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Thursday, June 19, 2008

WE Design is in great FORM

click to enlarge formlogo2.jpg

This Friday marks the book release party for FORM: Artistic Independence 2008 at Eyedrum. The book features the work of 46 local artists and was put together by the nonprofit company Williams-England (WE) Design. I spoke with Jamie England of WE about the book, the party and the future of WE Design.

Tell me a little about FORM: Artistic Independence 2008.

FORM: Artistic Independence 2008 was an idea for a graphic-publishing project my partner, Marcus Williams, and I came up with after deciding that we wanted to take our company, Williams-England, or WE Design, nonprofit last year.

We had just finished a contract job for a non profit organization called the Istanbul Center, an organization that promotes better understanding and relations between Turkish and American communities in Atlanta. It was our largest team project up to date (we were in charge of all the interior design of their new headquarters on West Peachtree and the re-branding of the entire organization). So basically, utilizing both of our fields, graphic and interior design, while applying our own multidisciplinary approach.

Up to this point, we had always charged much less than traditional firms but with this client specifically, we developed the mentality that we wished we didn't have to charge them at all. The Istanbul Center is a community made up of mostly volunteers and just honest, good people. It was tough for them to make decisions regarding spending the organization's funding while at the same time wanting to make wise decisions in the interest of the group. It was hard for Marcus and I because if we didn't get their payments in on time — being a brand new and small company — we would go under. We hated the way that money dictated the project's outcome, this community's environment and our own. After this project, we took away the understanding that these were the type of people we really wanted to design for — people who are dedicated to making the world a better place.

So FORM was a starting point for us to get out there and meet those people while at the same time creating a survey of creative talent that really makes Atlanta an awesome place to be.

How many different artists are featured in this book?

There are a total of 46 artists, designers and photographers featured in FORM. The neat thing about the book, in my opinion, is that there is such a range of different types of work and personalities as well as skill levels. We held open submissions for participation and were really excited about the responses we received.

What types of work are represented in this book?

FORM: Artistic Independence 2008 was open to all Atlanta creatives (or living within 100 miles of Atlanta) with original work completed within the last two years. Any artist, designer, photographer, illustrator, sculptor or any other creative media were encouraged to apply, and they did!

Can you name a few of the artists?

One of my favorite photographers in FORM is Linda Costa, a self-proclaimed gypsy, who specializes in light photography, using long exposures and experimental lighting with none of it done in photoshop ... really amazing stuff! Chih Fan Ting is a graphic designer who is doing some of the coolest illustration I've ever seen — one of her illustrations and toy designs is featured in FORM. Patricia Boinest Potter (an architect and artist in her 60s) with her co-collaborator, Jason Burgess, (who is in his mid 20s) submitted an installation design that really speaks about the diversity of the works included.

What is WE Design, and what else has WE done?

The mission of WE Design: to foster an appreciation of art, interior, furniture and graphic design as well as related disciplines; to enrich Atlanta in a spirit of collaboration; and to organize volunteers and combine their efforts to advance the art and design community in Atlanta with projects that aid artistic awareness and sustainable design practices. We are committed to supporting programs that improve our world.

Why do you think FORM and WE Design are important to the local art community?

Other than FORM, WE Design is collaborating on some pretty cool projects. We are currently assisting the Eyedrum Gallery with their 10th anniversary DVD fundraising project — gathering footage and offering graphic assistance. We work hand-in-hand and volunteer at Wonderroot, a new artist facility that opened on Memorial Drive, and we are about to start a new interior's project for SoPo, a non profit bike co-op. FORM will enable us to apply for our own nonprofit status in the near future and, in turn, find funding in order to concentrate on these types of projects full time.

The release party for FORM is Friday, June 20 from 8-10 p.m. at Eyedrum Music & Art Gallery. For more information visit www.williams-england.com. The launch coincides with Eyedrum's second annual booksale. Local group Make the Fur Fly will perform. Free admission.

(Image courtesy Jamie England)

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