blur magazine 3/9


Take into account the characteristics of a dream: its vagueness, sometimes lack of detail, color and emotion.  After I had discussed with Vaughan his design project "Tokyo Salamander" from the Ride Design office, I wondered about the discussion outline, whether to put it into a Q&A format or let my memory serve and recall it as a further extension of Vaughan's and my discussion of dreams.

6.7. - Vaughn calls this morning (from London).  From the Ride Design office I call back to chat about the "Tokyo Salamander" Project.  A third call and we were in the midst of an overseas communication surrounding a very popular Japanese artist by the name of Shinro Ohtake.  Vaughan tells me that Shinro's had major exhibitions and we continue to discuss the objects of printed matter and their relation to Shinro's dreams along with his interest in the matter of printing-printing as the means of an act, the physical aspects of the print process, the chance taken, even the use of rubbish on the printer'' floor for the beginnings of a limited series of books (15) that started with existing pages of catalogs on the printer's floor in which the pre-printed surface was to serve as a base for Shinro's imagery to be run through a sheet-fed press with 6- 8 color variations on top of previous imagery, opening up a lot of doors of thought.  This process seems to deal with many ideas about layering, recycling, the use of color and possibly the relationship of information in this world - one layer on top of another.

Vaughan and I talked for a couple hours, the "Tokyo Salamander" diary of dreams leading up to his newest project "Huh".   The interpretation of Shinro's own dreams which had been translated from Japanese to English led to some interesting ideas for Vaughan, involving layering and the ability to remember. Vaughan said that at one point Shinro had forgotten some of the information Vaughan was using in the interpretation and didn't recognize what was going on. I further related this to the dream analogy, saying that it was just like a dream in the way you don't always recall the information and remembering (memory?) is almost always vague.   Vaughan's description of Shinro's character has somewhat eluded me at this point, but I do recall him saying that Shinro, at a time, was living near a ship yard and his surroundings of hull building from fiberglass had been passed on thematically to monotype cases made from fiberglass inlaid with various images and materials that he uses to hold his individual books.

All this is but a brief introduction to Shinro as well as a Vaughan himself.  The elements that consistently reveal themselves in Shinro's work are printed matter - new and old, randomness, as well as travel (location).  When first approached with the "Tokyo Salamander" project, Vaughan was briefed on the idea but given absolutely no guidelines.  All that freedom is a bit frightening.   Vaughan says that it took him months to mentally put the project in its place.   Beginning it was another matter.  "Tokyo Salamander" was left to Vaughan's interpretation; to his interpretations of Shinro's dreams.  Something about Hendrix having square eggs (legs?) and being the first punk . . . Not really concluding our Salamander discussion, I moved on to one of Vaughan's newer projects, one that for me is closer to home and for Vaughan a newer opportunity.  "Home" meaning "Bikini" and now for Vaughan "Huh", another member to the Raygun family of books.  Vaughan is currently designing the first issue for release later this summer.  He's looking for rhythm, a rhythm between pages that up to now have been on records and sleeves and, done without a computer, I might add.  Vaughan says that he's going to find the novelties of the Macintosh refreshing in a way, but also added that his experiences will be old: "Everyone already knows what I'm learning."   Being acquainted with the insight to (process of) "Tokyo Salamander", the new relationship with the Mac will surely open a few more doors for Vaughan, which will I doubt be old.  More of a multimedia collaboration, "Huh" basically consists of videotape and printed matter.  We talked about a general audience and possibly toning down the imagery and being able to get the message across to hundreds of thousands of people and being such a high risk of failure or success.

We've concluded that it can't be looked at that way, not without a fair amount of white space.

Blur  Magazine Volume 3 No 9