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Consider Everything an Experiment

"Consider Everything an Experiment" is rule #4 from John Cage's "Some Rules for Students and Teachers". The rules are essentially a list of suggestions for artists (or anyone, for that matter) and they were invaluable to me while I was in grad school. They serve as a reminder to accept some amount of uncertainty involved in making art, and above all, to just keep working. To consider everything an experiment is an important reminder for me, particularly when I'm getting a little too uptight about my process of making work. Perfectionism can sometimes become counterproductive. I want to create a poster with this phrase to hang on the wall of my studio to remind myself to lighten up a little! :) I could also picture this project as a cover for a book discussing the artistic process.

I'm a little late getting started on this project because of a back injury, but in my down time I've collected plenty of visual info to serve as inspiration. I'm a long-time fan of sci-fi/horror B-movies, and the word "experiment" conjured up images of a science lab filled with beakers, test tubes, and volts of electricity. The lettering from vintage movie posters has always interested me and would be a good source of inspiration for my project. Old cartoons and comics are great, too. I've been looking at labels on vintage art supplies, and researching some work from contemporary designers. I especially enjoy lettering that incorporates illustration. 

Some thoughts:

Mood board:

Nov. 1 Update

I've tried out five different lettering styles: sans serif, dimensional, 1950's style serif and script fonts, and a representational version. I think there's a lot of potential to do something representational or illustrative with the word "experiment", so that's what I'm leaning toward for a final project. The last example might be less representational, than just being reminiscent of lettering on old science fiction movie posters. I took some inspiration from the poster for The Invisible Man, done in 1933. 

Now I need to figure out which other lettering style(s) to incorporate into my phrase. 

Nov. 10 Update

I've done some sketching and roughed out some thumbnails. I decided that I would like to add "rule no. 4" to the top of the piece to reference the list from which the quote came.

Also, I'm trying to combine a couple different elements that are influenced by some film posters that I really love - I've been looking specifically at posters from the 1930's that feature art deco letters, as well as more representational or dramatic styles of lettering. I'm pretty attached to the idea of using spooky, vapor-y letters in some part of my piece. But I also did a sketch of the word "experiment" involving a bunch of lab equipment connected by tubes that I like, too.

I'm wondering now if I'm trying to incorporate too many styles into my piece. I don't want it to look overly complicated... 

Thumbnails/sketches:

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