It is my honor to spend some time this week talking about a fellow artist/designer, Toby Hale. Toby Hale is a second year MFA candidate at Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, OH. I have known Toby for about a year and a half, and in that time, his work has undergone a lot of change. Toby came into the MFA program at the same time I did, and his work prior to the MFA had a very particular tone and voice; it was evident in the work that Toby enjoys material manipulation, particularly in pushing the boundaries of what a material can do, and that play and experimentation are a big part of his design process.
After a year’s sidetrack to pursue redesign of a standard pair of crutches, Toby is returning to his playful roots over the course of his thesis year. Toby’s current project involves designing two Transformers toys, versions of Hot Rod and Kup, which follow the style of a previously released Transformers video game. I am struck by the level of care Toby has put into researching the history of Transformers toys, and particularly the characters that are the basis for the toys he is designing. Speaking with Toby, and being present in his critiques, I am reminded that play and playfulness should not be mistaken for a lack of seriousness or care; Toby is incredibly serious about his design process and the product of that work, even if play is a major part of that work.
This is a Gif showing a lamp that Toby designed in his first semester at CCAD. It shows the playful nature of Toby’s work, but also the care that is part of the design. This lamp was designed as a kit that children and parents could assemble together.
I urge you to visit Toby’s blog, http://hale-design.blogspot.com to see more of his work.
Apologies for my lateness and infrequency of posting – this week/month/semester has been a little bit nuts.
Thesis Update: I have developed 20+ rolls of film this semester, and I have a stockpile of slide film that needs to be sent out (I sent it out once and it came back undeveloped because of a company policy change). I’ve been doing a lot of surface explorations, and right now I’m pretty settled on this great Epson Cold Press Bright paper. The paper is matte, but it has an underlying texture similar to many etching papers. Just lovely. It solves a problem I had with ultra smooth matte, which is that it flattened the images out. I’ve started doing some sample prints on the 13×19 sheet version of this paper, and right now I’m thinking the final versions might be in the vicinity of 24×36 inches (lots of flexibility for that to change). The big thing with the test prints is that I’m working with a new printer the photo department purchased, and thankfully Crystal Tursich was able to come to my rescue, because the Canon printers are very snobby about Epson papers. We figured it out though, and I think it can only get better as I fine tune.
As for the images, I had a meeting with Elizabeth Fergus-Jean soon after my last critique, and we talked about the need to add more “particularity” into the images. My mentors agreed, and I’ve been working to trend from the unconscious into a balance of unconscious and conscious in the images. I think I’m headed in the right direction. Working to create visual poetry, exploring a borderland state between two ways of thinking/being, and doing so through a process-driven practice are all challenging for me (in the best possible way, I think). I have to embrace the fact that it requires a high volume of work to achieve the result I want, and there is a necessary large volume of failure due to the subject and methodologies. I think this is making me stronger as an artist, because I have to let go of the images that simply do not “work” or evoke what I want, and I am getting better at self-editing. I know those of you in CCAD’s MFA program feel like you’re not seeing me a lot in my studio, and I regret not getting to spend more time with our community, but I have found a welcome home in the photo department for the time being, and I am spending a TON of time there. They have graciously allowed me to develop, scan, and print a few images, which has saved me a huge headache of feeding small sheets through our giant MFA printer. I am very grateful to have 2 wonderful places on campus that feel like home. Alright, enough of the warm fuzzies. See some of you in critique later!