The first assignment for our graduate seminar, which focused on analog typography, was to explore the expressive range of non-traditional type. We had to choose a theme: “fire, water, earth and air” or “summer, spring, winter and fall (or autumn).” Then we had to create each word without the use of the computer and each composition must be executed with one of the following media: wet (paint, ink, etc.), dry (pencils, crayons, charcoal, ballpoint, etc.), collage (2D or 3D) and mechanical/photographic means.

For my project, I chose “fire, water, earth and air.” For the execution, I selected food as my media. For fire, I used crushed chilly peppers. The reason is obvious: hot peppers burn like fire. That was the easiest one to do and it met the dry media requirement. For earth, I wanted to convey organic; therefore, I made a collage of whatever my wife had at home (green beans, onion, carrot, mint, garlic and tangerine) into the word. For air, I picked popcorns since they are as light as air. To meet the mechanical/photographic means, I took a shot of the composition.

Water was a bit tricky to pull off. My initial concept was to freeze the ice cubes with food coloring. Once they are frozen, I could assemble them into the word “water” and let the ice melt a bit before taking the photo of it. Then I came across some watermelon in the refrigerator and the idea went off. Water in watermelon, get it? So I smashed up the watermelon and let the juice spilled over the canvas with the word “water” spelled out. That also met the wet media requirement.

I had fun playing with this project. It’s a special feeling to do the craft with your hand instead of relying on the computer even though I used some Photoshop to clean up the photography. I also had a personal assistant helping me out with the execution. Thanks baby!