IDEA 22 Student

Survey 9 | The “Do” that Defined a Decade

Lecture:  Colour Theory and Cool Type 1925-1930

We learned tons about BauHaus and the design ideal that fostered there. The simple design combined with mass production.  How one of the biggest booms culturally was the hollywood culture of glamour and actors becoming celebrities, which changed fashion and how we look at fashion.  The mind blowing fact that it took till 1929 for women to be considered persons under the law… It was also the start of the Great Depression. It was a decade with so much happening all over the world, changing it completely.

Research: Fashion



Anna May Wong

The original “it” girl, Clara Bow always wore her hair short with finger waves.

Clara Bow

As you can see the various other famous women in fashion and film wore their hair slightly different but all kept to the idea of short wavy or sleek bobs. Most of this was inspired by the flapper girl style. Most women who did silent films all wore their hair this way as well. Some took some “daring” unique takes on the bob. Look at Josephine Baker for example, she was an absolute icon who kept her hair extremely short in a sleek style, sometimes sporting an individual fringe curl. Each woman that defined the decade, wore their hair in this specific style. It let the accessories and fringe dresses take the stage front instead of the hair. 

Coco Chanel



Survey 8 | Rise of Black American Culture and the Suppression of Native Culture


Charlestons and Communists | 1915 – 1925

One of the cooler things we learned this week was Russian Constructivism. Personally this style is right up my alley. The colour used is simple and bold with meaning. It’s direct and interesting. There’s so much movement and power. It’s very direct and I love that, though the images are quite conceptual.  There’s something about it that feels like history and something that feels so new.

Research: Culture

With the prohibition in full swing and the rise of jazz, culture and black and white integration were actually being nurtured. Through the love of alcohol and music and how it all had to be kept underground forced people to all be together. Because both sides were engaging in illegal activity it actually brought them together.

This underground culture started blossoming seeing social, intellectual and artistic changes. Speakeasies and Jazz music helped form bars where black and white people weren’t separate. Obviously racial inequality was very prevalent at this time but this was a place where these racial barriers were breaking down. Black American culture was rising in North America.

At the same time residential schools were taking children from their native communities and their parents and forcing christianity upon them.

They were doing their best to erase and suppress their native culture. The children weren’t allowed to speak their language and were not treated kindly. They went through tremendous abuse. The amount of cruelty that happened in residential schools is one of the darker times in the not so far history. Often the children had their names stripped as well.


It was an assault on their identity as individuals and as members of their community.


Survey 7 | Shots Fired…Quietly.


Cubism and Corporate Identity | 1905-1915

We started off the lecture learning about Frank Lloyd Wright being an influential architect in the U.S.A. Wright’s mentor Louis Sullivan coined the term “Form follows function” which was a phrase many designers lived by. Wright was influenced by Japanese interiors and started to implement the simplicity and harmony into his interiors. We also learned quite a bit about Peter Behrens. An important architect from Germany. He designed one of the first corporate identities for AEG. We also introduced cubism and the leading artists of cubism.


The Gun Silencer was patented on March 30th 1909 by Hiram Percy Maxim. Hiram was the son of Hiram Stevens Maxim, the inventor of of the first portable fully automatic machine gun : The Maxim Gun.

The Silencer is interchangeable terminology with both the suppressor or the sound suppressor. The Silencer was patented as the Maxim Silencer and was typically advertised in sporting goods catalogs. It was a tubular device attached to the barrel of a firearms which reduces noise and muzzle flash when fired.

The idea behind the invention of the silencer was for hunting use, to prevent hearing loss of the shooter and minimize recoil. Theodore Roosevelt bought silencers for early morning hunting expeditions on his property so that he would not wake his neighbours…

Though the Maxim Silencer was meant for hunting firearms, Maxim also manufactured them for all sorts of guns. I personally don’t associate them with hunting guns, due to movies I will always think of a 1920’s spy getting away with shooting someone quietly.


Survey 6 | Structured Skeleton


In class today we spoke about important movements such as the women’s suffrage movement, cinematic films, psychiatry, Exposition Universelle, and the first transatlantic radio message. All of these are such important movements for things that we take for granted today.  This was also the beginning of Art Nouveau. An interesting shift for the design and art world. Elements that were very organic in shape such as the “whiplash curves” common in use with hair. This was also a very dramatic time for architecture such as that incredible building that looks like skulls and bones. This was designed by architect Antoni Gaudi called Casa Batllo.


This week Thea and myself are in the category for architecture. We each picked an architect to research and I chose Antoni Gaudi, because of seeing that insane skeleton building during class.

Gaudi’s style is one of a kind and totally unique. This is obvious by looking at his work. He chooses very natural and organic forms for his structures. Most of his work is located in Barcelona. His work includes aspects of typical Catalan patriotic sources and also from scientific and technical progresses of the time. Gaudi’s distinctive and unique style are shown through freedom of form, colour, texture and organic unity.

Gaudi’s artistic style went through a few phases during his life. Originally starting off with a victorian style, moving into clashing geometric masses that had highly texturized surfaces. he included a style called Mudejar – which is a mix of Muslim and Christian design. Gaudi then moved on to historic styles such as Gothic and Baroque.


Survey 5 | Caricatures and Cartoons


In today’s lecture we learned about the Great exhibition, which sounds like a plethora of cultural exhibitions from all over the world. 6million people showed to this exhibition and gave way to more expos all over the world. We spoke about how Japanese culture was all the rage in the western world, leading to Japonism in western Europe. Plus we touched on the perfectionist Charles Darwin and his Origin of Species, and how he almost didn’t publish it before another man.

A larger subject we learned about was the Arts and Crafts movement and William Morris. During all this mass production came a desire and nostalgia for true craftsmanship. For quality products and a genuine art and pride reignited for good craftsmen.


This was a interesting time for caricature. Specifically in France because of its various political changes and revolutions.

This political unrest led to a lot of interesting political cartoons being developed. These caricatures of dignitaries and royalties were banned various times and multiple artists were jailed. These caricatures that displeased the government in any way were forbidden. These caricatures were so important since even illiterate people could understand what was happening in a caricature. So judgements and criticisms of government policies reached all people. Caricature censorship was abolished in 1881.

Some notable caricaturists during this time (not only in France) were:

  • Sir Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)
  • George Cruikshank (1792-1878)
  • Honore Daumier (1808-1879)
  • Thomas Nast (1840-1902)

Survey 4 | Birth of Mass Production

Lecture:  Steam and the Speed of Light (1750-1850)

In today’s class we learned all about the industrial revolution, steam engine, and the speed of light regarding photography. Various technologies were invented or improved during this time. Things like:

  • The steam engine,
  • Lithographic press
  • Cast Iron Press
  • Jobbing Printer/Increase in advertising
  • Wooden Type
  • Braille

This time period was the birth of mass production and thereby mass consumption. The quantity of items and valuables were being produced on a max scale for cheaper giving a wide variety of people more accessibility to these products, including books or magazines.


Research: Science and Technology

The Steam Engine

In 1698 Thomas Savery patented a pump with a hand operated valve that raised water from mines by suction produced by condensed steam. It had only an up and down movement for the pump.

In 1712 Thomas Newcomen developed a new and much more efficient steam engine by including a piston by separating the condensing steam from the water.

Then in 1765 James Watt improved Thomas Newcomen engine by adding a separate condenser to avoid heating and cooling the cylinder with each stroke. He then continued to invent and improve various additions to the steam engine making it continuously more efficient. These improvements made the steam engine much more practical.

The Steam engine was introduced successfully to locomotives on the railways thanks to a train called “Rocket” made by engineer George Stephenson in 1829 that won the Rainhill Trials. The Rainhill Trials was meant to test George Stephenson’s argument that the locomotives would provide the best power for Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Then the first steam boat was a tug boat built by William Symington in 1802 Scotland. It was then applied in the USA to a passenger boat by Robert Fulton in 1807.

The steam engine powered the industrial revolution and facilitated the birth of mass production and wide accessibility regarding location as well as class.


Survey 3 | Global Goods


In our lecture today we got to learn all about the Baroque period. How each art form screamed luxury and over-the-top wealth. How during this time not only religious texts were being printed, instead academic texts were also being spread around Europe. Knowledge hadn’t been shared on this level before. Through this you can assume that perhaps literacy and education increased. Probably still only a very select group of wealthy people though. The texts themselves had changed design-wise. There were these illustrations referred to as “spot illustrations” because they’re small, off to the side drawings. All colour in these new printed texts were still done by hand as they had not figured colour out quite yet.  Also spoken about was the term “humanists”. These were people who believed in the achievement of man. In critical thinking and evidence based theory.

We also heavily focused on the different type faces that came out of this time. How a hybrid of Roman and Gothic type was referred to as “batarde” (means bastard). We spoke for a while about how each typeface has its own personality that it portrays which means each one has its place depending on what feeling you’re trying to convey.


During the time period 1450-1750 there was a global circulation of goods which was facilitated by the royal chartered European monopoly companies. There was a flow of silver trade from the Spanish in South America to purchase Asian goods for the Atlantic markets. Regional markets continued to prosper in Afro-Eurasia because they used all these new shipping services/practices developed by the merchants.

Merchant Ship

American foods started to become staples in the European, Asian, and African crops. There were also “cash crops” which were sugar and tobacco. These were highly sought after crops plus they weren’t expensive to produce due to the fact that these plantations were powered by slave and coerced labour.

Tobacco Plant

Fruit trees, grains, sugar and domesticated animals were brought by the Europeans to the Americas along with many other foods brought by the slaves. Though this would benefit people nutritionally due to the variation of vitamins and minerals, it would also severely disrupt the ecosystems and bring new diseases.  Turkeys and potatoes were introduced to England around 1525, apricots were introduced to southern Europe along with cauliflower.

The wealthy people of the 16th century ate incredibly better than the poor. The poor population would eat mainly bread, cheese and onions. All classes ate bread but the quality differed by wealth.

There was lots of pride in the people by their food. It was obviously dependant on the income of the family, but everyone made his or her own foods. For example, a farmer’s wife had a variety of talents when it came to food. She would cure the bacon, salt the meat to preserve it, ferment vegetables, and brew beer. A prosperous farmer might also keep bees since sugar was expensive, people would sweeten their food with honey. Essentially, a 16th century farmer’s wife is what every hipster in Vancouver aspires to be food-wise.



Survey 2 | Runes in Ruins

Survey 2

The lecture for this week covered 0-1450 AD. We focused on the written word and the developments each language had throughout the world. China had been using bamboo paper for hundreds of years and had a movable print before anyone else. Though, they were quite secretive so they were not credited with the invention for some time. Gutenberg invented movable print and was credited with this. Though his was different, it was similar and the Chinese had been doing it for 400 years.

Scribes found the popularity and accessibility increase of the written word difficult to keep up with. Which Gutenberg’s press aided with greatly.

We learned about the various materials that different print would be placed on. Parchment being animal skin, bamboo pulp, Vellum being calf skin. The lecture touched on codices, which are some of the first books. It is plural for codex, which are bound together “manuscripts” almost.


I fell in love with the research I got to do this class! Our group is doing typography 0 -1450 AD, Carson focusing on Gutenberg’s press and Geraldine on Chinese characters, with me researching Saxon Runes.

Runes alphabet’s vary greatly during this time period due to location and culture. I found around four different alphabets. Many of them are considered charms and may stand for a letter or a general symbol, such as “f” also standing for “ash/fire”. Rune translates to “whisper” or “secret”. the Saxon’’s believed that the god Odin unlocked the magic of runes for them by sacrificing himself. Legend has it that he hung himself for 9 days and 9 nights. He was revived and given the secrets to the runes.

The Vikings would leave runes wherever they went. They left them in Athens and in a temple in Istanbul. Kind of like graffiti artists making their mark. They would leave tales and legends of travel on giant stones called “rune stones” (very creative name). They’re quite interesting looking with the strange twig like markings and few had pictures as well. They also wrote “books of magic” full of runes describing the spells, but also strange designs that would help you with bearing children or protection during battle.

Survey 1 | Pre-Historic X-rays (Aboriginal Art)

Aboriginal Australian Art is incredibly unique and known as the oldest recorded rock art in the world at a staggering 40,000 years young. Western Australia also hosts the largest collection of petroglyphs. Like most pre-historic art everything is symbolic. The main colours depicted on these rock carvings represent very specific things:

  • Yellow = The Sun
  • Red = Desert Sand
  • Brown = Soil
  • White = Clouds and Sky

Cross Hatching close up

Most of their art consists of two styles, cross hatching and x-ray pictures. Cross hatching is exactly how it sounds, as is x-ray. X-ray looks incredibly interesting as the aboriginals were showing the skeletons of the animals and people. These are quite popular, showing dead people, or animals.

Dreamtime X-ray anatomy

Their main stories followed this idea called “dreamtime”. Dreamtime is all about the creation of the world. You know the art is about dreamtime because it was also shown from an aerial view. So all the drawings that look like bacteria or amoeba are from a bird’s-eye-view. These are stories that have been passed down through the generations. The person who draws these dreamtime pictures, but be approved. As these are sacred secrets.

You will see these strange looming figures that look like ghosts painted on the rock walls. They’re known as Wandjina. They’re cloud and rain spirits, which is why they are depicted as white (white representing the sky and clouds).

Rain Spirits

You might be wondering where the classic dot work and bright blues of Aboriginal Australian art is known for, well the dots did not show up until the whiteman came to Australia. The dots are secretive code to hide their stories from these new comers. So you don’t see them appear until much later.