Tuesday, 7 May 2013


While browsing the internet recently (as I sometimes do on a wet afternoon), I discovered the work of graphic artist John Maeda - and what extraordinary images I found. 

He is a Japanese-American and, as well as being an artist, he is a computer scientist, leadership guru and academic. His work explores the area where all these fields merge. The interesting things about him for me are that he uses computer technology in his art, that his work is very graphic ..... and that there are circles to be seen in many forms!

Manongraph John Maeda
Simplicity and Complexity need each other?
He especially describes what he calls his Laws of Simplicity.  There seem to be a total of ten of these laws, many of which are more appropriate in a business context but two of them are really relevant to art. 

The first of these is Law 5 - Simplicity and complexity need each other - perhaps shown in the first example here. 

I find so often when I'm working that I need to balance an area with lots going on with another area of calm, to give the eye a rest.

And the second is Law 10 - Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful. 

These two pieces seem to illustrate this beautifully.

Tao John Maeda

For me, there is so much to think about in all this. If nothing else, the ideas link to something I've noticed about the artists I admire and like to look at: they are all simple and pared down in their approach.

I've blogged before about the work of Roanna Wells and of Donna Watson. The work of both these artists shows a (deceptive, I'm sure) simplicity. Donna is interestingly also half Japanese. 

There must be something there for me ....

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