Jean-Emmanuel "Valnoir" Simoulin
The first day of the seminar, Tuesday 13 November 2012, was devoted to the Dutch graphic designer Martijn Engelbregt, and to Jean-Emmanuel "Valnoir" Simoulin, graphic designer from France. Martijn Engelbregt started by showing Dutch examples of forms and registration, and works by designers who influenced him. His aim is to move people, to give them the opportunity to think about what they normally don’t think about. Jean-Emmanuel "Valnoir" Simoulin spoke about voluntary self-marginalization and refusal of compromise in graphic design. Using his works and also inspirational projects from other designers as illustration, he will try to show how terror, pain and negative emotions can be very fertile grounds of expression, while positive feelings can lead to a sterile lack of substance.
The second day of the seminar, Wednesday 14 November 2012, lectures were held by the Turkish graphic designer Yeşim Demir and Serbian illustrator living in Canada Dušan Petričić. Yeşim Demir talked about the way design, the designer, the material and the reader come together in the holistic process of making a book. To her, design is a copy of our minds. She wonders how, with the perpetual exchange of electronic information, the process of forgetting could be controlled and limited, and contemplates whether there is a way of permanently preserving our thoughts. The lecture by Dušan Petričić was built around his professional path, which has two main directions: comic book and illustrations for children’s books. Due to various circumstances he had the opportunity to work in two politically, historically and culturally different environments – in Yugoslavia (Serbia) and North America.
Martijn Engelbregt (1972) is a designer from The Netherlands. As founder of EGBG (Engelbregt Data Control Group) he designs institutes, forms, surveys, and procedures. His absurdist projects offer an ironic perspective on a sometimes Kafkaesque world. His main interest during his studies was collecting forms, initially because he was intrigued by their graphic appearance. Later he became even more interested in the question as to why and how people fill in these forms. His obsessive interest in forms, questionnaires and statistics is the inspiration for a body of work that is as playful in language as it is confrontational and humorous. His works touch upon art, design, research and politics. Engelbregt made a name for himself by publishing a counterscript against unsolicited calls from telemarketers; he developed a shop with relational gifts for neighbours, he was chief of an open air restaurant where only left overs and edible weed was served and he caused agitation by sending out official looking forms to 200,608 households in Amsterdam, asking the tenants to register any illegal immigrants they might know.
Jean-Emmanuel "Valnoir" Simoulin (1979) studied graphic design at EPSAA (Paris) for 5 years before graduating in 2004. At first mostly influenced by the Slovenian collective NSK, he quickly made secession from commercial and corporate design to focus on extreme underground music scenes, such as noise, industrial and black metal, the grounds of expression that are supposed to be free of the usual domination of the client over the designer. This led him, in 2006, to write a manifesto stating that the client must trust the designer's artistic stance from A to Z, accept or reject the project in its entirety, without compromise. Nowadays, his work oscillates between visually overloaded religious/totalitarian decors and violent narrative concepts, between graphic minimalism and experiments involving the human body, such as printing posters with human blood-based ink (2010) or sewing patches onto human skins (2012). His studio, Metastazis, is based in Paris.
Yeşim Demir (1968) was born in Istanbul and graduated from the Graphic Design Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University. She served as art director and creative director at Young and Rubicam Advertising House and RPM Radar/CDP Europe in İstanbul. She has been lecturing at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University’s Graphic Design Department since 2003, as well as teaching in Kadir Has and Bilgi Universities. She won many awards in national competitions, showed her work at exhibitions in New York, Buenos Aires, İstanbul, Duisburg, Seoul, served as jury member and court expert. Demir has been the Chairman of The Turkish Society of Graphic Designers (2005-2011) and was elected as vice president in ICOGRADA board of directors, 2011-2013. She’s currently running her independent design studio Demir Tasarım focusing on corporate identity and book design.
Dušan Petričić (1946) was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and graduated from Belgrade’s Academy of Applied Arts, Graphic Department. For several decades, his political cartoons and illustrations regularly appeared in major Yugoslav newspapers and magazines, Vecernje novosti, Politika, NIN and, since 1993, in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Toronto Star, Scientific American and others. His professional opus includes works for theatre (set design and costume) and poster design. As a co-author or illustrator he created more than 40 books for children, both in Yugoslavia and North America. Dušan Petričić was professor of illustration and animation at the Belgrade Academy for Applied Arts and Sheridan College in Oakville, Canada. Petričić started sketching at the age of four. He drew inspiration and motifs from his surroundings and his artistic expression became his way of communicating. Growing up, he was inspired by an old encyclopaedia and the book The Paul Street Boys by the Hungarian novelist Ferenc Molnár, and later on by artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and Picasso. His work has been awarded at numerous International Exhibitions and Fairs: Tokyo, Amsterdam, Belgrade, Leipzig, Moscow, Budapest. Ankara, Istanbul, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Philadelphia, Skopje, Ljubljana… The book On Tumbledown Hill earned him the IBBY Certificate of Honour Award and the Alberta Book Award, while the book The Longitude Prize was named a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. For Petričić, his work is his favourite hobby.