Hey! Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Hei! yeah, my name is Floris and currently I’m graduating graphic design at ArtEZ Arnhem. At this moment I’m 24 years old and also living in Arnhem. Are there other good things to say in this part? I moved to Arnhem after living in a small town in the north of Holland for the most part of my childhood. So Arnhem is a really nice segway in getting into the life of graphic design which is quite urban oriented.
So, how is the whole ‘graduation experience’ doing it for you so far?
Well, since a couple of weeks ago it’s been really nice. Somewhere around 13 may it worked out pretty good. But it’s also been nice. The work pressure has always been quite high at school, especially the third year was absolute hell sleep wise. So this is actually really nice. You get to work on projects you want to work on and on topics you like without pre determined parameters, which is also hard at times. Also I like the fact that we have to collaborate for the practical assignment, I like the fact that we get to collaborate with fellow students we, in most cases, have never worked with or sometimes even talked to. The whole experience is quite nice but still now with just about a month to go with all the projects is quite a stressful realization for me haha.
Would you tell us a little about your research project?
My research project focusses on the recent developments in art education. With growing budget cuts and neoliberal movements coming into schools and reorganizing the existing structures. This combined with my exit of the formal school system after over 20 years of education felt like it was something I want to work with. Within the project I’m creating different scenario’s within which speculation is able to take place on the future of art education. The ultimate goal is not to propose valid alternatives but more to raise questions about the current way education is being treated. The design part focusses on the idea of classrooms and the tables they use. Huge printed scrolls with table cloths function as conversation starters to engage the public in the discussion.
Other than that happening, what were some other important influences for the creation of your project the way it’s constructed currently?
During my internship there was a book launch of Contestations: Learning From Critical Experiments in Education. This book provided the theoretical urgency and also some examples for table cloths I designed. Also the design of school systems like Maria Montessori’s systems for teaching children are an important references as well as the artifacts you think of when thinking of a school i.e. notebooks, classrooms, paper airplanes etc.
Does your research project, to you, feel as like it’s your Mona Lisa of your work so far?
Not really, it’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve worked on. But it’s not an end result or whatever. I just started researching the topic of education, and I would like to research this further after graduation. The exhibition, to me, is more of a status update of what the past semester has been like. So maybe the Mona Lisa will come and then I’ll also get busses full of Chinese people taking pictures of what I did.
Ok, onto another topic. Could you tell a little about your thesis?
The title is ‘Towards A Contextual Aesthetic – The Values of Anti–Aesthetic’ and researches the relation between architecture and graphic design and also how they’ve changed in meaning in the current digital age. In my text I discuss different typefaces based on the ideas presented by ‘Learning From Las Vegas by Venturi’, Scott Brown and Izeour in 1972. These ideas of the ‘duck’ and the ‘decorated shed’ transform into a hybrid where manipulation is able to take place. With anti–aesthetics always being a form of progress I end with some questions about the future of the graphic design practice and how we could view this in the future.
Has your thesis had a certain influence on deciding on the subject of the research assignment?
In the method of working and the end result, yes. Both projects focus more on raising questions rather than providing answers. This is also what I think is more interesting about graphic design these days. However the topics don’t really relate in any way.
To what sense would you like your project, and it’s methodology, to correspond to your practice after graduation?
I like this idea of raising questions a lot. In this I use design more as a mode of educating myself instead of solving other peoples problems. In every project there’s probably some questions and also some awnsers but in a broader sense it would be nice to continue raising questions about topics I’m interested in, they could be related to art and design but also on a more brooder scale, politics, economics, and in geography.
Okay, onto another part of your graduation; where did you do your internship?
At Zak Group, it’s a London based design studio working for art and architecture institutions as well as trying to initiate own projects at times.
In what way has the experience of doing an internship changed you of your (design) beliefs or (work)habits?
Well it influenced my way of file saving haha. It also confirmed to me that I definitely want my own voice as a designer and the opportunity to engage in my own projects or design choices.
Did they serve avocado’s during lunch?
Yes they did! Every friday there was an avocado salad served at the local market. So every friday there was a huge line with all sorts of designers wanting an avocado salad. Or at least, I think it was friday…
It could also have been thursday.
Could you inform us on your partner, client and type of assignment for the practical assignment?
Together with Lieke Duchatteau I worked on the graduation catalog, it’s for the Graphic Design department in Arnhem and most of the talkes are with the head of our department Thomas Castro. The process is quite hard because it is not like most practical assignments. In most of these assignments the content is supplied and you work with the content you receive. No more, no less. For this we had to generate our own method of producing content that was interesting not only for us but for all the other students and also the less ‘educated’ (design wise) parents. So the process of design starts out quite slow since we have to generate our own content which is a task in of itself. Also there was no budget and still the expectancy of multiple catalog’s which have a certain value as object for time to come. However this presented us with nice thinking exercises about print on demand publishing and its implications towards the overal concept of the book and also made us question how this could be manipulated in a clever way.
Five years from now, you’ll be doing what?
I HAVE NO IDEA!! Livin’ the good life, ya know..
Finally, any tips or advice for upcoming graduate students? Or new students?
Hmm.. I’ll probably come up with some cliche.
Let me think a little… Don’t try to hard to be a graphic designer, just be a person.