Art of Machine
„The form is in the function“
They say that you can tell a good airplane from bad one just by it’s looks. If it is beautiful, it will fly well. Take a look at the Supermarine Spitfire, one of the most successful WWII fighter planes. It is a machine, and a machine designed to kill at that. But it is also a work of art, and one of the most beautiful man-made objects ever.
The same goes for many cars, ships, motorcycles, locomotives or many other transportation devices. But looking for beauty there is a bit obvious. Let’s go a bit deeper than the surface. Have you ever opened the hood of an old automobile, or crouched down to a motorcycle, and just gazed at the beauty of the fine machinery inside?
If yes, you are already the customer I am looking for. And even if you didn’t, let me show you that even purely functional machine can work as visual art.
The inherent idea of most people is that the machines are greasy, ugly things we only need to get some work done. But if you go deep enough on any machine, even something such outwardly unappealing as a locomotive diesel engine, you will find geometry, balance… and beauty.
As a life-long gearhead by heart and motoring journalist by trade, I see that beauty. And I think that it could be used to make clothing style which would show one’s love for machines, one’s philosophy about engineering not being just a necessary evil, but a wonderful adventure, and which would look good at the same time.
The trouble is, most gearhead T-shirts you can buy today are not about the beauty of the machine, but about it’s power, brash names or big numbers plastered all over it. And, to be honest, I don’t like wearing “legible clothes”. I’m not interested in running around with a huge writing on my chest, nor do I want my T-shirt to look like a poster from teenagers bedroom wall.
And that is why I want to start my own brand, the Art of Machine. I am my most important customer, but I believe that there are more people that would love it’s idea.
The idea is to take machinery and make it into art. Like the stylized Napier Deltic in my current logo (sketch of it below). It’s unbelievable complex at the first sight, but with looking at it, and especially by watching it work, you will discover it’s exquisite balance, the harmony of six cylinders working together. It may be too complex to work in a logo, but I would certainly want it on the “flagship design” of my new brand.
UPDATE: Improved sketch, with "A" formed by the engine a bit more visible:
The second one is quite a bit different. What you see (and what a petrolhead may recognize) is four-valve combustion chamber in the head of an automobile engine – Jaguar’s XK-series six cylinder in this case – made into a pop-art-ish picture. I want to experiment with this style further, as I love B/W photos of old machinery.
The third is just a little play of mine, and may not fit the brand’s image very well, but I thought I should add something with a little twist of fun. Here, we have a blueprint of Mercedes OM617 engine – not the most beautiful machine ever, certainly nothing close to the Deltic or radial airplane engine. And why IDDQD? Well, for those non-gearheads among you, these engines were pretty much indestructible. Still don’t get it? You’re too young. Google it.
UPDATE: Improved sketch, hand-drawn, with engine changed for five-cylinder version, so the "IDDQD" letters can be inserted instead of pistons... (work in progress)