The Design Objective Archive is an evolving digital and physical collection of culturally relevant, historical, and important works by Trinidad & Tobago graphic designers. We are currently formalising agreements for the works that will be included in the DO Archive.
WITH A POSTER TO BOOT
Eddie Bowen and I met in 1986 because I fell in love with his paintings at the Gallery 1234 at the Normandie Hotel. Roger Turton was curating Eddie’s show and introduced me to Eddie. Ed and I started liming and talking a lot about art and design and, in 1987, we wanted to do something together so we thought that we should teach. It made sense because Ed would teach fine art, and I would teach design. We were both twenty-something-year-olds just back from art school – Ed from London and I from New York.
We needed to advertise the classes, so we thought a cool poster that we could pin up all over the country would be nice. We planned the teaching really well and decided to brand it according to something I’d been reading by György Kepes called the Language of Vision. Ed was real cool with this name, plus he was impressed that György had legendary Bauhaus teachers.
My great teacher at SVA, Ken Deardoff, taught me constructive design that focussed heavily on the psychology of visual perception. I loved this stuff and was a natural. Ken encouraged me to read: Kepes’ “Language of Vision” series; Rudolph Arnheim’s Art and Visual Perception and Carolyn Bloomer’s Principles of Visual Perception. I got them all at Strand Book Shop at Broadway and 12th and devoured them. These books changed my life. I still have them, and still read them. I’m now the proud owner of all Kepes’ books, and most of Arnheim’s.
My other great teacher, Charles Goslin, who taught me conceptual design drilled me – like if there was something like a design drill sergeant – to produce work with riveting symbolism and with the most precise measures of formal and spatial qualities. I developed a love in his class for Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, and East German posters. I still love this stuff. Charles hated padding and hated bad drawing in design like the cosmetic, badly drawn, colourful, jumbled shit that you see a lot of today. Charles was a hard-nosed concept man dedicated to extreme elegance. And I learned well.
I wanted Charles and Ken to be proud of my posters. Charles saw the boot poster and loved it lots; Ken never did see it, but I know he would have liked it because I was his best design student.
Ed and I drove all around the country in his 1982 dirty red Mazda 626, PAG 1424. Anybody in any parlour, mall shop, supermarket or drug store who said yes to us we would pin up a boot poster in their store.
And then we started to teach. We got a real good turn out; I think about twenty students. The boot poster worked well.
In 1987 Ed and I were two young fellas with dreams of being good artists and teachers. Our boot design that year signified the big step we were taking to balance on a tightrope made of string, while organising and composing with some sense of precision. We did not know if we’d fall off – if the string would burst, if we’d stop ticking, or what. But thirty years later, we’re still working.
— Steve Ouditt
To highlight the Archive, DO has partnered with designer Steve Ouditt to produce a limited edition reprint of one of his classic posters.
Language of Vision
STEVE OUDITT, 1987
20"x 26" Limited Poster Reprint: TTD$200