Ed Fella at Chaumont

An extrait of our little talk with Ed and Harmen.

P&V: How did you end up, starting from a commercial advertising agency designer to an autonomous graphic artist?
Ed: I just continued to be a graphic designer. I wanted to turn graphic design into an art practice instead of a commercial practice.

P&V: Were you combining your work with art before?
Ed: When you go out of high school you’re eighteen, than four years of bachelor, than in America you can go a two years of masters and phd if you want.. However, I went to a technical high school, it’s called trade school.
The ideology of my school was coming from from the Bauhaus. There was almost no difference between art and design

P&V: So you were fed with Bauhaus
Ed: Sort of yes. I had three years of art history. I had a pretty sophisticated education for a kid. It was les beaux art training like the time when you learn from drawing a model.
I was indoctrinated as a young person into this understanding of design and art as one. You were becoming either a fine artist or commercial artist.
What we were learning wasn’t called graphic design, it was called commercial art. The term ‘graphic design’ arrived in America in 60s.

Bauhaus called design as layout. In 50s when I started, I was called layout man. There were no layout woman. Women could not work more than eight consecutive hours, there were laws against it. However, in design practice we work more than eight hours, so woman could not be part of this profession.

Harmen Liemburg: Do you thing when the second world war ended, the whole movement liberated woman back to traditional role models?
Ed: Yes. The other thing was that people wanted to have the goodies, like washing machines, kitchenware, etc. So they actually had to work extra harder.

P&V: You mentioned that you were currently working with an exit strategy. Can you explain it further?
During thirty years, I worked as a commercial artist. I did what the client demanded.
However, all these flyers in the exhibition, I was the one bought them to the printing, that’s why it became art practice. I was the author of the command. It’s like buying your own print. I always lived in a modest way, that’s why iI did not needed to buy a lot of stuff. I only did enough money to live, no extra need.

The letterforms that I am currently working on, I call it art abbot commercial art, combining the whole little rich history of design with the vernacular, decorative forms, borders. America has such a rich history of typography. My work also discovers the American history, a vernacular history but still a professional one.

P&V: You have a great interest for the vernacular, can you explain what it means to you?
Ed: The vernacular is done with great care imagination and love. It’s done with the endeavor that people have.
It’s like the history of two masons, one is lying bricks, the other one is building a cathedral. The vernacular is about how people feel about what they are doing.
Human beings decorate themselves, it’s part of our evolution, we started with painting our caves. You can compare it to animals. For sexual attraction they grow beautiful hair.

This entry was written by Pinar&Viola, posted on May 30, 2011 at 4:37 pm, filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


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