Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ambigram Project: Embrace Apathy

The ambigram designs I've recently been doing are quite different from the ambigrams that most of us are familiar with. That is, my recent artistic projects involve ambigrams that depict two words, one viewed from each of two vantage points. These are asymmetric ambigrams, particularly named as "symbiotograms" (from John Langdon). From the creative perspective, these are more difficult to create and depend greatly on the configuration of the words, but are more enjoyable and awe-inspiring to look at.

I was commissioned by Michael Lo (who described himself as a "random guy on the internet") who discovered my artwork portfolio in DeviantArt. It took a long time before we committed on this project (since I myself was busy with my teaching/community work), but as soon as time allowed, we were ready considering options for his ambigram. He wanted an ambigram with the word EMBRACE reading one way and APATHY when turned upside-down. For those you who have read my previous blog on Ambigram Project: Memento Vivere, you would be familiar already with the challenges that are present when creating these ambigrams. Again, the words are unequal in number and length. Here are my preliminary sketches:

The uneven nature of the words meant I have to figure ways in which certain letters will have represent two. In the sketches, I was focusing mainly on the configuration of the "ac" of "embrace" and "p" of "apathy". The inverted "a" could become the bowl (curved/round) part of the inverted "p". A modified "c" could be the stem (straight) part of the inverted "p". This would make the resulting "p" unusually thick, so I thought the typeface of the rest of the letters be modified so this wouldn't be that pronounced. Not shown in the sketches (as I immediately set to digital work as soon as I discovered the solution for "ac" and "p" was the "mb" and "th" combinations. Part of the "m" represented the "h" while "b" represented part of the stylized capital "T". Here are the initial digital presentations:

I also decided to use a more traditional Gothic font, which resulted in a more readable solid design (unhindered by the spiky stems of the above typeface):

Here are the final renders:

Michael will be sending me pictures of the ambigram as soon as he has it set as a tattoo.

Although personally, I don't absolutely agree with embracing apathy as a philosophy (though there are times when I have to assume a state of apathy as an act of self-preservation, since being empathic or active can just be so exhaustive and futile), here's an excerpt from interesting piece I found discussing how apathy can be viewed as a virtue:

"Albert Camus, among others, wrote of life's inherent meaninglessness. But, he also wrote of the unique meaning individuals are able to put into their own lives. It is very difficult to discover this unique meaning if one does not give apathy a chance. If a person is never apathetic about life, he will never have a chance to judge it. One must separate oneself from the everyday to understand it. Apathy allows people to become outside observers of humanity. Those who embrace apathy for their own sake are truly virtuous, for they are not lying to themselves about how much they care about various matters of ranging importance." (word of Matthew Bettinger)

No comments: