Author Archives: dpadill1

Nothing to Lose

Nothing to Lose
1. Dyou become selfconscious of your ideas? 
I suppose ideas can often seem more personal than our selves, at times. I, personally, am usually very self-conscious of my ideas, and am constantly seeking approval and justification for whatever ideas I may have. I suppose it is less about needing approval and more about needing a definite path to walk; a guarantee that what I’m doing is the right thing. For instance, I’ve recently been wrestling with my degree plan, wondering if I should swap my major and minor for one another. While it seems entirely the same, I’m honestly very concerned about doing the right thing. In all honesty, job security and pay are incredibly large factors in this dilemma, but I also feel uneasy about my talent as an artist and just how happy I’ll be as a graphic design major compared to a computer science major.
Not to sound full of myself, but I am proficient in quite a few areas — specifically writing, art, math, technological applications and so on — so I find it hard to settle on a specific career path or degree that’ll let me use all of those skills to the best of my abilities. Is it best to be a programmer with art experience, or a artist with programming experience? It’s difficult and important, but I have no understanding of what is actually right. Who’s to say that Andy Warhol should have been a tap dancer? I suppose no one else is capable of saying so, except for Warhol himself. I suppose that the real goal is to be self-conscious about your ideas, but not to the point where you loose sight of your intentions and goals. Maybe that’s the missing link for me?
2. What do you think of the nothingtolose attitude?  What are its pros and cons?
I think to say you have nothing to lose is ultimately unrealistic, yet effective. It is impossible to have no consequences for the choices we make in life, but sometimes throwing caution to the wind is the best way to motivate yourself to take important risks or make life-changing decisions. However, that mentality, I believe, can snowball into a much larger tone of ignorance for one’s position. If you have no sense of consequence whatsoever, you can become and entirely irresponsible and dangerous person, and that’s a very slippery slope to walk on. I’m the kind of person who likes to play things safe, so maybe that’s a bad thing. But, on the contrary, I’ve never been in serious trouble before. Risks are okay, but even the most whimsical of risks can still benefit from being more calculated than others.

Design Noun/Verb

Design Noun/Verb
According to Paul Rand, creating a good design is never an easy task. In general, design is an incredibly laborious process and can be very stressful. However, I feel that despite the pressure that the field can bring (as well as the apparent headaches from management), the best way to be prepared for the creative process is to understand your own limits and faults. Yes, people will disagree with your designs and want you to change them, and you certainly can’t control their taste, but you have to be an incredibly patient person to be able to deal with that. I tend to be incredibly flexible with clients, especially if the person is paying me for something, as you want them to be happy with the end result. However, I think being articulate is extremely important, especially when you find yourself needing to explain that a client’s suggestion is a huge mistake. Truly, patience and communication skills are key, I believe.
As far as the actual making process goes, a good grasp on your skills (obviously linked to practice) is definitely necessary to be prepared. However, when something comes along that you don’t know, flexibility and the ability to take risks will really come into play.
Currently, I don’t often have a lot of down time. However, I tend to make videos for my Youtube channel when I have time. I think the best part about making videos is that it incorporates a lot of different aspects of creativity for me. I can write a script, create my logo or a simple backdrop, and edit the video for timing and aesthetics. It’s honestly a lot of fun, and I’ve also started to doodle a little in my free time, mainly trying to get a grasp on drawing from a reference image.

Mad Scientists?!?

Mad Scientists?!?

Making decisions is tough. Personally, I tend to be an incredibly indecisive person; I’ll beat several ideas to death before I even figure out which one I wanted in the first place. Honestly, it’s not a good system to have. Whenever I’m making decisions for, say, 60 drawings about lines, I’m usually too afraid to just say “Okay, I’m doing this and it’s going to happen right now”, and end up saying something more along the lines of “Okay, here are twenty different ways to draw one concept, but which one is best?” In the readings, they talk a lot about how designers can borrow from other mediums or even just invent something new to accomplish a certain goal. For instance, Panton made a chair that had never really been done before, and in doing so challenged a certain status quo. However, I feel that decision often take inspiration from other situations, as well — I may have twenty-something ideas, but based on my restraints and what I’ve done in the past, I can narrow those ideas down a whole lot. Perhaps my decisions aren’t based on anything substantial, per say, but I do feel like they are definitely based on the situation I’m in and my past experiences.


Similarly, I find that determining whether something is “working” a rather complex action. I think, to some extent, it comes naturally to me. However, I believe that a lot of the exposure I’ve had to filmmaking, photography, and audio-video production give me a lot to go on when determining the quality of something. For instance, in my own personal projects, or even my writing, I try very hard to avoid awkward situations that can confuse the audience. I feel like if whatever I’m working on can help the audience understand my work as a whole, it’s a good idea that serves a good purpose. Similar to the biogas made by Superflex, if something is functioning as it should be, yet not a jarring eyesoar, it works.


When something refuses to work, I refuse to start over. I’ve never been one to go back to the drawing board when something goes awry; I power through and try to really control what’s going on in a project, rather than the other way around. If it’s something as simple as, say, audio leveling in a video, it’s easy for me to adjust the work to meet my needs. However, if it’s something complex like a sequence of events in a book that aren’t quite fitting together nicely, I try to look at the elements in the work in a different perspective. Sometimes I feel like I’m sifting through the plastic bad of edits like Lauren van Deursen, looking for anything that might reinforce my ideas and possibly could be added to the piece. All in all, I try to fix what’s superficial and meaningful without uprooting the foundation I’ve already laid down.

An Artist or a Designer?

An Artist or a Designer?
What a very stressful question!

I think, at least initially, I didn’t see much difference in the two. Can’t an artist design something? Isn’t what a designer makes still art? Well, maybe that’s the case, but I think that there seems to be a clear division in society. It seems that artists are meant to create things that are intriguing or deep, while designers take artistic principles and craft them into something practical or functional.

Again, I’m not too sure I agree with that, but I suppose a line needs to be drawn somewhere. As Donald Judd put it, that’s why we don’t find furniture in art exhibits.

I think that maybe, just maybe, an artist and designer are the same thing. Perhaps an artist can design and a designer can create art. Artists create their works in order to make an audience feel something; to transcend. Designers, I believe, are still trying to make an audience feel something through their works. Even in advertising, isn’t the goal of a billboard or a company’s logo to convey a certain message? With aspects like color theory and even the most basic elements of psychology pouring into art, isn’t their bound to be unified themes and goals on both sides?


If left with the question, “Are you an artist or a designer?“, I think I’d much rather jump into the nearest bush and avoid it, but I can’t help feeling I do need to make some kind of decision.

I believe that in the grand scheme of things, I’m a designer. Yes, I am capable of making art, and I’m capable of making others feel what I want to express through my work, but I also have a love for the technical aspects of life, including graphic design. If I wanted to further complicate my answer, I would elaborate on the fact that I am constantly battling between this and a need to express myself. While I feel I am perfectly capable of adhering to a client’s vision, or even just designing something as minimalist as a website’s border art, I feel that there’s a lot of creativity to be wasted in such endeavors. In truth, I’m moreso a designer and an artist.

I think that, at its core, art truly is separate from design. If one were to see a particularly moving animated movie, they would consider it art; you wouldn’t call a movie functional. Perhaps everything serves a purpose, but not so much has a function. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me to define my own stance; regardless of capability, it comes down to whether one wants to have their work be functional or moving. To me, there seems to be a great difference, but they’re not entirely separate. You need a little bit of a mixture to really do your best, I think.

Then again, I could be entirely wrong.

We’re Closing In!!!

We’re Closing In!!!

So, this time around I went through PRINTING HELL to get to the inkjet prototype. Honestly, gate folds are a gigantic pain in the butt, even if it turned out pretty awesome.

For the sake of not messing anything up, I made no cuts in the gate fold, but I may try it after Monday’s crit, just to see what it looks like.


I think the sequence was a very deliberate and conscious effort on my part, so really swapping any two pages, even just misplacing the center spread, really changes the flow of things, creating a huge bump in the sequence. Honestly, changing two pages makes it a very awkward book. Now, if the pages are in the same spread, it might just give the book variety, as the overall narrative would remain intact.

the narrative itself is comparison-based. The whole story revolves around life, death, and the cycle between the two. In the case of the book, the flower is used as an example of the theme through juxtaposition; the live plant and the dying one represent the young and old, and it reveals the somewhat naive concept that nothing really dies; we’re all extensions of those before us.

Anyhow, in terms of the book itself, I’ve had to make a ton of small, minute changes in order for things to work properly. My changes have ranged from full-scale remakes to simply changing two numbers in the document setup tab. It’s been one heck of a rollercoaster ride, and I’m glad Tuan and my peers have been able to help me through it. My mom has also been a big help, reviewing my written content and letting me bounce my ideas off her. It’s somewhat mind-blowing to think that this whole book started with a single spark — a small idea — and turned into such and intricate and painstakingly crafted product. I’m pleased with how things have progressed, and I’m glad the gate fold and its many counterparts did not force me to pull my hair out.

The main changes were text placement, text formatting (i.e. hidden characters and spaces that shouldn’t be there/widows), image sizing, page sizing, print sizing, spread scaling (turning off “scale to fit” for the gate fold), and making the content flow better in terms of the written and visual content. The font choice on all pages was also deliberate and evolved over time.

A Semester in Review

A Semester in Review

I think that this class has definitely been interesting. It’s given me a lot of time to reflect on my own experiences in life, as well as the work I’ve been doing this semester. As far as feedback and suggestions, I think the class was beneficial in many ways. We had incredibly informative discussions with many professionals in a wide variety of fields, some of which directly applied to me.

I think that the class needs more interaction, though. Not so much between students and presenters, but between students and their peers. I would have liked to talk to more like-minded peers, or even talked more about our experiences in our various classes.

Aside from that, I think the class was amazing, and the workload was important yet relaxed, which worked in very well with the rest of my classes.


Hopefully, we’ve all taken the first big steps towards success.

Book-Making TORTURE

Book-Making TORTURE

Book-making is an incredibly troubling process. There’s things to troubleshoot, and sometimes when you think you have it right, there’s still something wrong. I managed to scrape together a good mock-up, but I wasn’t able to include a gate fold like I planned. The gate fold took forever to get right, and when I did manage it, the double-sided print came out unaligned, so there was no way to really integrate it properly.

Aside from the technical difficulties, the overall form of the book came out incredibly well. I was very impressed by how the book turned out, and the pages/spreads work together a lot better than I had anticipated. With text accompanying the visuals, the sequence flowed better, and I think the overall message was also clearer. The book was pretty easy to make, and it fell into place the way I wanted it to, but that gate fold really was something else. I’m now at the point that I either try to narrow down the craft and execute, or simply do without it.

I have been trying to really nail down the central message, and I think creating the mock-up solidified what I was leaning towards, and I have made the flower into more of a metaphor for life than anything.

All in all, this was an interesting experience, one marked by a lack of staples and a wobbly set of pages. However, things are moving along smoothly.

Some samples of mark-up spreads:

20161121_002559 20161121_002621

Faculty Frenzy!

Faculty Frenzy!

This time around, we had some interesting people come talk to us a bit about what they do as artists and what their art means to them.

Prof. Kennedy deconstructs images in Photoshop to create really interesting and unique prints. His art was really abstract, and a little surrealist, but it managed to captivate me. I really found the fact that he can’t recreate his art, and that he’s entirely driven on an internal level, very interesting.

Prof. Hollis was a whirlwind of inspiration. Her art was mind-boggling! I can’t begin to comprehend how difficult it must have been to set up some of her installations!!!! I found her source of inspiration to be powerful, and her ideas to be unique. She gives a new perspective on life as a whole, which I really admire.

Prof. Robinson deals with minimalistic art and said that she “translates experiences and feelings” into minimalist art pieces. She prides herself at “finding beauty in the nothing”. I think I really appreciated the way she took pride in her work and explained how her work has changed as she raised her own children.

Prof. Ruben was also interesting, and I really appreciated the perspective of someone who dealt with what most people consider to be the traditional form of sculpting. She deals with the “known and the unknown”. Her artwork is tactile, filled with color, yet changed completely after graduate school. She really interacts with the audience, and I think that level of involvement is incredibly interesting.

Prof. Vitone was equally interesting, capturing photographs of ranchers and ranch life in Valentine, Texas. He covers the stories of individuals, the haves and the have nots. He seems interesting in black and white photography, mainly film, and has an interest in livestock.


I think the presenters were all incredibly interesting, and they all got me thinking about my own plans. I think that in terms of a five year plan, I really just need to finish me degree and get myself out there. If we’re starting five years after graduation, I’m honestly considering getting my masters in Psychology, but aside from that I’d like to try and get a small job at a local business doing graphic design or UX/UI work. Being fresh out of college, I can build up some experience in the field and a portfolio, so by the time I’m out of grad school, I could try for a job at a bigger place like IBM or Google, if I can’t already land a job there. I need to focus on building my skills and experience, that way I can really try and get into the field I desire and build a nice reputation for myself.

Sequenced Stationary!

Sequenced Stationary!

Well, the title works mainly because I feel these outlines look like a low-key stationary set.


Anyway, this stage was incredibly helpful. I’ve really managed to step back and asses what i want to accomplish, and on what scope. Granted, there are still one or two things I need to flesh out, such as a potential gate fold, but for the most part the groundwork has been laid.

I had to think long and hard about what kind of tempo I wanted the book to have. I already knew that I was looking at recorded time, and it was going to be a moment-to-moment transition-based book. I wanted to take clips, stills rather, of the life of a plant in two stages, and put them alongside each other, literally. I think it develops an interesting question as to whether the two plants are actually one plant, but at the same time gives that parallel I was looking for; one between life and death.

I think there’s definitely some kind of rhythm within the book, as there is a definite flow in the way things go. It’s predictable, but still intriguing in the way it is presented. I think the collage aspect will really bring a lot of attention to the plant itself, so that will definitely bring some more life and uniqueness to the book as a whole.

The temporal scope of the book is rather tame; there isn’t much going on at one time. However, I think that’s appropriate given the delicate nature of the book and the subject matter. Decomposition is a slow process, and while the book doesn’t move at a snail’s pace, it is definitely taking its time to highlight the significance of the event. The most important decision that I made was to cut the length of the book off at 12 pages, as anything longer would be a serious drawing out of the narrative.

All in all, the sequence of the book has been decided, and from here we let the artwork take the lead. The next step for me is deciding on a poem/piece of literature I want to use in the book, and then proceed with creating the collages.