A few steps beyond the front door of the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Performing Arts and Humanities Building (PAHB) stands a chiseled work of art. Displayed on the northeast end of the academic building is a structural composition of seven brown concrete half-arches and a multitude of concrete cubes. Three arches face toward the building’s rear with the remaining four parallel, facing away from the PAHB. Stretching approximately two stories high, the delicately-carved brown arches appear quite tall and intricate in comparison to the simplistic small cubes which find a home on the ground between them. While the arches are used as decoration, the cubes can be anything from a sculpture to a seat. Students can be found interacting with the work on a daily basis, studying beneath the arches atop the concrete cubes.
Similar to college students, light also interacts with the structural composition. Rather than the abstract physical shapes of the sculpture itself conveying a deeper meaning, it’s effect on light does. Due to the its location, the arches and cubes fall within the natural light of the sun by day and the artificial lights of the campus by night, causing different shadows by the minute. Sizes of both the arches and the cubes vary from their counterparts, some constructed taller and wider than others. This, along with the concrete medium used for each component and the light surrounding the sculpture, allows for highlights and shadows to find a consistent home within the work. While they differ in location due to time and light, the shadows convey that time has ability to drastically affect happenings, a fact that is relevant in both art and life. In life, simply giving something time can affect the outcome, similar to how waiting near the arches can affect what you see.
While the sculpture indeed works as an artistic design, it also acts to students’ benefits, offering a multitude of seats within what can be described as a sculpture garden. Offering this unique advantage allows for UMBC students to further interact with art and study the intricacies they may not have if this sculpture was replaced with the average benches and chairs. The arches engage the public in the art of creativity – often a lost issue within the day-to-day endeavors of honors university students.
I chose to use the iconic logo of, The Grateful Dead. Their logo Steal your Face is widely know and recognized as a major symbol for the hippie movement, jam music, and the psychedelic period. It can been seen all over the world on any of their band merchandise, cd’s, stickers, and across countless car bumpers. The original use was so the band could easily identify their musical equipment. However, the logo later appeared on the cover of the album Steal your Face, and has been known as the Steal your face symbol ever since.
This design is fairly simplistic containing only 4 colors, red, blue, white, and black. Yet the contrast between these are very bold and eye catching. The image is entirely based off of a circle, created by a thin black line. Inside it contains a smaller circle, suspended near the top of the larger circle. The smaller one however, is created by two black lines with white space separating them, as opposed to the singular black line creating the larger circle. The outer black line of the smaller circle continues underneath it from either side in a very curvature nature to the bottom of the larger circle. In the extended area that these lines create, there is white space that contains curves, and various shapes created from black lines. The space inside the larger circle to the left of the smaller shape is filled with a blue, while the space to the right is filled with a red. In the middle of the smaller circle lies two conjoining black zig-zag lines, with white space in the middle that stretch vertically across the circle, leaving space on either side. This space to the sides is also filled with red and blue, similar to the larger circle but, it is flipped, the left is red while the right is blue.
Since this image is so iconic and has been around since it was first designed in 1969 it is very effective as a logo. The lightning bolt is a symbol for transformation, enlightenment, and the raw powers of nature, juxtaposed with a skull, and distinct colors. All this imagery lend’s to the symbols’s “steal your face” concept. Through the Grateful Dead’s music and the scene they inspired, many people were transformed. In a way their everyday masks were cracked by the openness of their culture. This is clearly depicted through the lightning bolt that slashes through the skull. The contrasting colors also portray the distinction in the conversion their follows went through. Yet, these colors work well together and create a very harmonious vibe relating to the positive atmosphere of The Grateful Dead and the harmony of their music. The skull with a smile is an excellent symbol for “Grateful Dead”.