In big news this week, I’ve started part I. of my visual thesis project! I’m sending out letters with a directed activity I’d like the receiver to compete. Inside each envelope, is a smaller one, where they’ll perform this activity, and mail me the results. I love getting letters in the mail and always feel like it’s a special event when someone takes time to write you one. A few weeks ago, a college friend sent me a Valentine’s Day card full of shiny confetti hearts and the sweetest note ever. I was having a shitty day and it made me feel so much better. You could say that’s a joyful experience.
That’s why this project fits into my thesis direction, and this model works on multiple layers. In my (unwritten) thesis paper, I lobby for the inclusion of joy within three important stages of the creative process: experience, creation, and sharing. Or at least that’s the methodology I’m using to create this work. One of my delimitations is that my methodology or process isn’t a universal solution, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to design. It works for me, so if you find something inspirational or joyful, and that you’d like to add to your process, then great! Mission accomplished. If not, KEEP TO STEPPIN’!!
To explain how this applies to my process, let’s start with experience. It was fun for me to pick out all the elements for these letters. I went to Paper Presentation to find just the right envelopes. To my joy, the envelopes I chose were on sale. (Sorry guys, I’m on a budget, gotta do this on the cheap!) I picked out my favorite stamps (pictured above), which I have a plan to create work with later. I also bought an extra book I want to frame next to my Eames stamps. In creation, I had a lot of fun coming up with the design. I will picture the final product once I’ve started receiving letters back, I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I’m using this body of work as an excuse to finally create the work I want to do. All the images in the letter represent joy in some way to me, but they’re each abstract. The reciever may not read joy from them, but as long as I can make them smile, think, or appreciate what I put into them, then I’m happy. The last part of this project, and my proposed methodology, involves sharing. I’ve spent the last 6 months investigating joy, what brings me joy, and what brings joy to other artists and designers. Now I’m asking others to be a part of the process. I’m creating a shared experience with the letters, my exhibition, and the final surprise I have planned. I want my work to live the world and be experienced, so sharing is an important and vital last step.
Now I have to write this fucking paper! I’m looking forward to transforming it with my thesis book, but this formal research paper stage is bleak!
Here’s a little teaser of what I’ve been working on!