I am creating what I now know is referred to as a “Smash Book”. It is similar to a scrapbook and includes tickets, pamphlets, stickers, pictures, text and anything that can be thrown on a page. I have been collecting some of these items from galleries and events I attend and will caption or write notes to explain why each is necessary for my Personal Survival Guide.
I created a Smash-Scrap-Book. I bought the materials to make it on a weekend that I went home and have been collecting the other scraps to include in the book throughout the semester. I have kept pamphlets, flyers, cards, and tickets from events I have attended while I have been at Alfred. Because this is my own Personal Survival Guide, I used my Illuminated Name project as my cover. Everything in the binder has served a purpose in my first semester or is of importance in some way. I included instructions on how to use resources such as the laser cutter and screen printing stations. I printed a copy of my GMD professors’ contacts and a list with descriptions of the elements and principles of design for my reference. I made note of the activities I was involved in that allowed me to relax and meet new people. I wrote notes on lessons I have learned throughout the semester–some from my teachers and peers, but most from myself. A main theme of my Survival Guide is self-sufficiency, a trait that I have found to be pertinent to achieving success. I painted images (bluejay, mandala, lemons) that remind me of Alfred or something I have learned here. I see bluejays on campus more often than I have seen them anywhere. I am always excited to see them, because they are beautiful creatures with savage instincts. The mandala represents imbalance and complexity. I found that I did not always balance and separate my workload the best way that I could; I have improved upon this as the semester has unfolded. The Graphic Design program is complex in itself, as was teaching myself how to use new programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, but I know so much more now than I did coming in to the program. The lemons are a play on the typically used saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I have learned to accept things and move on. Friends left and new ones came into my life and I got excellent grades and then poor ones. Every failure I have had here, whether it be socially, intellectually, or mentally, has been a learning experience. I am grateful for everything I have learned.
This project has helped me grow as a designer and an artist, because I now consciously pull meaning from my experiences. I ask myself what I got out of each class, project, or conversation. I can communicate with my peers and generate ideas to be compared and reviewed. I know how to participate in a critique effectively and respectfully and how to receive criticism with an open mind. Building my Personal Survival Guide has shed light on all of the valuable skills I have picked up without realizing it. It is relevant to the GMD program, because I produced something over a period of time that shows an understanding of spacing, color, and balance. I planned each page before I glued things on in order to make the most aesthetically pleasing presentation. The design process was present in my guide due to my compiling of sketching, planning and gathering, feedback, alterations, and criticism. I am proud of the work I have accomplished.