3 Degrees of Inspiration: Weiyi Li, Benjamin Critton & Wayne Daly

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Editor’s Note: This is part 51 in Emily Potts’ inspirational series. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun, and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the fiftieth part in the series, featuring Olimpia Zagnoli, Tamara Shopsin & Laurel Schwulst.

Laurel Schwulst is inspired by …

Weiyi Li

Weiyi’s works fill me with a sense of lightness, wonder, and absolute awe. She is an artist, designer, curator, publisher, and retailer (according to her website), but secretly I think she is even more.

BIG AND USELESS and NOW is a typeface made out of a single stroke. Many people like big typefaces, but not many people make them useless and now. I love the typeface’s website adaptation (in Flash).

To make up is a container for a broken mirror. It is poetic, strange, and somehow perfect. Although it looks mass-produced, only one can be made at a time. More info can be found in her writing, “Function as Narrative.”

Weiyi Li is inspired by …

Benjamin Critton

There is always a kind of tension in his work, between simplicity and humor, between carefully drawn alphabets and comic-style roman columns. I also get inspired by the way he publishes his works. He is running an online business as a platform presenting and selling his works. You can see how a designer directly delivers his work to the audience, instead of standing behind clients.

The dots series is simple, vivid, and humorous. Ben chose the very mundane object – dot labels as the subject. Due to its lightness, the dots can be seen as both an object and flat image. The final product is a series of abstract screenprint pieces with super strong visual impact.

The Pools project is a collaboration with his partner Heidi. It has the clear and concise qualities of Ben’s work, and it’s a good example of the transformation between object and image.

Benjamin Critton is inspired by …

Wayne Daly

Wayne is a designer and producer of books. I’m also positive that he can and does design other things, both independently and collaboratively (and probably expertly), but I know his work as it relates to the books he makes. Formerly of the print studio at the Architectural Association, newly of the nascent Daly & Lyon (with longtime collaborator Claire Lyon), Wayne is downright prolific. The risk, of course, is that ‘prolific’ somehow becomes synonymous with “insensitive” or “haphazard,” and this couldn’t be further from the truth. I admire (and consume, with all the good and bad that word implies) Wayne’s output because it defers to its content, always and forever, and is seemingly uninterested in generating superfluous form; form-giver vs form-maker. Distilled just-so, and presented at the volume of a perfect score (the strings never swell too earnestly, nor are they afraid to drop out entirely), Wayne’s work is excellent because it is empathetic. As if this wasn’t sufficient, Wayne also makes for a lovely neighbor at book fairs.

Cedric Price Works had been in the works (sorry) for several years prior to its release earlier this year. And rightly so: At 1424 pages across two volumes, and spanning 50+ years of output from the remarkable British architect and instructor, the book is comprehensive, absolute—literally encyclopedic. I recall receiving a small (and no less considered) primer publication about the project at the New York Art Book Fair in 2014 or thereabouts. The result, three years later, is a true Feat: an elegant, celebratory, beautifully-composed tome.

A happy moment in which a great publisher (Perimeter, AU) works with a great photographer (Slack, US), and works with great designer (Daly, UK) on a perfectly-scaled, humbly-produced, non-linear, non-verbal, super-subjective photographic survey of a singular locale. The book (Walking in Place 1: New Orleans) is a true pleasure to engage with. Its design barely-there, and all the better for it.

Tune in next time to see who inspires Wayne Daly.

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