It Is Beautiful . . . Then Gone

by Martin Venezky
ISBN: 9781568984568

This book is a collection of graphic designer Martin Venezky’s work. He shares what he’s done with some details about his thought and construction process. In the case of his teaching, he includes samples of some student work in response to his assignments. He doesn’t love everything he’s ever done: the book include points of view other than his own, most notably in an interview with Speak magazine publisher Dan Rolleri, who fired him more than once.

What I liked most about the book is that Venezky is unapologetic about his obsessions. They are on full display, and you either have to admire or hate that he managed to work images of his cat into paid work. Venezky isn’t a “point and click designer” — meaning, in part, that he is a more literal cut and paste designer because he uses paper and scissors, he has a pen in his hand.

I’m not sure how I feel about so stridently making this distinction. I tend to think work speaks for itself (or not) and lots of information about the process shouldn’t be necessary or shift my response. Working digitally doesn’t save time in all cases — you can spend ages manipulating and creating digitally — and part of the point here seems to be the time invested in making something. Perhaps to justify that it is work, what he’s doing, though it looks like he’s having fun. Certainly his massive, wall-sized collage creation reflects consist effort and playfulness.

Recommended if you are a fan of collage, prone to obsessive collecting, or are a designer in need of a visual inspiration resource. I found myself wondering where/how I could give over significant wall space to see what collage would emerge if I started assembling the various images I’ve kept… and also what it would look like to create something similar in digital form. I’m not sure if my cats would make the cut, though I do believe my obsessions would be made visible.

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