“The term “experimental” is often used as a code for unusable, weird, “crazy” or “going wild”. But I think that is a big misunderstanding, and something I try hard to correct in the classroom. When I teach an experimental class, I am quick to explain that experimentation is a methodology.”
Mr. Venezky put his own methodology to work for our Summer 2012 catalog cover, which you may have noticed popping up lately around the UCLA Extension building and campus. Just released last week, we were excited to finally see the colorful and intricate design Venezky had created for us.
Martin Venezky is the mastermind behind Appetite Engineers, a small, internationally recognized design firm. His interest in intricacy, complexity, ornament, and handwork has caused many wary employees to nervously inch their way toward the exit. But before taking flight, they have helped him create some wonderfully entertaining work for the Sundance Film Festival, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Chronicle Books, Princeton Architectural Press, and Blue Note Records, among others.
His work has been featured in Eye, How, émigré, and Graphis. Martin also was art director of the late, great Speak, a magazine of popular culture, literature, music, and art. In 1997 he was listed among ID magazine’s “ID40” list of influential designers and, in 2001, an exhibit of his collected design work, Martin Venezky: Selections from the Permanent Collection of Architecture and Design, was held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A monograph of his work, It Is Beautiful . . . Then Gone, has been published by Princeton Architectural Press. Mr. Venezky has taught at CCA, California Institute of the Arts, and Art Center College of Design.
Venezky shared some snapshots of his studio and the process involved in the creation of our cover image. From the precise typographic cutouts to the carefully assembled ribbons and orbs, the handiwork involved in constructing the final image is quite impressive.
“I think that decoration, for its pure visual stimulation and wonder, is a fantastic thing. Our response to it is part of being human. Pattern, variation, texture, color, qualities of light and shadow, figure and ground – all of these things produce sensations in us that are based more on biology than rationality. The elevating of engineering to an aesthetic ideal is based on the purity of rational and mathematical thought.”