged over. You’ve go to learn more from three billion people than from one, it’s a matter of arithmetic. Again, it’s the writers who keep their eyes on the world about who tell us the most about themselves. What’s a man after all but his vision? Blinders and all? What’s he going to convey to us about his vision if he keeps it trained on his own insides, which he’ll never see? But I suppose every writer has to do this me-myself-and-I softshoe one time out, to show how versatile he is and that he hasn’t got two left feet.
   

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Amber Claus

Exhibition poster © Amber Claus 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Amber Claus for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

J.J. Oppenheimer, quoted in Robert Bruce Williams, ed., John Dewey, Recollections (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1970), pp. 123-124—

At the dinner table one evening [in the 1920s at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, at the college president’s home], our famous guest [Count Hermann Keyserling] suddenly asked all of us who in the American scene would make a distinct contribution to culture in the next fifty to one hundred years. A number of nominations were made. When it came my turn, I said “John Dewey.” At that, the huge (rather tall than huge) Count said: “I met John Dewey last week at my lecture at Columbia University. Surely that ‘little shrimp’ couldn’t add anything to human knowledge.”…Later by several weeks, Time magazine had a short article on the Count’s departure in which a reporter asked him what three things had the United States [contributed] to civilization. The Count replied: “Jazz, skyscrapers and John Dewey.”  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Rachel Bartholomay

Exhibition poster © Rachel Bartholomay 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Rachel Bartholomay for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

John C. Thirlwall, quoted in Robert Bruce Williams, ed., John Dewey, Recollections (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1970), p. 157.

In 1932 I was an English graduate student at Columbia [University]. Ashley Thorndike was then Chairman of the English Department, and every graduate student took his Shakespeare course, which [began] at 2:00 pm in a lecture room holding over one hundred [students], on the sixth floor of Philosophy Hall. One day, promptly at 2:00 pm, Professor [John] Dewey shambled in, sat down at the desk and proceeded to read a long list, marking absent each one, since there was no reply from a crowded room. At 2:10 [Professor] Thorndike strode into the room, gawped at Dewey at moment, then tapped him on the shoulder, saying: “John, you are one flight up.” None of us laughed as Thorndike proceeded to read the proof sheets of his Shakespearian Comedy.  

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Reilly Stratton

Exhibition poster © Reilly Stratton 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Reilly Stratton for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Ginu Kamani, “Code Switching” in Meri Nana-Ama Danquah, ed., Becoming American: Personal Essays by First Generation Immigrant Women (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p. 99—

I grew up surrounded by big, dark, animated eyes capable of conveying the greatest subtlety. Recently I was reminded again of the exquisite power of Indian eyes during a Satyajit Ray retrospective. As I watched his films, I realized what one of my biggest confusions must have been as a young immigrant to the US—my American peers appeared cold even when trying to be friendly. I depended so much on eyes to magnify both silent and verbal transmissions, that communication with my American peers often left me in a dissatisfied limbo. I had to adjust to a different sort of communication, all talk and less than expressive glances.

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Dallas Guffey

Exhibition poster © Dallas Guffey 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Dallas Guffey for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

Violette de Mazia, quoted in Robert Bruce Williams, ed., John Dewey, Recollections (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1970), p. 9.

[American philosopher John] Dewey’s observations on art were sometimes characterized by a remarkable spontaneous insight. On one of his frequent visits to The Barnes Foundation during Dr. [Albert C.] Barnes and I were looking at the collection with him, he stopped in front of a [painting by Paul] Cézanne, The Bibemus Quarry, and said with the air of tossing off an incidental remark, “If you were to explode a bomb in the middle of this landscape you would have a [painting by Chaim] Soutine.”

Pencil Sharpener Poster | Joseph Burgus

Exhibiti0n poster © Joseph Burgus 2015
Above Poster by graphic designer Joseph Burgus for an exhibition of student posters about historic pencil sharpeners from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

George A. Wolf, Jr., quoted in Robert Bruce Williams, ed., John Dewey, Recollections (Washington DC: University Press of America, 1970), pp. 172-173—

[In 1947 or 1948, George A. Wolf, Jr. was a young physician in New York. One weekend he was asked to take the emergency calls of one of his professors, who was John Dewey’s doctor. The American philosopher, who was in his late eighties] had gone for a walk on Fifth Avenue, slipped and hurt his shoulder. I was called to see him which I did in his apartment. The old gentleman was literally quivering in pain and his new wife was most apprehensive…I am an internalist but I remembered from medical school orthopedics a maneuver, somewhat old fashioned, said to reduce such dislocations occasionally.

The patient was in so much pain that I decided to try the maneuver. It consisted of taking off my shoe, sitting on the foot of Dr. Dewey’s bed, placing my sock covered foot in Dr. Dewey’s armpit, grasping his hand and forearm on the affected side and gently pulling…Suddenly, there was a feeling that the bone had slipped back into place. My memory tells me that it was a loud satisfying crack but my biological training tells me that both Dr. Dewey and I were so relieved, he of his pain and I of my apprehension, that the event was really very quiet. He stopped shaking, looked at me gratefully, and smiled a little smile. He said the appropriate thank you’s, as did his wife.

The amusing part was that as I put my foot in the suffering gentleman’s armpit (axilla), I said, “Pardon me, Dr. Dewey.”  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Poster Exhibit Ends Today

Poster © Roy R. Behrens 2015
Above Poster for an exhibition of graphic design student posters about historic pencil sharpeners, from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa. The exhibit ends today.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Exhibit of Pencil Sharpener Posters

Poster © Roy R. Behrens 2015
Above Poster for an exhibition of graphic design student posters about historic pencil sharpeners, from the P.D. Whitson Collection. Department of Art, University of Northern Iowa.

•••

From Bernard Wolfe, Memoirs of a Not Altogether Shy Pornographer (Garden City NY: Doubleday and Company, 1972), p. 43-44—

Art makes order out of chaos, do they still teach that hogwash in the schools? It’s liars who give order to chaos, then go around calling themselves artists and in this way gave art a bad name. Here high up on their cerebral peaks are all the artists sifting and sorting out the facts and pasting them together any old way to show how neat it all is and how they’re at the controls of the whole works, and there under their feet the facts go on tulmulting and pitching them on their asses over and over, and what’s the whole demonstration worth? Don’t tell me the real artists are tidiers. Céline is in the grand spatter business. Henry Miller spatters too, though a good part of the time by plan, by program, and that’s his tension. Hemingway held it all in his tight hand and pretended it was one packed ball of wax till the end, then his true spewing self came out and he spattered all right, spattered all his order-making brains over the livingroom, and the lie of having it all together was done for, he arrived at the moment of going at his authenticity, his one moment of truth. When do you see Dostoevsky laying out his reality with a T-square?  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Problems of Poets as Poets

Digital montage © Roy R. Behrens (2015)
William H. Gass, "The Soul Inside the Sentence" in Habitations of the Word (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), p. 119—

People call themselves poets and painters, and seek help for their failures, as I might come to a psychiatrist to discover the causes of my vaulter's block or to find out why I can't get anywhere in nuclear physics. Indeed, regularly people push through the turnstiles of the critic's day who feel very strongly the need to pass as poets, to be called "creative," to fit into a certain niche, acquire an identity the way one acquires plants there's no time to tend or goldfish that can't be kept alive, and their problems are important and interesting and genuine enough; but they are not the problems of poets as poets, any more than the child who tiptoes to school on the tops of fences has the steelworker's nerves or nervousness or rightly deserves his wage.

 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shunting, Hooting and Milking the Bull

Montage © Roy R. Behrens 2015
Elias Canetti (The Human Province)—

He lays sentences like eggs, but he forgets to incubate them.

•••

Samuel Johnson

Truth, Sir, is a cow which will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull. 

•••

Sir Frederick John Burrows

Unlike my predecessors, I have devoted more of my life to shunting and hooting than to hunting and shooting [alluding to his former career as a railway man].

Brushed by the Grasses of Self-Reproach

Montage | Roy R. Behrens 2015 | Puffin Wikipedia
Mae West

You're a fine woman, Lou. One of the finest women that ever walked the streets.

•••

Pierre-Jules Renard

It should not be thought that laziness is unproductive. Within it, you live intensely, like a hare listening. You swim in it like water; and are brushed by the grasses of self-reproach.

•••

Charles Dickens (The Pickwick Papers)—

Miss Bolo rose from the table considerably agitated, and went straight home, in a flood of tears and a sedan chair.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Guy Davenport's Mushrooms



Roy R. Behrens © illustrations for Guy Davenport (1979)
In speaking with students, I am increasingly puzzled by how quickly and completely society's past has been effaced by popular culture. They've all read Harry Potter of course, but are totally unfamiliar with Charles Dickens or H.L. Mencken ("old white guys," as one explained). They are thoroughly acquainted with the Mario Brothers, but have never heard of the James brothers, William (the writer) and Henry (the psychologist). Not even the Marx Brothers.

Above are stages in illustrations I designed in 1979 (full-color cover and six interior collages) to complement a short story by American fiction writer, essayist and scholar Guy Davenport, with whom I was then corresponding. Each day, increasingly few can understand what the imagery refers to, since education now rarely includes such peripheral gems of history as Paolo Ucello, Albrecht Dürer, Thomas Eakins, William Hogarth's line of beauty, Stanley Spencer—and Guy Davenport.

•••

Guy Davenport, in "Pleasant Hill," an interview by Bernard Hoepffner—

I am a minor writer because I deal in mere frissons and adventitious insights, and with things peripheral.…

•••

I'm not a novelist. Paul Klee was not a muralist. My ambition is to write as little as possible, in the smallest possible space.
     All my discrete paragraphing is to force the reader to read. Most narrative prose can be read by running one's eye down the page. If I've worked one hour on a sentence, I want the reader to pay attention to it. I hope there's a web of symbols and themes running through all the stories.


•••

The major writers in whose shadows I grow my mushrooms are Osip Mandelstam, Donald Barthelme, Robert Walser, and Walter Savage Landor.

See also this.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Explorations of Type | Chase Murphy

all images © Chase Murphy 2015
On a recent somber autumn day, my spirits were lifted by running across the work from last semester of Chase Murphy, who earned a BA in Graphic Design at the University of Northern Iowa in May of 2015.


In that semester, he was enrolled in a class I taught on the History of Design. When asked to take on related research, he created a stunningly beautiful book about historical typefaces. Each typeface was assigned a spread in which its finest attributes were described in a brief narrative and then visually conveyed by a fresh and engaging arrangement of type. Shown here are examples of only one side of a few of the spreads, but the spreads in full are online here.



Monday, September 7, 2015

Grout Museum Annual Report | Rachael Bair



A hearty congratulations to Rachael Bair, current graphic design student, Department of Art at the University of Northern Iowa, for her design of the Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 for the Grout Museum District (Waterloo IA). Rachael completed the project while working as an intern with Jacquie Colvin (former UNI student designer), who is now that organization's marketing coordinator and graphic designer. As confirmed by the sample pages above and below on this blog post, it's really an excellent layout, by one of our most extraordinary students. The entire annual report is also available online as a pdf. 

Earlier this year, Rachael earned another distinction when one of her woodcut illustrations, titled Carry a Light with You, received a Best of Category Award at the annual competition by the Art Directors Association of Iowa (ADAI). This was just the latest in the ever-growing list of Rachael's well-deserved graphic design prizes.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Space Suit Design Booklet | Austin Montelius

Space Suit Booklet © Austin Montelius 2015
Above Last semester in the Department of Art at the University of Northern Iowa, students in a course about the history of modern design (graphic, industrial and architectural) were assigned a major end-of-term project. They chose a research subject from the widest range of possibilities, with the aim of producing a formal research paper, an illustrated booklet, an information graphic (such as a chronological chart), and so on. The results were impressive to say the least. Among the finest was an exactly written and designed 32-page booklet on "the evolution of space suits in fiction and reality," produced by senior graphic designer Austin Montelius. The printed cover is above, with one of the opening spreads below. It was both flawless and ambitious, an admirable achievement in every regard.

Space Suit Booklet spread © Austin Montelius 2015
 The history of space exploration is one of Austin's many interests. He is especially knowledgeable of the development of the Russian space program, which he used as the subject for a stunning chronological chart which he designed for an earlier studio class (see below).