Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.
[Re]generate: My story of my Father, Robert Heron.
I have documented my Fathers story, to inspire others.
My father’s stories are New Zealand stories, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking but always straightforward and honest, I captured these stories for people who are trying to find value and understanding through history, within their own life.
Aesthetically collage is an important contextual reference, because it allows me to explore with layered visual references my father’s values and memories. The design decision to use collage as my main medium was informed by my research, collages offers an effective way to create a visual manifestation of nostalgia and to evoke an overlapping sense of memory and territory. By researching the ways in which personal narrative and evocative objects come together to create a strong connection to social and personal memory, I sort to decipher my father’s life in order to create a set of graphic images that have resonance and meaning.
I began my research by reading the article “Identity Formations across Cultures” by Jean S Phinney. This gave me a clear understanding of how the identity makes choices, and how broad historical changes provide a background for this process. She discusses how each and every one of us will be confronted with difficult experiences throughout our lives, and how these happenings provide us with an insight that allows us to see that it is possible to overcome them. It serves as a natural experiment, which is impossible to capture through any other means. We are unable to see the importance of each experience we encounter because we cannot physically see the way it shapes us. My publication [Re]generate, aims to awaken those who cannot see the beauty in the everyday. To encourage people to reflect upon their memories in a positive light, and to understand the significance each moment has had in terms of making them the person they are today.
The process I used to achieve this was through my research focusing on symbolism and metaphors. My research proved how important it was to know and understand the meaning of images, and also the meaning when you combine imagery. It was important to me that the imagery could tell its own story whilst still remaining a strong connection with the text/memory being said. When I first began making collages, I was creating images that were visually appealing, however they lacked a sense of narrative, and were hard to unpack and understand. I didn’t want to have this in my publication so I began by incorporating the use of a half tone tonal-range, and also the use of space. This transformed my collages, and changed them so they were still visually appealing, but could create a sense of narrative at the same time.
Collages from the beginning of my project, experimenting with layering, and colour.
Collages for [Re]generate. Creating an overall half-tone tonal range and using old photographs to reflect the time and place of these memories. Use of space is vital in order for these collages to remain a relationship with the text being said.
“Notice how I am suspended by two knots, one that anchors me and one that holds me. Notice how I am two knots, waiting to be pulled this way and that. I understand being pulled; it is something that I know. Allowing others to pull me is a purpose that I serve.” 
At the beginning of this project, I took my Father back to all his old houses, to refresh his memories, and to allow me to have a connection with the space also. I made the design decision to focus on his houses, as it gave me a way of capturing both different ages and locations throughout his life. In Sherry Turkles article ‘What makes an evocative object?’ she discusses several different cases surrounding the similarities between people and their objects. The above quotation is from a younger girl called Jill, where she compares the purpose of a knot, to the purpose of her being. She is able to see a commonality between her and her object, where the ends of the string symbolise her parents and their divorce, with her being the knot – the part that brings the two ends together. A piece of string may mean nothing to any other person, but to Jill, the relationship is stronger because of the way she perceives herself and the purpose of her life. This shows how any object or space can hold meaning if we allow ourselves to relate to them or refer them back to memories.
These photographs of the houses became a new system applied to my publication by using the colour swatches from these photos to apply to each section/house of my book. This lets it act as a reference point, where I am connecting the moments of the past; with the way these spaces are at present. My research showed how particular spaces are read through history, and the way a surface of a space can act as a way to understand who has occupied that space and how they have ‘left their mark’ within that area. This soon related to the trip my Father and I had returning to his houses. He told me about all the aspects that had changed around the places, all the work he did within these areas, and it became apparent to me that my Father’s time/memories in these spaces was still present. This made it more important for my publication to join the past to the present so my audience could see the strong connection between my Dads memories, and the spaces today. To help enhance this, I collected a range of natural objects such as leaves, and flowers from these areas, and photographed them so they would be a reference point within the collage.
My Fathers story is a genuine representation of history, and how things really were from 1935 onwards. To try and explore the idea that there is more to a person/space/object that the surface, and appearance, I explored this concept in terms of the layout of my publication. I am using transparent paper to create the idea of “looking through a stained glass window”. I made the design decision to do this, as it reflects how when we go to these spaces, we do not have a relationship to them due to not having an experience there/with the person. This means that when you look at the transparent paper layering the collage, the mailbox number (of my Fathers old home) is the correct way round, yet the text about the memory is backwards. This therefore makes the viewer turn the page in order to read the memory and understand the value my father holds at his old homes. This is deliberately confronting how we have to look that little bit further to truly understand, and appreciate what is valuable in our own lives. There is always more under the surface than what appears. It is not until we unpack them that we are able to see the deeper underlying aspects.
First image showing transparent overlay. Second image is once the page has been turned.
To create a personal conection between the viewer and my Father, I have decided to create a publication that is similar to an Anthropological Diary that includes includes old photographs of my Father. My research into diaries from the 19th century has influenced both the size and texture of [Re]generate. I have chosen to have a soft covered book covered in cloth, a little bit smaller than an A5 book. This is to refer back to how books and diaries were during the 19th century. My research proved that diaries were made to be small so they could be carried with the owner at all times. The time and place of my Fathers memories is sginificent as it explores ‘how things really were’ back then, rather than a story that has been manipulated and edited by the media. [Re]generate: A story about my Fathers Journey, aims to take people back in time, so it is essential that the aestetics and physical-feel of my publication relate to the time and occurance of these events.
Researching diaries from the 19th century, focusing on the size of the diaires, and also the handwriting (both the appearance, and the way it was written).
Collaging my Fathers old photographs with prints made in printmaking to help emphasize the overall personal-feel.
Memoir de oceanie voyage. This publication has been a huge inspiration in terms of tone, layout, and balance.
It made me aware of creating a ‘rhythm’ and flow throughout the whole book, and this is essential in [Re]generate as every story is all from one person – My Father.
Creating the publication [Re]generate has been an inspiring and eye-opening experience. My focus has been on Anthropology (the study of human-kind), where I have studied and learnt about my Dads journey, and not only have I acquired a knowledge about his life, it has allowed me to reflect and appreciate my own. [Re]generate has given me the opportunity to create my project about the two things that are most important to me. Firstly, my father and our relationship, and secondly the desire to become my dream of becoming a Graphic Designer. I hope that the passion I have for this project reflects within my work, and my audience is able to comprehend the underlying message about how influential our history and past experiences have on us as individuals.
Portfolio Board 1/
“Desolate, hazy and silent images that evoke a dreamlike nostalgia. They are scraps and discards, things I collect on my travels, old books, things I find out on the street, stuff other people would throw away, Things that need to get out from under my bed. The best treasures are those forgotten about and found again.”