I attended the OFFF Cincinnati conference last Wednesday and it delivered. Itâ€™s main message? Play. Thatâ€™s also the focus of the coordinating exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center which opened on Friday with a big party, and many contributors in attendance.
The conference started early with coffee and then went right into introductions. Hector Ayuso came out – the organizer of it all, along with AIGA Cincinnati – and explained his excitement and introduced the first speaker.
Here they are:
Escola was hilarious in his humble delivery and young-hearted enthusiasm for what he does. And he does it well. He integrates photography and video with animation and digital work that not only communicates well, but is hilarious. He brought in another theme throughout the conference â€“ collaboration â€“Â encouraging all those in attendance to work with as many people as possible to expand their work.
My favorite presenter of the day. Burgerman is an artist, but he should also just add comedian/entertainer to the CV. His presentation was a slideshow of not just his work, but random video and images that contributed to what could have been seen as an extemporaneous discussion (but considering the preparation, it was not). Certainly a crowd pleaser, switching between pizza drawings and kittens in cleavage Burgerman got the play theme across pretty well.
Switching paces to the bit more serious, Dawes was the next to speak. His work focuses a lot on visualizing data, and using technology and electronics to generate actually quite emotional pieces. One of my favorites (I think I might buy one even) was his Lissajous Iteration print. Using code and only change one part from image to image he generated the series pictured below.
He stressed how this relates to the practice of just continuing to work. By only changing one single element of code between them sometimes results were drastically different than the multiples preceding it; similar to the idea that you have no idea where you can end up if you keep producing work. Â Further he said one line that has resonated with me probably the most from the whole day. Â â€œWhat if the next one could make you cry?â€ Weâ€™ll never know, but you have to stop at some point â€“ often due to time or client budget â€“ but you canâ€™t keep going forever you have to know when to go on to the next.
Paterson is an artist, animator, and programmer of Montreal. He talked about his three types of drawing (meditative, imaginary, and charts/graphs), and his virtual animations. He was fascinating for his extreme devotion (certainly all presenters had this quality to some degree) but he almost seemed to get caught up in thinking about the work while he was explaining it, ever the improver.
We took a break for lunch (where OMG I saw Jon Burgerman outside!) and then started off the afternoon with more coffee and the first (and only) female presenter.
An intense illustrator with sleeves of tattoos and a soft voice Blake discussed and showed multiple videos of her laborious process of illustrating and adding colors/textures with Photoshop. She too pushed the idea of collaborating to reach new levels of your work you couldnâ€™t on your own. Interesting too she shared that her first internship in NYC was in the fashion industry, despite her lack of interest (it was a family contact just to get her in NYC) in the field; but how she now has a textile company. She remarked on this as an example of how you donâ€™t know where youâ€™re heading, or what could happen â€“ a thought that I always appreciate others to grasp.
The Spanish design studio Multitouch Barcelona deal mostly with how people interact with technology and then each other. Â Doing large scale installation of an interactive Space Invaders, or the current project Gif Me, Multitouch Barcelona wants the end result to be people having lasting interactions with the art, make new friends, and to think about how technology can be a resource in these interactions.
Technology proved to be quite the conference saver when the next presenter could not attend and we used Skype to still see his presentation.
The designer/animator most well known for doing the opening titles for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, presented from what seemed to be his living room with a cup of tea and his cat. Senturk let the video speak for themselves for the most part. Below is the opening titles he did for the OFFF Cincinnati conference.
OFFF 2013 Cincinnati Opening Titles from Onur Senturk on Vimeo.
The guy with all the really huge clients (Moet & Chandon, Esquire, TIME, etc.) Vitore talked about the importance of working for yourself, and to stop feeling like a victim of the economy or of your job. To just do what you want. His work is great and the work he presented was incredibly executed (see below a poster for the New York Probation Department); however I found him to be preachy with his ideals.
I do have to admit though it could have been the copious amounts of coffee wearing off and the hunger starting to creep in after the long day.
In the end I was thoroughly impressed, inspired, and enlightened by the presenters and look forward to next year â€“Â the conference, and the work I come up with until then using play, and collaboration.
Christina attended the University of Cincinnati where she majored in Communications (with a focus in Mass Media and Rhetoric) and minored in Fine Arts and Art History. She worked at the Cincinnati Art Museum in Institutional Advancement where she managed volunteers and fundraisers, until jumping ship to advertising.