Marian Bantjes responds as luminary mentor to Xavi Garcia
in this original monogram, rendered for Fortnight Journal. Bantjes is an iconic graphic artist, TED speaker and author of I Wonder
, an illuminated manuscript of conceptual essays that marries typography with narrative. Her work--which communicates through design, typography, illustration and writing--is in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
Bantjes chose to respond to "Unity
," a wax-sealed missive that young graphic designer Garcia created for Fortnight. "Unity" was made in homage to five visual traditions, from Bauhaus to Bruno Murani. Both Bantjes and Garcia distill motifs from visual history, using patient execution to revive values of sincerity and wonder. Just as "Unity" reveals hand-rendered antique script, Bantjes' responding design can be unfurled, tendril by tendril, to reveal a classic emblem of the personal.
I was somewhat familiar with Xavi's work before being approached by Fortnight to respond to him, and I was very happy to do so as I was impressed with what I had seen.
Xavi has a number of similar interests to me in my work: historical references, craft, a variety of media, and the injection of the personal, and working by hand. My response to him picks up from his initial in sealing wax, in that I was reminded I've been meaning to do something for myself which references complex historical monograms.
As always, I have no desire to simply copy or reproduce, so I have made an intertwining of the letters of my first name, MARIAN. But the form is strangely organic in an animal-vegetable way, with folds and twists that look strangely like rubber or skin. Because of Xavi's work in pencil also, I decided to create this piece in pencil. I noticed that as well we have similar ways of working in the way we draw a simple grid structure to start and build from there. That this is unfinished (as yet) shows a bit of that process.