Contemporary DIY

From writing this essay, I have come to realise that technology has progressed to the point where we now have mountains of tools for self-empowerment.  We can learn new skills, look at how-to guides, make money, buy things, swap things even buy pets online.  These are just a few examples.  The possibilities and power that the internet and internet connected devices bestow on us is quite amazing.  It has changed the whole world into creators.  Even if you particularly suck at something, you can teach yourself not to! DIY is the norm now, we have tools and free software, apps and even recycling websites like freecycle if you want to work with reclaimed materials.

Another thing is that social media can make us feel important and that we have a voice, we no longer have to dress funny or make a ruckus to feel that we belong somewhere (well… we all know someone…).

Considering this, subcultures seems to be a thing of the past, it’s a worldwide culture now.  I wonder where it goes from here.


Contemporary DIY

Blurring lines

When you read about Pop art there is a phrase that always pops up in one form or another;

Pop artists wanted to blur the lines between high and low art

Whilst this can be understood, it is rarely discussed why they hoped to blur lines.  Apparently artists rebelled against the archaic view of what art is supposed to be and focussed on contemporary inspiration.  But why did they rebel?  It seems to me that from this point onwards artists and people in general became more interested in subjective needs and wants than anything else.

If you look at Dada for instance, there were manifestos and literature documenting why they wanted to oppose the system, they were against the war and against the high society that reared its head after, they had a purpose.  Surrealism that followed also stood by the same values but it appears to be subdued.  Surrealists turned inwards, focussing on the subconscious.  By the time we reach Pop, artists just wants to make contemporary art that they like and they want to make money so adopted mass-production methods like screen printing.

This is of course my personal view, but I can see a definite decline in society that were once concerned with worldly matters to the individualist culture of today where everyone is focussed on their own comforts.



Blurring lines

This is how it’s done

Whilst looking at Surrealism I came across this image of Salvador Dali:


‘Dali Atomicus’, taken by Philippe Halsman

(available at:

This image took 5 hours to capture, apparently assistants threw the cats and water whilst Dali had to jump and Mr Halsman held the chair up.  Nothing was retouched.

Isn’t it amazing?

(Information from

This is how it’s done

Interesting Resources

By researching avant garde art movements of the 20th Century, I came across some amazing resources that I would like to share:

Tate’s online resources are vast, from dada to colour theory, you just need to rummage a bit.  They provide detailed information with lectures, papers, theories and research.

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Another resource is Graphic Design History:

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This site gives condensed insight into select topics that are sometimes overlooked such as avant garde typography.  It is very useful if you are looking for specific information.

If you are into Dada, the University of Iowa has a Dada archive with lots of information including complete periodicals, books and leaflets available to download.

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Interesting Resources