Tuesday, December 7, 2010

African Art History Project

When I took history of graphic design last year, papers were par for the course. There were two papers, two tests, and four 'pop' quizzes, and I thought that this was both fair and reasonable. From comments made by my Modern Art history teacher (by which I mean that she out and out stated it; truly, her discretion knows no bounds) that not everyone thought that this was fair and reasonable and that papers are no longer to be assigned to the class in general.

So have fun with that, Art History students, I don't really envy you your extra workload.

At the same time, I'm a bit offended. We live in an age of unparalleled written communication. No generation before us has written or read more than we have. And someone on high thinks we can't do research? Can't put together a reasonable argument or coherent paragraph?

I don't know, maybe I'm the odd duck here. Lord knows I enjoy writing more than a great many people and that it's gotten me into a little bit of trouble now and again*.

Anyway, this was mostly just to introduce how my African Art History teacher got around the no-essay thing. Besides having us post blog entries I mean (which I did on a separate, private blog, thankyouverymuch.) We were given a 'creative project,' which could pretty much be anything within reason (including a paper if so desired.) Our subject was to be something of our choosing that we covered before the midterm. I chose the adoption of plank masks by the Bwa of southern Burkina Faso.


When I first started this project, I wanted to do three different pages, showcasing the perspectives of each of the major players as we learned about them in class (the French invaders, the Bwa themselves, and either the Nuna or Nunuma, from whom the Bwa either bought, copied, or traded the masks depending on the mask or family)

It was always going to be a silent comic with abstracted forms for the people to highlight the nature of the masks, but as I started doing the research I realized that the normal layout wouldn't work. Which was really too bad: I had wanted to print it off as a freebie for SPACE. Ah, well, posters work as well and will actually earn me some spendables maybe.

Obviously, I wasn't careful with my panel shapes or outlines. I didn't want to lay them out on a grid while I drew them so that I could get more freeform shapes. For the most part, I think this worked out fairly well. On the other hand, the gutter spacing (it's soooooo huuuuuge) really bugs me. But that's the thing about experimenting: not everything works.

In summary: super awesome project. A++, would draw again.

*I was once accused of plagiarism because, among other things, my vocabulary was too good. This was back in 7th grade, when I was still naive enough to believe that I was being asked to stay after class so that the teacher could offer me praise, as if such things happen. It was one of the most shaming experiences of my public school experience, and I never even received an apology. And that is why I never seriously pursued creative writing. Also why I avoid the word 'albeit.'

1 comment:

  1. BETH!!!

    I saw this and was so proud to call you my once student! Very ambitious project. COLORED TOO!!! Glad to see you experimenting with form. Great work. KEEP IT UP!!!


    Ryan Claytor
    Elephant Eater Comics