Discovery of the week for me is the work of Corita Kent – a “charismatic nun, artist and activist” from 1960s America.
I am excited by the raw, bold nature of her work, with colours and text screaming cheerfully at you. Corita Kent used silkscreen printing to create these large posters, and so I was also inspired to work large scale.
I had a few monoprints I did earlier lying around, so I cut up some of them into thin strips and started collaging.
Oh the joy of re-arranging paper! It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but with so much design work done on computer these days, in the detached “safety” of the screen and without much physical action involved, doing something as simple as manually moving some sheets of paper by hand becomes a revelation. There is something much more intuitive in seeing the real thing in front of you, being able to touch it and create a change not relying on any technology other than a gesture of your hand. I think I am slightly envious of 1950s’ designers – they had to work with their hands most of the time.
After looking at the typeface medley of Corita Kent’s work, I obviously had to add some text to my poster too. The word “new” came to mind, and I resorted to my usual stencilling technique to print it.
Switching back to digital tools, I used a sketching app on my phone to draw over the photo of a poster and quickly turned it into this little Lunar New Year greeting.
I am surprised I didn’t find out about Corita Kent’s earlier. There are no strict rules or grids in the way she uses type, which in my opinion makes her posters expressive and free. She was also an inspiring teacher, and I wish I could attend her workshop somehow! Finally, here are the 10 Rules for Teachers and Students by Corita Kent and John Cage.