Formstorming and Modularity: Julia Midkiff

“Valentines 2017” features an image of two ears facing each other to form the shape of a heart. This is a series of hand-printed linocut design printed on different colored paper, reds and pink, with different colors of ink. Bantjes explains on her website that this image could be interpreted as “listening to your heart”, importance of listening in a relationship, or simply as an image of two ears (her portfolio).

Formstorming is the process of extending the imaginative and creative though beyond typical visual arts and creating something that in a way isn’t “searchable”. Being able to form a visual simply by brainstorming and not relying on already created images, such as those you can search for on the internet, is a huge part of design. Although Bantjes does not clearly explain her creative process in coming up with this idea, the simplicity of the image conveying a complex idea speaks for itself. Everyone thinks of a heart in different ways, but no one in a normal state of mind would think “two ears next to each other totally makes a heart shape”. The unusual image paired with many possible interpretations by the viewer lends a deeper meaning to the artwork and makes it a successful work of art.

When looking at the medium and constraints of the artwork the artist tells us that the image was carved out and printed onto paper. In terms of modularity, Bantjes was constrained to the shape of the paper and the fact that carving out the image has some restrains in terms of details, size, and texture. The ears are clearly made from repeated diagonal lines as opposed to careful shading or some sort of gradient as that would be very difficult to carve into a block. The shape of the paper was not entirely restraining, as it was more the block, but it provided a background and another source of color for the print. This brought on the simplicity in the color as well, where the paper provided the color for the image and the print was monotone in order to feature the background color and overall image.

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