Chris Henry and Kelsey Nichols
KTSW Other Side Drive
Confessions of a Design Thief is an art exhibition in JC Mitte building in galleries one and two. The exhibition features works by South African artist Garth Walker.
This week we spoke with Maia Wright, who is the assistant professor of communication design in the School of Art and Design. Wright has been emailing Garth Walker over the past year planning the art exhibition, which was originally featured in New York. “This was a show that was put together in New York City by a graphic design professor there. And I contacted her to see if we can bring the show here because it’s a rare opportunity for us in San Marcos to see graphic design from South Africa its halfway across the world. And it comes from a very different visual culture so it doesn’t look like American design, it doesn’t look like European design, which is a lot of what we look at here in school when we teach design history. And in our everyday life the design that surrounds us looks very American and Garth Walker, this South African designer, makes design that is very much rooted in his experience as a south African and so it has a completely different aesthetic to it and so my role in bringing the exhibit here was to contact the curator in New York and request that we travel the exhibition here to Texas State.”
Garth Walker will be speaking on Texas State’s campus Nov. 15 at 3:30p.m in JC Mitte building room 2121. “He is going to be flying to Texas from South Africa, which is a long way to come to talk about the work in the gallery and also to show some recent projects, to put it all in context for us. Everyone is invited.” When speaking of Walker, Wright said that he is a graphic designer who does a lot of different kinds of work and has many styles. “He designed a tunnel for the World Cup when it was held in South Africa a couple summers ago and designed a new typeface for the constitutional court in South Africa using handwriting of political prisoners who were held there. So a lot of his work was really related to South African politics and history, it’s also a really global country. It’s a very cosmopolitan country representing people of all different backgrounds. All of that comes through in his work. So the gallery shows a lot of his work and it also shows some actual packaging design that he just picks up from stores and shops around urban South Africa that are used for inspiration for him. And it also has a bunch of photographs that he has taken. He likes to go around the country and take photos of handpainted signs, gravestones, packaging, store fronts, different examples of everyday design and typography.”
This exhibit will show a graphic design, which is different from what is usually shown in the exhibits. “It’s a nice chance to see graphic design in the gallery because its less often that we have exhibitions like that. In terms of recent shows that it is similar to, there was a political poster exhibition last fall, and that was a graphic design show. A bunch of different designers were represented but they were all posters that had to do with political issues, social issues. And this is pretty similar in that it is also graphic design. It is not limited to posters because he does work as large as type on the side of a building, ranging to also posters, or print pieces: books and magazines. But his work is really about South African politics so in that way I think it is related to the political poster show. So graphic design students or anyone interested in politcs around the world or international studies, I really think it appeals to people outside of art and design as well.”
Wright said that the exhibit has a lot of political influences from the South African presidential election of 1994. “His work is related to a very important election, the election of 1994 of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. We didn’t time it to go along with the election. It was intended to be part of the common experience this year, which is a Global Odyssey, so we have a bunch of speakers this year that are international are going to be on campus throughout the year.”
Confessions of a Design Thief is currently being shown and goes until Nov. 18. for more information at txstate.edu.