For this project, my goal was to create letterforms inspired by the technique and process of Wassily Kandinsky, the Russian painter and pioneer of total abstraction in modern art. I began this project by researching Kandinsky and his work. He painted primarily with oils, watercolor, gouache and tempera. I was interested in Kandinsky’s belief that painting from life is
contrived and untruthful, while complete abstraction is raw and spiritual. His works were inspired by music – Kandinsky admired how musicians could conjure images in the mind of the listener with only sound. As a result, his pieces have a sort of rhythm and movement that make them feel musical.
My first step in this project was looking at images of his work and noticing its characteristics. I came up with a list of 15 adjectives: geometric, abstract, colorful, linear, kinetic, rhythmic, active, detached, deconstructed, engaging, fluid, detailed, methodical, otherworldly, and dynamic. Next, I started copying some of the shapes Kandinsky works with and began creating a composition of my own. I started to see how certain lines and curves looked like parts of letterforms.
After sketching out some letters, I tried creating Kandinsky’s name with microns and gouache paint. I like the vibrance of the gouache, but I found the medium too difficult to control if I wanted to emulate Kandinsky’s tight, clean style. So, I decided to cut out painted elements, scan them into Photoshop and edit them, and then compose them in a 10”x10” format in
Illustrator. I played around with the idea of marrying the old (gouache painting) and the new (Adobe technology). I did by juxtaposing “real” scanned elements with pixelated images and flat vector shapes. To add a sense of layering and depth, I put drop shadows on some elements. This project allowed me to draw inspiration from an artist’s work and spin it into my own original piece.