Gonzo is a design concept through journalism written without claims of objectivity whilst often including the journalist/artist as part of the story. This idea was originally used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, it works with the idea of designing a poster/ad that speaks to you; it’s about the text and the method of communication.
The concept began with something that journalists would use to connect with the viewer better, whilst using humor and sarcasm through text and image. At the time it was a new approach and in some ways it was ground breaking.
The reason David chose this particular style of workshop is because he mixes text and images to make his art approachable and understandable. He uses his art as a form of communication and interaction with the audience.
During the workshop everyone designed a poster based on the Gonzo approach, whilst thinking about what words and images tell the viewer about themselves, rather like a self portrait or the more modern approach of a Facebook profile. Getting personality across to the viewer. David loves typography and he sees it as a form of abstraction; fonts can come across in different ways as with images.
The materials used included magazines, tissue paper, coloured pens, scissors and glue. David likes working within limitations, but doesn’t see them as limits and he says you don’t need a lot to be creative. He works by using what he already has to guide him whilst pushing the boundaries, for example you can use an A3 piece of paper but then add to it or reduce it – you’re not restricted with your starting point.
Watching everyone making their Gonzo art, you could really see their personalities; some would cut corners off, some would start drawing immediately, others would start cutting out images and text. At the end everyone clipped them up and looked at them together. It was fascinating to see how different and varied the posters were, reflecting everybody’s creativity and individuality.
The reason Morgan chose this workshop, with the current installation, was that David wanted to try and work with the restrictions of the showroom and work in a different way. Guests could then link their drawing exercise with the work that he was exhibiting. Our guests left with a better understanding of David’s work as well as an insight into his friendly, energetic, passionate and creative personality.
Gonzo Drawing Workshop with David Shillinglaw
Our Gonzo drawing workshop with David Shillinglaw during Clerkenwell Design Week.