Sunday, November 25, 2007

Psychedelic Designs

Psychedelic Designs
Marker, ink, coloured pencil
copyright Jeanette Jobson

This is the demo for the design class that I taught the children today and they lapped it up. Freedom of expression, colour and creativity brings out the best in kids it seems and the soar on possibilities. Its very reminiscent of the 1960s psychedelic designs. There are a number of designs created either under the influence of a mind altering drug of the time or stone cold straight. Mine was the latter by the way. Check out Psychedelic Artists for some interesting pieces of art.

Though it had little influence on the mainstream, the Psychedelic movement in design represented a surge in innovation and experimentation that was in keeping with a larger post-war artistic renaissance of the 1960s and 1970s. The backdrop for the movement (which was preceded by the Beatniks and followed by the Punks) is popularly imagined as a whirlwind of drugs and hippies, rock 'n' roll and love-ins. While this may seem a romanticized generalization, it is indeed impossible to extract the movement from the startling developments in the youth culture of the time. Its aim was simple: mind-expansion through visual representation.

As it spread throughout the U.S. and Europe, Psychedelia pilfered from past art movements such as Art Nouveau, Op Art, and Pop Art. Many designers borrowed from ethnic clothing styles with layered colors, patterns, and textures. The result was a synthesis of vibrant colors and exuberant typefaces, which were distorted and warped until the images almost appeared to be fueled by their own movement. Designers, including Peter Max, Victor Moscos, and Wes Wilson, infused their work with a cool and groovy vibe, combining bright and garish colors straight out of an acid flashback. Images trailed off the page, as if mimicking the curling tendrils of marijuana and incense smoke. At the heart, Psychedelic designs were not meant to be viewed, but experienced. The designs sought to capture a vivid moment in time, a certain flash of the mind's consciousness. Rules were made to be broken -- and they were.

There are aspects of teaching children that I find daunting. I'm searching my memory to remember what my girls liked and disliked at the 8 - 12 age range and that memory is limited. So I experiment on friends children and research and read a lot about those age groups, find out about their limitations and expectations.

The kids that come to the class are more precocious than I remember mine being and talk about everything and anything. The kids I have taught talk to me about personal things that sometimes surprise me, sometimes not.

Kids are exposed to so much these days - something I never let my kids do until the age was right. I was the strict parent. Standardized meal times, bed times, monitored television and film watching for age appropriateness - that seems to have all flown out the window. However, I'm not there to judge, simply to show them drawing techniques and make it fun. So far so good. The crows of 'cool' seem to reflect that I'm doing something right with that age group.


Billie Crain said...

Congratulations on your success with the kid's art class, Jeanette! 'Cool' is quite the affirmation.:) they say kids these days have changed but after all they're still kids with the same need to express themselves and what better way than thru art. it's a good thing that you are doing.*thumbsup*

Jeanette said...

Thanks Billie, I learn something each time I'm with them.