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STARK

Stark was an online magazine that focused on creating culturally relevant content within the areas of politics, music, and art. Below are two series of works I designed for the (now defunct) platform.

Creative Direction, Market Research, Graphic Design, Typography, Illustration

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Along with additional research, I looked at previous works like L. J. Jordan's 1917 piece titled, The Robot (shown above). This piece stood out to me for many reasons, one of which is the way it shows dominance and resistance. I wanted to capture a similar feeling, but in a less aggressive manner. I later settled on a gesture of crossed arms, placing the viewer in a submissive role.

The image of traditional Japanese Yakuza tattoos to the right represents some of the work I referenced when determining the vehicle for and the style of the deeper narrative content. Tattoos generally depict an allegiance to a particular identity or group. Here I drew a comparison between organized white collar and mafia crime, juxtaposing what is traditionally thought to be the high and low.

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In 2012 Stark approached myself and several other artists / designers to create a piece in response to the topic of anarchy.

 

Derived from the ancient Greek root anarchos (“without authority”), anarchy denotes the absence of the rule of law or of settled government. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon is a seminal figure in the inception of anarchism as a socioeconomic theory. He believed the worker “has sold and surrendered his liberty” to the enterprise who appropriates their “collective force.” He argued that we needed to replace the state with a new “social organization” and called for revolution from below and not above. It is often assumed, sometimes prematurely, that anarchy is synonymous with chaos and disorder. Instead of depicting common visuals of a riot or rebellion, I chose to personify corporate entities through the eyes of Proudhon.

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Above are early explorations that helped to inform the final design. The design on the right did not convey the message I wanted to achieve and I also did not want the figure to have a distinct persona and ethnicity, but rather I wanted to elevate the caricature logos as the subject. Likewise, the design on the left did not accurately convey the initial concept. Reducing the presence of the figure and creating a deliberate gesture (the crossed arms) influenced further development below.

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The core content was derived from a question I asked myself, "What would Proudhon perceive of the presence and actions of present-day's corporate entities?" Focusing on a range of topics, such as surveillance, poor working health conditions, excessive consumerism, money laundering, poor environmental / sustainable practices, etc., I chose to create caricature adaptations of logos from several corporate entities fitting within those topics. I chose to illustrate the logos using a playful, cartoon style to communicate the innocent and deceptive stance Proudhon spoke of organizations having while still conducting controversial practices. Below shows part of my ideation and development process.

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Caricature Logo Process

Below are the two finalized design options.

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While designing the anarchy themed piece, I was asked to design a piece, announcing Stark as "the new guard", introducing the brand as an alternative to the traditional and current media thread. Stark was a magazine platform that promoted diversity of cultures and ideas.

 

I wanted to create work that not only caught a viewer's attention, but also ignited intrigue into what Stark was about. In an effort to contrast new and old, exclusive and inclusive, I researched imagery from 1960s advertisements, a time which spawned sociopolitical change in response to the Vietnam war, as well as cultural expression through music, art, etc. I later decided on the image of the man lighting his cigarette with a 100 dollar bill, is a symbol of arrogance and socioeconomic exclusionary systems, while the woman is presented seductively, yet somewhat hidden / forbidden. Written on top "We Are The New Guard" presents Stark as an entity of change, contrasting and rubbing out those systems which have excluded and ignored marginal groups.

add 60s ads and 1960s protesting / music / media / historical lchanges / legislation changing, etc.

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