RelatedStudy – Graphics MinimalismIntroduction In this study,I am to show and to find out that less can be more with the discovery ofminimalism and research into where minimalism came from by looking into the DeStijl movement with artist Piet Mondrian who created beautiful abstract pieceswhich moved away from his previous more detailed artworks. Then I will belooking at the movement of minimalism itself in the 1950’s America as well asBrutalism (minimalist architecture) in the 1950/60’s seeing the influence thatthe De Stijl had on these movements, mainly minimalism. Next, I will look intothe impact of minimalism on our lives not just in graphic design or art. Thiswill be informed by me watching a documentary about “The Minimalists”who gave up their 6 figure wage to express that having less can take awaystress leading to an overall happier life. Finally, I will look at a recentdesigner who has taken the idea of minimalism into their own hands to createsimplistic poster-like designs, this will be the work of Outmane Amahou whotook famous artworks throughout the movements and stripping them back of smalldetails creating recognizable but minimalistic silhouettes. The Minimalismmovement was an “extreme form” (1) of abstract art developed in theUSA in the 1950s.
Typically the artworks were composed of simple geometricshapes based on squares and rectangles. The Minimalism art movement can be seenas an extension of the idea of abstract art and very similar to cubism. Beinginfluenced by geometric shapes based on squares and rectangles as well as linesand pops of bright, primary colors from the De Stijl movement back in 1917 fromthe Neverlands, minimalism has developed widely into today’s designers. “Weusually think of art as representing an aspect of the real world (a landscape,a person, or even a tin of soup!); or reflecting an experience such as anemotion or feeling. With minimalism, no attempt is made to represent an outsidereality; the artist wants the viewer to respond only to what is in front ofthem.
The medium, (or material) from which it is made and the form of the workis the reality. Minimalist painter Frank Stella famously said about hispaintings ‘What you see is what you see'” (1) This statementtells me that minimalism is exactly what it says it is; the minimal needed tocreate an impression. Minimalism cameabout in the late 1950s where artists (alike Frank Stella) began to move awayfrom the previous movement of ‘gestural art’ (1). The Movement challenged theexisting structures but kept grids and some structure.
Although extreme andaway from tradition, many of the concerns of the immediately preceding abstractexpressionist movement, earlier abstract movements were an important influenceon the ideas and techniques of minimalism. This allcombines together to allow me to explore the influences of minimalism and theinfluences of what minimalism can bring into our lives and today’s designs. The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Milburn andRyan Nicodemus Robin Hood Gardens 13,Poplar, London, Alison and Peter Smithson 1969-1972 Piet Mondrian – Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937–42 Outmane Amahou – Pop Art – 2012 Frank Stella, ‘Hyena Stomp’ 1962 De Stijl – Piet Mondrian Who influenced today’s designers to useminimalism, where has this come from? De Stijl was an artistic movement in theNetherlands that started in 1917 and lasted till roughly the early 1930s.”De Stijl” is Dutch for “The Style”. The movement includedpainters, sculptors, architects, and designers. DE Stijl was a movement whichbrought in simplicity and abstraction by deducing designs to its essential formand color.
The designs were to consist of only: Horizontal and vertical lines,Rectangular forms, Primary values white, black, and grey, Primary colors blue,red, and yellow. Not only this but the different parts of the designs don’toverlap, everything has its own independence (apart from the interception ofthe lines as they stretch across the canvas. (1) “It doesn’t take a stretch of theimagination to figure out how De Stijl influenced minimalist design.
” (1) “De Stijl” means “TheStyle” and the movement was born in the early 20th century (1917) in theNetherlands. This was by a collection of artists who made the idea surroundpurity and the obscurity of figuration. Alike cubism, geometric shapes, andlines are used. (4) Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutchartist. He was first to explore the idea of abstract art. Beginning to work ina brighter colors and sometimes developed a pointillist style (detailed andprecise style of art with small dots and patterns to create an image) in 1908.
He was hugely influenced by Cubism with the abstract styles he developed. Thisstyle then moved into a more simplistic abstract style (he calledNeo-Plasticism). In this style, only the three primary colors (red, blue andyellow) can be used amongst a black grid containing vertical and horizontallines on a white ground. This style is hugely associated with the de Stijlmovement 1917-25. (6) Piet Mondrian -Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937–42 This piece, composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937–42,is a clear example of a piece of Piet Mondrian’s work within the De Stijlmovement This piece sticks to the rules in which are laid out for this specificmovement. The way in which Mondrian has used only 4 instances of color createssome negative spacing which draws the viewer to explore the outer parts of thepainting, creating an intriguing composition. The minimalistic style makes mefeel relaxed, there are not any tiny details in which I have focus in on, itsblocks of color which could have any meaning you would like it to. I perceivethe piece as a focus on the red block color as it is surrounded totally byblack lines.
I feel the piece is quite romantic in this sense with protectionsurrounding an intimate color making the center of focus on this block. Youcould also take this thought further, it could be representing the elementswhich you need in life; happiness (yellow), relationships (red) and getting by(blue). Overall, the artwork is interesting and allows everyone to have theirown free perceptions of life. . Minimalism – FrankStella Frank Stella was anAmerican abstract painter. Whilst attending Phillips Academy (Andover), hestarted painting abstract pictures. Moved to New York in 1958. (1) Brutalism – Alison and Peter Smithson Brutalism is anarchitectural style and a movement of design which ranged through the 1950s and1960s.
This was a style which was influenced by minimalism which created a newform of construction and architecture which was built of simple, block forms ofraw concrete. This movementwas particularly associated with the architects Peter and Alison Smithson. Thearchitect couple Alison (22 June 1928 – 16 August 1993) and Peter Smithson (18September 1923 – 3 March 2003) formed a partnership which led through toBritish Brutalism towards the twentieth century. The pair “stripped downmodernism”, and challenge modernist approaches and designs. Instead ofusing just modernistic approaches, the couple helped evolve the style into whatbecame Brutalism, becoming people who advocate the “streets in thesky” approach to housing.
(2) Robin HoodGardens 13, Poplar, London, Alison and Peter Smithson 1969-1972 Smithdon High School, Norfolk, England, Peter and Alison Smithson,1954 Both of thesebuildings have a certain look to them, they’re not jazzed up in any way justpure concrete and windows. This pure simplicity is something which was exploredby many architects in the brutalist movement where they took a step back frommodernism and made architecture simplistic, only including the essentialelements in which buildings need. These types of buildings today are usuallyused as flats or in the case of the Smithdon High School, they’re used aspublic sector buildings.
When walkingaround I don’t see these buildings as the prettiest buildings, in fact, they’requite ugly after a few years of wear and tear, but we see the practicality ofthe amounts of people these large, tall structures can accommodate; therefore,for an ever-growing population, these buildings work in providing for peoplesneeds to have a roof over their head. Most brutalistarchitecture emerged during the 60’s carried on into the 70’s. The main ideawhich surrounded Brutalism was partially based on the idea of equality withinsociety as well as hope for people who weren’t so well off. Therefore,Brutalism had an important role in society especially within the communistcountries (areas which aren’t so well off). (4) “The ideaof unity and shared space was somehow best transformed into shape through themeans of brutalist suburban blocks, with lots of open space and moderately tallbuildings and houses that have a capacity to accommodate many people. It wasalso often associated with futurism, a bright outlook on the future, which ishow it was presented at first – close to how people used to imagineutopia.
” (4) This statement tells me that Brutalism was a movement whichchanged society as a whole giving everyone as an equal chance to each other aswell as bring communities together with shared space. I feel thatminimalism had a massive influence towards brutalism and this formed more thansimplistic (as many would say, ugly) buildings, it created a society where wecan be happier for knowing there’s accommodation out there for that won’t costtoo much if life gets in the way. The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Milburn and RyanNicodemus Minimalism – A Documentary about ImportantThings This is a documentary which looks into whatmakes people happy in terms of possessions. After watching it once, I wasintrigued enough to feel that this was relevant to looking into “less ismore”.
The documentary opened my eyes to new ideas which then formed aninterest in the overall subject of minimalism. Inspiration came from the main two men,Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Milburn, who gave up their own 6 figuresalaries to spread the word of how having a minimalistic life can make youhappier. Ryan stated, “I had everything I ever wanted… everyone aroundme said I was successful, but in fact, I was miserable”. Many peoplebelieve you can “buy your way to happiness” but the situation is thathaving “stuff” was not fore-filling the “void” of unhappinesswithin our lives.
The more “stuff” that we have, the moredissatisfied we become; as humans, we are “wired to becomedissatisfied” (3). Ryan to Joshua “how the hell are youso happy?” Joshua “Minimalism” Joshua let go of a lot of his processions thatdidn’t add value to his life, consequently, his life became more stress-free,making Joshua happier. The documentary introduced the idea ofminimalistic miniature homes which every space is valuable and used.Environmentally, the idea is genius as supposedly we don’t use up to 40% of ourhomes. This is the idea to do more with less.
Jimmy Carter (former US president) made ashort statement during the documentary about human identity stating that”not one does what one owns”. This tells me that you don’t useeverything that you own, suggesting minimalism is the way forward. Thepresident described humans as being “longing for meaning” in terms ofthe need for material goods, which” cannot fill emptiness”. All ofthis ended with the former having those stresses like dissatisfying”stuff” taken away makes you happier, giving you a stress-free life.The American Dream – should be equality,fairness, everyone should have a chance, greed has taken over the country andthe world and therefore doesn’t allow a chance for everyone to be happy,minimalism can help this problem.The closing statement was “Love peopleand use things because the opposite never works”.
This almost describesthe impact of minimalism for if you take on a minimalistic life then you shouldbe happy, genuine, add value to your life, be stress-free as your beingintentionally simple, have a need rather than a want and stop this madness inwhich we have dug ourselves into as a society. TodaysMinimalism – Outmane Amahou Outmane Amahou was a French-based Graphic Designer (1)who took the artworks of the various movements and took away all the detail tocreate minimal posters. Campbell’s Soup Cans (sometimes referred to as 32Campbell’s Soup Cans) is a work of art produced in 1962 by Andy Warhol. Heproduced each one on a separate individual basis and therefore was able to makeeach one unique. Each canvas contains a different soup which Campbell’s producethis ranges from tomato to chicken noodle flavor. Each one was so individuallydone, Warhol needed some sort of continuity and therefore Warhol used a handstamp to keep the “fleur-de-lis” pattern that lines the bottom ofeach can.
Placement varied from canvas to canvas but like the fact, the red andwhite very slightly too, and one can is missing the gold band, you can say thepaintings with-hold human touch even though some critics disagree. This alllaunched Warhol’s career to be a success. – (4) Moving forward Warhol went onto produce pop art of famous figures like Marilyn Monroe creating variousprints including “Liquorice Marilyn” and “Lavender Marilyn”as well as “Shot Blue Marilyn”. – (5) The Pop Art poster is where Outmane Amahou has takenAndy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can and making it simplistic and minimalistic,taking only the one element in which tells the story fully within the movementand putting this on a plain background; He used a plain background which ismost commonly a primary color.
His 2012 Minimalist Art Movement Posters is hisvariation to different artistic movements which he changes just using singleshapes and blocks of colors which creates a representative of each movementindividually. He says “whenever he thinks of any art movement, there isalways one specific visual for each one”. An example of this is when hethought about Pop Art, the first thing that appeared to his thinking wasWarhol’s soup cans. I love the way that Amahou takes almost a silhouette andstill makes the poster recognizable to the original piece by color choiceswhich reflect the movement as well as choosing famous pieces and using justenough detail to be recognizable. The piece has no added stress within thedetails which critics were quick to judge with Warhol’s original pieces. I would say that Amahou has been heavily influenced bythe Minimalist movement but more influenced by the De Stijl movement in termsof the choices of colours within his backgrounds being primary colours and thefact that he’s taking away stress and time by not creating something detailedand making something recognisable giving us as viewers a challenge to determinewhat this. Overall, I like the work that he does and feelthat it “does what it says on the tin”! Andy Warhol – Campbell’s Soup Cans – 1962 OutmaneAmahou – Pop Art – 2012