glyphs

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My foray into stencil-graffiti design. This symbol combines the chemical notation for benzene (a circle inscribed in a hexagon), with the archetypal ouroboros, the serpent swallowing its own tail. The consonants of the word "BeNZeNe" are circumscribed by the serpent; the idea was to evoke the classical Hebrew tradition of writing only the consonants of a word. Benzene is the most fundamental cyclical compound, and the realization of its structure by Kekule in 1865 is a milestone in the history of chemistry. Kekule is said to have realized the structure upon awakening from a dream of a serpent swallowing its tail. Two concept-studies are presented below.

A structural benzene symbol combined with an ancient Meso-American ouroboros. A more abstracted benzene notation combined with an ouroboros from medieval England.


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This one, another stencil-graffiti design, was inspired by a print ad I saw for Austin's ultra-hip Gomi clothing boutique I saw in the Austin Chronicle about a year ago, featuring the silhouette of an AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter. Something cross-pollinated in my head with the "New World Order"/"Black Helicopters Over America" conspiracy mythology and it came to me that it might be really cool to start seeing "UN occupation" graffiti stencils all over the place. Quite a bit of work went into this design; for some people it seems to work immediately; others just cock their heads to the side and say "Huh?" Feedback is always appreciated.



This weird litle guy came to me while I was looking at, no lie, the bristles of a cheap electric toothbrush. I don't know what the heck I mean to do with him, but he's kinda cute.



The word 'racecar' is a palindrome, spelled the same forward and backward, and thus a fitting name for this mirror-image typeface.

...is an experimental typeface (really only a set of caps, at this point) developed in an effort to create a set of letterforms each having symmetry about its vertical axis. This effort was inspired by the lettering on the fronts of emergency vehicles which is designed to be readible in the rearview mirrors of cars ahead in traffic. It was thought, initially, that such letters would allow words to be read as easily in mirrors as in direct view. Of course, rudimentary consideration of the problem reveals that words written horizontally in RACECAR will still have the order of the letters reversed, when viewed in a mirror image, and unless the word is a palindrome, will probably only be more difficult to make out than the mirror images of the same words written in normal letters.

These prototype 48-pt. glyphs were created using MS paint from those in the 'Alaska' typeface which comes bundled with Windows 2000.

So the idea, basically, is a failure. Still, the set of glyphs which resulted from my initial doodling were visually pleasing to me, having a charming rune-like character. It should be noted, also, that words spelled vertically in RACECAR will appear the same in a mirror, whether they are palindromes or not. This may have applications which I have not yet considered.



An impression of eye pain, supposed to suggest a dagger in the eye.

This image was in my head when I awoke the first morning I ever experienced eyestrain. I had stared at a CRT for about 10 hours the night before while rushing to finish a school project. I'm glad I have an LCD monitor at home.



The unit cell below tiling the plane.

I have a longstanding interest in tesselations. A good, but expensive, book explaining the design and construction of tesselating patterns is Jinny Beyer's Designing Tesselations: The Secrets of Interlocking Patterns. Many resources on this subject are also freely available on the web.

The unit cell tiled to produce the allover pattern.

This unit cell could be reduced to a simple, smaller hexagon if the image of the moon were radially symmetric. Alas, it is not, and I think the image of the real moon adds considerably to the overall effect. This design was inspired by a glyph in a Dover's collection of electronic clip art, Japanese Designs:

The image that inspired the tesselating ghouls design.

In truth, it is not very difficult to design tesselations that fade to black at the mating edges, as this one does. I have been thinking about doing a companion piece featuring angels with wings gathered around around a sun and alternatingly tiling it with this design, but the isometric grid on which these designs tile would require a third motif to alternate regularly, and I haven't yet decided what an appropriate third cell would consist of.


A pair of light and dark profiles of automatic handguns, tesselating.

Here's an automatic handgun that tiles the plane. The inverted "yin" handgun is the same shape as the upright "yang", just lighter in color and rotated 180°. At certain points along their mating edges, the shapes share some areas of medium saturation.

Neutral spaces shared between shapes.

Note, particularly, how the ejection port of one gun is also the front sight rail of the gun "above" it. This trick is also used on the underbarrel/magazine lip area. It's handy in that it allows some of the valuable real estate along the shapes' mating edges to serve double duty as both positive and negative space. The disadvantage is that it tends to "gray out" the sharp boundaries between one shape and the other, making each somewhat harder to resolve.

A pair of light and dark tesselating profiles of automatic handguns.

The gun profile was drawn using the shareware CAD program CadStd which, although it claims to export .SVG, does not usefully do so, as the .SVG files it produces never render correctly. This frustration was overcome by using the tried-and-true "Print Screen" key to copy the white-on-black CAD screen image to PhotoShop, where it was inverted to white-on-black, duplicated, colored, tiled, and scaled.

iamanangelchaser@yahoo.com

2005-3-30

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