Monday, July 27, 2009

John Passafiume

Award-winning drawing a slap at digital technology

IU grad created graphic by hand

By Diane Heilenman

John Passafiume of Louisville graduated last spring from Indiana University with a bachelor of fine arts degree. He also graduated with nine major awards and six exhibitions under his belt, all involving a clear tour de force, a 32-by-40-inch hand-drawn and lettered page that, at first blush, resembles a mechanically typeset page.

The black-and-white work, “(Process),” goes on view again Tuesday in New York City as one of the 215 winners in the Type Director's Club annual international competition, “TDC 55.”

Passafiume, who plans to move to New York later this year to explore freelance and design work, explained his drawing, which was an arduous three-month-long thesis project in 2007. He said he conceived the complex drawing as an antidote to the proliferation of imagery that has, under digital technological revolution, “inadvertently swallowed entire fields of creativity.

“Sign painters, calligraphers and other predominantly hand-reliant industries have been demolished for the sake of convenience and mass production. As an artist, I find this trend infuriating, as a citizen, disheartening.” It has unleashed a “torrent of ill-equipped practitioners” and “an everyone-is-a-designer mentality.”

His awards have included a Gold Cube — and the only student award — in the 87th Art Director's Club of New York Award; a best of show and a $20,000 scholarship at the 2008 Dallas Society of Visual Communications Student Show and a gold ADDY at the American Advertising Federation National Addy Awards in 2008.

The work has been on view in exhibitions in Argentina, Hong Kong and Chicago and will be in New York at The One Club, 21 E. 26th St., through Aug. 28. (212) 633-8943.

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