Sunday, November 28, 2010

Things Found on Napkins

This theme is harder than I expected. Did you ever stop to notice how few things are actually found on napkins, unless put there by humankind? I even looked for those little gems of profundity scribbled on napkins…solicited and even set up some stations to elicit poetry, cartoons, maps, whatever!!! Let the imagination soar! Results? Nothing! Nada! Zip!

Is our creativity so destroyed? Has the economic crash obliterated fantastic graphic design on napkins? Are we so busy that we are subconsciously waving a white flag of surrender: the totally undecorated white napkin!? Or is it the last bastion of white space?

I’m a little disturbed by this. Almost as disturbed as I was when I found us decorating toilet paper. Toilet paper? Who needs to decorate that, I clearly remember thinking. But yes, I agreed. Such is the need for the human spirit to express itself, that we even leave our imprint on our toilet paper.

So the fact that we’re not expressing ourselves on napkins anymore seems ominous to me, a portent. Historians may describe this cultural phenomenon as the beginning of the end. A subtle shift in the Zeitgeist. Just remember you read about it here first.

But I digress. This is only a sketchbook project, after all. I must return to the task at hand, cultural collapse notwithstanding…

Ok, so what can I make out of my own napkin collection? A few quasi-poems written in ballpoint pen, with a date. The occasional quote from a book I was reading on a plane, with an ad for Coca-Cola. And a Starbucks one, with an idea from a friend for an art project. I am underwhelmed.

Ahhh…but look what I found in Italy!!!! Now here are some graphics to sink one’s creative juices into…

After abortive attempts at printing them on various image transfer papers, I give up and start drawing the napkins themselves. Or at least their graphics.. A sketchbook is for sketching, after all, right? (She affirms with an intuitive grasp of the obvious.) Sketching it will be…how’s this for napkin sketches?!

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