17 April 2013
Offset 2013: day three
Craig & Karl, Oliver Jeffers, Chris Silas Neal, Ben Newman and Kate Moross take the stage. Pam Bowman reports on her final day in Dublin.
The last day of the conference began with the design pair Craig and Karl. writes Pam Bowman, in the third and final report from Offset 2013.
They met at university in Australia, and now Craig Redman works in New York while Karl Maier works in London. After discussing the logistics of running a studio via Skype, the global duo presented their brightly coloured projects that span from editorial illustrations to interiors, including Redman’s alter-ego character Darcel Disappoints.
Craig Redman and Karl Maier, Craig & Karl.
Top: Kate Moross with one of her vinyl sleeve designs.
Jeffers said, ‘I don’t tell stories I think children want to hear, I tell stories I want to hear.’ His 2012 title This Moose Belongs to Me won the Junior Book of the Year prize in the Irish Book Awards.
Jeffers is also an accomplished painter, and showed a series of his work called Understanding Everything where his interest in science, specifically quantum physics, was apparent. The work approaches each subject from both a scientific and an emotional perspective.
He concluded by showing his reappropriated paintings, bought from junk shops, creating convincingly impossible scenes.
Chris Silas Neal.
Chris Silas Neal graduated with a degree in music and worked in graphic design for three years before moving towards illustration. He showed his process from sketches and roughs, to mechanical colour separation and explained how he works with clients, offering very rough ideas that demonstrate that all the possible routes have been considered.
He spoke about the experience of taking his illustration through to animation, as well as the craft of sound. Neal lectures one day a week at Pratt Institute. He noted that teaching is ‘a nice way to reaffirm what you are doing.’
Oliver Jeffers and Richard Seabrooke.
The relationship between Richard Seabrooke and Oliver Jeffers goes back a long way, with recent collaboration on Jeffers’ book Neither Here Nor There. It was great to see Seabrooke, one of the Offset organisers, come out from behind the scenes. They spoke about the origin of Offset – Jeffers spoke at the first one – and its development to the huge event it is now.
Seabrooke asked Jeffers about his childhood in Belfast and his art education up to his studio practice in New York. Jeffers spoke about the range of work he undertakes, including working with Studio AKA on an animated adaptation of his picture book ‘Lost and Found’, motion and physical design work for TED with Mac Premo and his painting and art practice.
‘Ideas come first, then what is the best way to give these ideas form. If its photography, I’ll go that way. If it’s a film I’ll go that way,’ Jeffers said.
Ben Newman hula hoops onto the stage.
Ben Newman hula hooped from stage right to Van Halen’s ‘Jump’. The stunt could have gone horribly wrong but he pulled it off, explaining that if you can do the thing that terrifies you most, everything else is easy.
Newman was yet another speaker (like Vaughan Oliver) with an appreciation for comic timing, and gave a very engaging and honest talk. He spoke about the power of illustration, and the discipline’s ability to visually represent the impossible, particularly in relation to scale within scenes. ‘I realised, I’m not a photographer; I’m an illustrator, I can draw whatever the fuck I want!’
Newman played short animation pieces for Nexus Productions and Flying Eye Books, the new children’s book imprint from Nobrow, and spoke about his influences, process and collaborations with The Felt Mistress, and his father Colin Newman.
Designer-illustrator Kate Moross played film and music videos and spoke about important influences in her life and work, beginning with Kadimah Summer camps from the age of seven to sixteen – ‘Religion was not a part of my life but this was.’ She spoke about her love of Riot Girls and punk ephemera, fanzines and lo-fi production and used her first fanzine, draw together and her experimentation with MySpace to demonstrate her ethos: ‘The most important thing I want you to leave this room with is that there is no limit. There is no wall!’
Finally, on the second stage, Adrian Shaughnessy introduced his publishing venture Unit Editions, a joint venture with Spin’s Tony Brook, and their recent book about Herb Lubalin. In the early days of the company, Unit Editions decided that using major distributors was not the best method. Taking charge and doing the distribution themselves also meant that the rules of major publishing do not apply. ‘A book can now have a cover without an image and even one with an image and no type at all.’
The Offset 2013 catalogue, including interviews and more detail about the speakers, can be downloaded from their website without charge.
Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and back issues. You can see what Eye 84 looks like at Eye before You Buy on Vimeo.