turning it into twaddle

by Art Chantry ( art@artchantry.com)

this sort of item drives me crazy. “design culture” has become such a self-fulfilling masturbatory fantasy that the yuppie “good taste” culture has embraced that they even sell “designer name brands” in places like walmart and k-mart. it’s crazy. design as a commodity has jumped the shark, drunk the kool-aid, bitten the big one. it sucks.

---function is not what you use to sell a client. you use the animal attraction of "pretty". works every time. this ain't art, it's business. they shouldn't teach design in art schools at all. it should only be taught out in the field itself through apprnticeship. PAID apprenticeship. period. art schools teaching design is like doctors teaching dentists.---

as evidence, i have to show you this horrid little packet that was left on my platter at a fish-n-ships shop. yeesh! talk about ugly, stupid, smug, over-designed, downright icky graphics. it made me gag (worse than the fish-n-chips). and it’s such goddam GOOD TASTE! i was eating greasy sloppy fish-n-ships out of plastic basket! what does a design like this have to do with much of anything, much less greasy fish-n-chips? it’s no wonder the teabaggers hate us. we are all CULTURED SNOBS now.

in all fairness, this was probably done by a starving abused college-trained professional graphic designer working in a firm that landed a ton of peripheral from a distribution company. they can crank up those billable hours for the name on the door and get to actually do “fine art” on a dab of crappy moist-wipe packaging. it’s like they get this one chance to prove their talent and they took it. and it looks like it, too.

the bottom line is that this design is functionless. it may have is a small amount of ‘beauty’ that appeals to a tiny fragment of the american population. aside from those words “moist towlette’, it utterly fails as any sort of design language. it looks like somebody who saw “the mummy” (the terrible new brendon fraser version) and then was hired to translate a repair manual into heiroglyphs. this package is a sort of design “pigeon” or “twaddle”. but, it’s pretty, ain’t it?

graphic design has lost it’s function. it’s off the rails. look what happened to ed hardy. some marketing “genius” licensed his amazing portfolio and then turned it into air fresheners. (note the genius has to give himself as much credit as ed). don ed hardy was maybe the aristotle of the tattoo world. he was a brilliant scholar and artist and now his work has been commodotized into twaddle of the worst sort. this is what design can do. but he’s rich now, right? so it’s all ok, right?

the problem with the graphic design culture is that it got bought and turned into twaddle. the great names like paul rand simple sold it to the highest bidder and their souls went with it. now ‘graphic design’ is synonymous with money, corporate money. then we sold the process down the river through the medium of the computer, yet another corporate pitch. we are now witnessing graphic design becoming a program, a joke, an ‘anybody can do it if they buy the software”, laugh out loud “you do WHAT for a living? HAHA” ‘career option’ sold on late night mail order school commerci

alongside welding and court reporting. why did we do this to ourselves?

so, anyway, that’s what i thought when this thing was dropped in front of me. i went into a tizzy, a conneption fit, a cow.

then i laughed.

an old friend of mine, sean tetjeratchi (sorry, but i make it a point of pride to forever misspell his last name) had this ‘thing’ for helping small animals. it was one of his many ‘softy’ weaknesses.

sean is the guy who managed to cobble together that amazing series of ‘zine publications called “craphound”. if you are familiar with it, you KNOW what i mean when i say it was amazing. sean is the sharpest wit and one of the brightest minds i’ve ever known. perhaps a genius (but you didn’t hear that here, ok?)

he also loves animals. he currently has a had several small opossums that he found abandoned as pups and turned them into house pets. he delights in carrying the pups around in his pocket (they are marsupials, apparently) he even went so far as to build a ‘habit-trail’ out of wood and sticks in his house so the possums can wander around and (literally) “hang around” (by their tails!)

at one point in his life, he chanced across a small baby owl. he picked it up and nursed it back to health and eventually let it go back to the wild. he named that owl, too. he did some research and found out that a baby owl is called an “owlette”. so, he named that baby owl “moist”.


AC:one thing i’ve learned is that you never never confuse the art with the artist. ed hardy’s personality (rumored personality. i thought he was very nice) has nothing to do with his art. everybody knows picasso was an asshole….which begs the question: why would anybody pay all that money to go to yale just to do crap like that?…for instance, what more do you need that the words “moist towlette?” aren’t the written word – the LETTERFORMS – graphics, too?

i mean, it’s a friggin’ handi-wipe! who cares if it has the mona lisa on it? i’d actually think about the problem and do the correct solution, not try to make the next sistine chapel ceiling. or martha stewart catalog, either.

so, that’s the stock answer: i’d do what needs to be done. that’s it. …i think this is a big problem in our design “craft” that needs to be recognized (perhaps discussed) instead of just looking away and grabbing for more money. i may never happen (discussion) but, i’m gratified that my taking the chance to express my “pissed offed-ness” here resulted in such great thoughtful responses.

keep talking about it, ok? we need to deal with this issue n ‘design culture’. which issue? all of them!…

that’s why i laughed when i saw that ugly ass stupid little package.

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