Around OWS I’m pretty easy to spot. I’m the ‘guy in the box‘, and in too many ways I’ve been in a box of sorts since the beginnings of Occupy. At Zuccotti Park, I created a succession of signs, boxes and a teepee that saw me spend 48 straight days in the park, painting, or building, or being filmed, or something – all in a one-man-band communication matrix that has now spread to the Fiber Arts working group and the Internet. This blog is my latest Fiber Optics creation.
But this week, on the way to the Union Square event, I stopped at a street corner and met a young graphic design student who had taken notice of the box I was carrying, folded in a rolling cart. His name is Ogoby Asencio and he and I had a beginning conversation that revealed our mutual love of typography and pointed to both our professional beginnings as graphic designers. Ogoby began as a graffiti artist and I put myself through university working in professional sign companies, learning the craft there. The rest as they say, is of course, history. Instant friends were made – years apart but common by design.
Ogoby asked me what I was doing on 14th street with a curious sign collage and I told him I was on the way to an OWS event at Union Square. Then he beamed:) “Man, I’ve been designing a typeface based on lettering used by protesters at OWS”, he said. “Could I photograph your box and include the fonts in my development of a typeface for my master’s thesis on OWS type?”. Damn, I thought, a few weeks ago my blog, aHBiNYC, was assigned as recommended reading to a class at Columbia Law School for a segment on OWS, and now I’m referenced for a design school MA program. I’d better savour this obscurity while it lasts:)
Check out Ogoby’s blog on the Occupy Typeface. He’s got great ideas and the start of some truly original designs. His stencil font is on the left and there’s plenty more on the site. We’ve invited Ogoby to join Fiber Arts and hope to collaborate on some totally new fonts as the American Spring approaches. Outreach can take many forms, from the seemingly simple knitting of a hat, to the more than deliberate stroking of a brush in complete creative disobedience. What’s important though is that the message gets out there in any form, many forms – and all about reform. That’s the spirit that has kept us all together in this, our occupied winter of discontent.